Modern apps on Windows 8 work very differently than traditional Windows desktop apps. They’re always installed from the Windows Store (unless you’re a developer or on a corporate network) and aren’t uninstalled from the traditional Control Panel.
Windows 8’s Modern interface doesn’t quite offer the same wealth of app stores available for the Windows desktop – the Windows Store is the only game in town. However, there’s still a lot to learn about installing and uninstalling Modern apps on the latest version of Windows. We’ll look at methods that apply for everyone from home users to developers and network administrators.
Add Apps From the Store
Modern apps are installed from the Windows Store. First, tap or click the Windows Store tile on your Start screen. If you know the name of the app you want to install or you just want to search for an app that does something specific, start typing directly at the Windows Store’s main screen. You won’t see a search box until you Start typing, but the Store app is waiting for you to start typing anyway.
If you’re using a tablet, you can swipe in from the right and tap Search to start a search.
You can also browse the store by tapping a category and viewing the available apps. Once you’ve found an app you want to install, tap it and tap the Install button. if the app is a paid app, you can purchase it or tap the Try button to try it for a week without paying anything.
Install Synced Apps
The Windows Store syncs a list of apps you’ve installed and purchased. Assuming you’re using the same Microsoft account to log in on both devices, you can view a list of these synced apps. In the Windows Store app, either right-click or swipe up from the bottom to access the app command bar and select Your apps.
You can view apps not installed on your PC or browse the list of apps you have installed on your other Windows 8 and Windows RT devices. Oddly enough, Windows refers to free apps you’ve installed as “purchased” on the day you originally installed them.
Remove Apps From The Start Screen
Windows 8 apps don’t appear in the Control Panel’s Add/Remove programs window, so you can’t uninstall them from there. To uninstall an app – even an included app like the Bing app – right-click it on the Start screen and tap Uninstall on the bar that appears. (If you’re using a touch device. touch the app’s tile and quickly swipe up to reveal the bar.)
You can also uninstall apps from the All Apps view if they don’t have a tile on your Start screen. Right-click in an empty space on the start screen or swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap All Apps. Right-click an app on the All Apps screen and tap Uninstall in the same way you would on the Start screen.
View the Store Online
The Windows Store offers web pages for individual apps, but there’s no great way to browse and search it online. If you’d like to browse Modern apps in your web browser, you can try one of the following third-party websites:
- MetroStore Scanner – MetroStore Scanner allows you to quickly search and filter all the Modern apps available in the Windows Store. Its interface feels like the Windows Store’s interface put in a browser and it links directly to the official app pages from Microsoft’s official Windows Store website.
- Great Windows Apps – Great Windows Apps takes a different approach, offering a storefront that filters out garbage and presents only quality apps. If you’ve looked through the Windows Store, you’ll quickly find that it’s full of garbage apps, so a focus on quality is appreciated. Great Windows Apps also offers a Windows Store app of their own, which will cost you $2.99 for the privilege of using their Modern-style curated storefront. It takes you to the appropriate page in the Windows Store when it’s time to install an app.
Remove Multiple Modern Apps From PowerShell
There’s a way to quickly uninstall multiple Modern apps at once from Microsoft’s PowerShell scripting environment. This option isn’t for everyone, but system administrators will be able to quickly trim the list of installed apps from PowerShell. For example, if you’re overseeing a corporate deployment of Windows 8 systems and want to uninstall a variety of included Modern apps – such as the Games, Music, and Video apps – you can do this easily. The script you use can be quickly run on multiple computers, saving you time.
Microsoft offers a Remove Windows Store Apps PowerShell script on their website which allows you to specify the appropriate application IDs and remove multiple Modern apps at once.
Add Apps via Sideloading – Developers & Corporate Networks Only
Windows users have long had the ability to install any software they want, but Windows 8’s Modern interface takes this away from home users. For the average Windows user, apps can only be installed from the Windows Store. Sideloading is available for developers, who can use it to test the apps they’re developing on their own systems, and corporate networks, who can use it to deploy their own custom apps internally.
If you’re a developer, you’ll need to get a free developer license to sideload your apps. If you’re on a corporate network, you’ll need to ensure you’re properly licensed for loading line-of-business apps, join a domain, enable the appropriate group policy setting, and sign the app with an installed certificate. Microsoft offers more information about sideloading Modern apps in this way.
Once your system is set up for sideloading, you can sideload Modern apps with the Add-AppxPackage PowerShell command.
All of the above information only applies to Modern apps. Windows desktop applications are installed and uninstalled just like they are on Windows 7. The Windows Store lists some desktop apps, but only provides links directly to their websites where you can download and install them yourself.
Do you have any other tips about installing and removing apps on Windows 8? Leave a comment and share them!