What Are The Best Apps To Get Started With Windows 8?

Justin Pot 15-05-2013

windows 8 apps getting startedSo you’ve installed Windows 8. You’ve figured out how to get your favorite desktop programs working, and now you’re wondering what the Metro environment has to offer.


Say what you will about the new Windows 8 Metro interface – called “Modern” by Microsoft – but one thing it’s done is create an ecosystem of apps. It’s been a breath of fresh air, bringing new concepts to the PC platform and apps that otherwise wouldn’t be offered.

Below I’ve listed some apps to check out. It’s not meant to be a list of the best Windows 8 apps What Are The Best Apps To Get Started With Windows 8? Read More ; rather, it’s meant to be a list of apps those curious about the platform should check out first. These apps all point in some ways to Microsoft’s plans for the platform, and also do a good job of utilizing Metro’s strengths  Go through them if you’re wondering what this new ecosystem has to offer – and what its evolution might look like.

Modern Minesweeper

Think it’s stupid to start with Minesweeper? Think again. Microsoft only included games in early versions of Windows to help new users learn basic concepts, such as the click-and-drag or the menu. So it’s only natural to look at updated versions of these games to learn what Microsoft thinks users will get from Windows 8 apps – and to learn how to use these apps yourself.

windows 8 apps getting started

The answer? New features, online integration, advertising,  and everything taking up the entire screen regardless of whether that’s necessary or not. Curious about what’s new? Read more about the Windows 8 version of Minesweeper, and it’s Adventure Mode Windows 8 Version Of Minesweeper Includes Themes, Adventure Mode Play a new version of Windows classic Minesweeper, complete with XBox achievements and a brand new adventure mode. Yep, I'm writing an article about Minesweeper. And why shouldn't I? It's a game that's been included... Read More .



Twitter released an official Mac app years ago, but never got around to putting out a Windows version. Until, that is, Windows 8 came out. This new version of Twitter takes up an entire screen, but don’t think that space is all wasted. Links are opened within the app, allowing you to read articles and see pictures without leaving Twitter.

windows 8 apps

The Mac app, in contrast, is thin – designed to run alongside a browser. Apps in Windows 8 are meant to be integrated, combining complete experiences into one package. Read more about Twitter for Windows 8 Check Out The New, Official Twitter Client For Windows 8 Experience Twitter, Windows 8 style. The people who run the web's water cooler just got around to putting together an app for Microsoft's new platform, and it's pretty great. Everything you love about Twitter –... Read More , if you’re curious.

Prefer Facebook to Twitter? There’s yet to be an official Windows 8 Facebook app, but Mine is a decent Facebook client for Windows 8 MINE: A Windows 8 Facebook Client To Get Customized Facebook News Feeds Read More if you’re curious.


NextGen Reader

Windows 8 is meant to run on two mostly unrelated platforms: tablets controlled by touch screens and desktop computers driven by the mouse and keyboard. Sure, there are devices that use both input methods, but most devices are one or the other. The result can be apps not quite feeling at home in one of these two use cases.

windows 8 apps

NextGen Reader is different. The app – which currently integrates with Google Reader but will be independent when that service shuts down – offers two interfaces. The desktop one will be familar to most RSS users, and the touch interface allows for readers to quickly page through a list of feeds.

Is this hybrid approach one more Windows 8 apps will take? Only time will tell. Read more about NextGen Reader How to Use Google Reader, Metro-Style, With Nextgen [Windows 8] Add a beautiful, Metro-style Google Reader app to Windows 8. If you like your reading experience to be clean, quick and smooth – and you're a recent convert to Windows 8 – this is the... Read More , if you’re interested.


Or, if you want to read news but prefer not to manage RSS feeds, you should check out these fullscreen news apps for Windows 8 5 Fullscreen News Apps for Windows 8 Do some reading, Metro-style. A variety of apps from major news sources and beyond give you quick, clutter-free ways to read the news you care about. If there's one thing Windows 8's new Metro (sorry,... Read More .


Love Reddit? You’ll love RedditToGo, then. This Windows 8 app – similar to the Twitter one mentioned above – integrates the content shared on Reddit. You can scroll through Reddit comments about an article without closing the article itself.

windows 8 apps

It – and Reddit apps like it – are great examples of what Metro feels like when it’s working well. The complete Reddit experience – browsing, reading, commenting – all in one interface, without the need for tabs.


Microsoft Office 2013

Office is Microsoft’s flagship software. It’s basically mandatory on Windows, installed on many Macs and – if online buzz is anything to go by – desired by Android and iPhone/iPad owners. The Surface Pro – the flagship Windows 8 tablet – comes with Office 2013 by default. It’s not a stretch to say that Microsoft’s hopes and dreams for the Metro user interface are tied to Office 2013.

get started with windows 8

Office 2013 can run two ways: as a traditional desktop app, or as a Metro app. It’s an interesting hybrid approach; one you can read all about in our Office 2013 manual, which goes over all the new features Microsoft Office 2013: The Unofficial Guide If you're considering an upgrade to Office 2013, or you've just paid for the package and want to make the best of it, this Microsoft Office 2013 Guide is for you. Read More . Read it to discover what Metro means for Office.

Classic Shell

Tried these and other Metro apps, and still find yourself missing the desktop? It might be time to throw in the towel, then. Classic Shell allows you to boot directly into the desktop, and also brings back the Start Menu Windows 8 removed.

windows 8 apps getting started

The Metro interface may well be the future of Windows, but if you’d like to stay in the present just a little longer, this is a great compromise. Read more about Classic Shell Make Windows 8 Suck Less With Classic Shell Make Windows 8 usable for people who think it's not. Add a start menu to the desktop and tweak the way Explorer and Internet Explorer behave, all thanks to a piece of software called Classic... Read More .


Our very own Chris feels that Microsoft is trying to kill the traditional desktop 6 Ways Microsoft Is Killing The Traditional Desktop In Windows 8 [Opinion] The traditional desktop is still around in Windows 8, and it’s probably the best Windows desktop yet (aside from not having a Start menu.) But Microsoft is setting it up for the kill. The writing... Read More . I’m a fan of what Metro could become, but I sincerely hope this isn’t the case. For getting actual work done, the desktop is still best. Its multiple windows interface is simply great for multitasking.

Still, I can’t help but be fascinated by these and other Metro apps. What are your favorite discoveries? Share them in the comments below.

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  1. Nady Sanober
    May 31, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Decent window phone app on store for eBay daily deals – have a look

  2. null
    May 29, 2013 at 1:28 am

    In addition to these i found this which lists 20 metro apps and they are awesome.

  3. Reuben Raisor
    May 20, 2013 at 3:12 am

    If you have an xbox, the Xbox Smart Glass is a hidden gem that is very useful for controlling certain aspects of your xbox. It also allows limited streaming of media to the xbox from your pc. Very useful app if you are in the xbox ecosystem.

  4. Nevzat A
    May 16, 2013 at 7:16 am

    I'd add these as best Windows 8 apps and games that one must install :
    1- the usual top-ten games of all platforms "Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds Star Wars, Where's My Water, Cut the Rope"
    2- Microsoft's excellent modern UI / Xbox powered games : Mahjong, Taptiles, Adera
    3- Shazam, Fresh Paint, Google Search

    You see I've chosen more games-oriented apps, that's the way I use modern UI. Sorry Microsoft but on desktop PC, classic desktop apps give more power than Modern UI counterparts.

  5. Md Mukhtar Mohsin
    May 16, 2013 at 7:13 am

    The best app to start with windows 8 is Desktop.

  6. Chris Marcoe
    May 16, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Just loaded Windows 8 on the burn station at school. So we all have something to play with. I'll be checking these out when I get back there tomorrow. thanks for a great article!!