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Finally. Almost a decade after Apple launched its App Store and more than five years after the Windows Store first became available to the public in February 2012, Microsoft has, at last, managed to forge an app store worth spending time in.

Maybe I’m being harsh. The horror of the Windows 8 version, which was cluttered with fake apps Don't Be Fooled! 5 Tips To Avoid Fake Apps In The Windows Store Don't Be Fooled! 5 Tips To Avoid Fake Apps In The Windows Store The Windows Store has been spoiled by useless junkware and scams. Microsoft recently purged many fake apps, but the store still features questionable apps. We show you how not to get scammed. Read More and security issues How Secure Is the Windows App Store? How Secure Is the Windows App Store? The Windows Store took a hammering when it first launched in early-2012, criticized for poor apps and security issues. Four years on, is the Windows Store now a reliable and secure service? Read More , is a distant memory. The Windows Store has been on solid footing for almost two years.

But in the last few months, it’s taken another giant leap forward. We knew it was going to happen: Microsoft said we could expect a slew of popular apps to hit the Store when it announced Windows 10 S Windows 10 S: Everything You Need to Know Windows 10 S: Everything You Need to Know Windows 10 S is a new stripped-down version of Windows 10 designed for schools. Let's discuss the good and the bad, and decide if you should buy one of the new machines. Read More in Spring 2017. But you might not realize just how good it’s become.

Here are 10 popular apps you didn’t know were in the Windows Store.

1. Microsoft Office 365 Personal

When Microsoft launched Windows 10 S in early 2017, it also announced a Windows Store version of Microsoft Office 365. Unfortunately, it was only available to users with a Surface laptop.

windows app office 365

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That’s now changed: all users can buy an Office 365 subscription Microsoft Office Is Now Available on the Windows Store Microsoft Office Is Now Available on the Windows Store You can now download Microsoft Office directly from the Windows Store for the first time. Unfortunately, at the moment the apps are only available to Windows 10 users at the moment. Read More through the store.

However, if you’re thinking of investing, there are a couple of caveats you need to be aware of:

  • You can only install the 32-bit version of Office.
  • COM add-ins are not available.
  • You can only use the Windows Store version of OneNote. The desktop version is unavailable.

Download: Microsoft Office 365 Personal

2. Ubuntu

No, that’s not a typo. You can now download the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system from the Windows Store. The app went live in mid-July 2017.

Microsoft claims you can enjoy three significant benefits of using the store version:

  • Faster downloads — The store’s block-based download mechanism means you won’t be hanging around as long for updates.
  • Side-by-side distros — You can install multiple instances of Ubuntu and they’ll all remain isolated from each other.
  • Run multiple distros — You can run several distros at the same time.

ubuntu windows app

Note: If you can’t see it, don’t panic. It’s only available on build 16215 and higher. Update your system and try again.

Download: Ubuntu

3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Who says you need to buy all your games on Steam and EA Origin?

Of course, lightweight and arcade-esque games have been in the Window Store for a long time, but the presence of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which is considered by many to be the crown jewel of the GTA series, marks a shift towards full-featured PC games.

windows app grand theft auto san andreas

Other full-featured games to consider include Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, and of course, Minecraft.

Download: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

4. Kodi

We love Kodi here at MakeUseOf. Along with Plex, it’s one of the two best home theater apps available.

If you’re just getting started on your Kodi journey, there are lots of useful tips you need 7 Essential Kodi Tips for New Users 7 Essential Kodi Tips for New Users If you're just starting out on your Kodi journey and don't have a clue where to begin, we're here to help with these essential Kodi tips for newbies. Read More along your way, as well as some oft-repeated myths 7 of the Biggest Myths About Kodi, Debunked 7 of the Biggest Myths About Kodi, Debunked As Kodi has grown in popularity, so too has the number of lies, myths, and pieces of misinformation about the software. We're here to dispel those myths. Read More you’ll stumble across.

But the bottom line is that once you’re up and running, you’ll struggle to find a better way to browse and view your media.

windows app kodi

The Kodi app offers all the features of the desktop version of the app, though the developers warn some add-ons might not work. They promise a solution is imminent.

Download: Kodi

5. FileBot

Sticking with the theme of home media, have you heard of FileBot? No? Well, let me explain some background.

Apps like Kodi and Plex require you to name your TV shows, movies, music, and other media in a very precise format if you want them to automatically pull in the relevant metadata, artwork, subtitles, and so on.

filebot windows app

If you’ve never used either app, there’s a good chance your media is not organized. Depending how much content you have, reorganizing all the filenames could be a mammoth task.

FileBot takes care of it all for you. It uses TheMovieDB and TheTVDB to name everything perfectly. You’re Plex or Kodi experience will immediately be richer.

Download: FileBot

6. F.lux

Despite the arrival of Microsoft’s Night Light, F.lux remains the best screen adjuster for Windows.

The app will change your screen to match the time of day, using warmer colors at night and bluer tones during the day.

windows app flux

Yes, Night Light is now a native Windows feature Dark Mode vs. Night Light: Which Should You Use in Windows 10? Dark Mode vs. Night Light: Which Should You Use in Windows 10? Night Light, a new Windows 10 feature, lets you reduce the amount of blue light emitted by your screen. How is it different from Dark Mode and which one should you use? Read More , but if you’re looking for something with more options and that’s more customizable, you need to look no further than this app.

Download: F.lux

7. Duolingo

Duolingo, which is best described as a free version of the ludicrously overpriced Rosetta Stone, will never make you fluent in a second language single-handedly.

However, if you pair the app with other proven learning techniques 6 Snappy Ways to Learn a New Language in 5 Minutes a Day 6 Snappy Ways to Learn a New Language in 5 Minutes a Day You can get a lot done in the few minutes of free time you have. Learning a new language with microlearning is one of them. Try these excellent apps and websites for microlearning. Read More and additional apps, it can be a valuable tool.

In case you’re not familiar, Duolingo uses a flash card system to teach you new vocabulary, sentences, and tenses.

windows app duolingo

The Windows Store version of the app offers Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, and English.

Download: Duolingo

8. Spotify

Spotify is the world’s most popular music streaming service, and for good reason. It has the widest selection of songs, the best music discovery tools, and one of the best user interfaces.

windows app spotify

If you’ve been using the desktop version of the app, you can now download and use a Windows Store version instead. The two apps are almost identical — the only difference is future updates will be provided through the store directly instead of via the app.

Note: If you install the Windows Store version, it will overwrite your existing desktop version.

Download: Spotify

9. Paint.NET (Coming Soon)

I’m going to leave you with two apps that we know are going to be available in the Windows Store very soon.

The first is Paint.NET. With news of the demise of Microsoft Paint, interest in the app has skyrocketed. It’s one of the best replacements for Paint 7 Free Microsoft Paint Alternatives 7 Free Microsoft Paint Alternatives Microsoft has retired MS Paint in favor of Paint 3D. Not impressed? We have found free Microsoft Paint alternatives for all your image viewing and editing needs. Read More that you’ll be able to find.

In a blog post, developer Rick Brewster said the app would be available in the store as soon as he had ironed out a few bugs in version 4.0.17.

10. iTunes and Apple Music (Coming Soon)

This is perhaps the most surprising entry on the list. iTunes isn’t exactly popular among Windows users: it’s slow, bloated, and Apple-centric.

However, it will be available in the Windows Store by the end of the year. Microsoft announced the news in May 2017.

Of course, the biggest draw of iTunes isn’t the music player — it’s the access to Apple Music. Apple’s music streaming service is threatening Spotify and becoming a serious contender for the industry’s crown. Anyone who subscribes to the app will soon have the ability to listen to their tunes through the dedicated Windows Store iTunes app.

Which Popular Windows Store Apps Do You Use?

The presence (or soon-to-be presence) of these 10 Windows Store apps feels significant. One cannot help but feel we’re looking into the future of Windows. It’s probably only a matter of time until every app will be downloaded via the store rather than through more traditional methods.

Which popular apps have you been surprised to discover in the Windows Store? Which apps do you hope to see become available?

You can leave all your thoughts and opinions in the comments below. And remember to share this article with your fellow Windows Store-lovers on social media.

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  1. Ron
    August 27, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    I just "discovered" Lucidchart. It is an addon for Word, Excel, PowerPoint 2013, 2016 and online.

    There is a free version as well as paid subscriptions. It supports an amazing number of different chart styles. The charts are created and stored in private space on their site, then downloaded into your application. The site also allows real time co-editing of the diagram by multiple users.

  2. Viking
    August 27, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    I use Samsung Flow which is a fantastic App.
    I merges your Windows 10 PC with your Samsung Phone and they become one.
    Recommended for all Samsung users.

  3. A
    August 27, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    I'm trying the app "Bitcoin Miner". It mines well but slow, it's like 1 satoshi per minute.

  4. Jake
    August 24, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I don't see any purpose in Paint.net app when you can it's available as a portabel app

  5. Gazoo
    August 22, 2017 at 12:36 am

    I didn't even know Microsoft had it's own software store! You should have prepped users on this site first with this important tidbit.

  6. Doc
    August 21, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    "You’re Plex or Kodi experience will immediately be richer."
    "You're" is a contraction that means "you are," which makes no sense here. The possessive form is "your," which should be used here. #EnglishFAIL

  7. Diesel
    August 20, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Windows apps are slow to load if I can get away with using ones like Whatsapp and Spotify via the web, they are much faster and reliable on my desktop