How to Use the Microsoft Store in Windows 8 and Later

Find everything you need in the Windows App Store for Windows 8 and Windows 10

While Microsoft, Android, and Apple have offered apps for a long time, no one has ever brought them to your desktop computer until Windows 8. Learn more about the Microsoft Store, also called the Windows App Store, which allows you to choose from thousands of available apps to use on your Windows device.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10 and Windows 8.


How to Use the Windows App Store

There are a couple of ways to access the Microsoft Store. Once there, begin browsing, searching, and installing the apps of your choice.

  1. To get started with the Windows App Store, select Start and choose Microsoft Store. The Microsoft Store is also available on the web if you prefer to access it that way.

    The Store takes advantage of the user interface that was introduced in Windows 8, so you'll notice it's laid out with a visual tile design that makes it clear what apps, games, movies, etc., are available. 

    Screenshot of Microsoft Store in Windows 10 Start Menu
  2. Browse the store. You can get around the store by swiping your touch screen, scrolling your mouse wheel, or clicking and dragging the scroll bar at the bottom of the window. Poke around and you'll find the store's apps are laid out logically by categories. Some of the categories you'll see include:

    • Games - Includes hit titles such as Minecraft and Angry Birds.
    • Social - Contains apps that keep you in touch, such as Twitter and Skype.
    • Entertainment - Apps that pass the time like Netflix and Hulu.
    • Photo - Photo editing and management apps like Instagram and Adobe Photoshop Elements.
    • Music & Video - Apps for listening and watching like Slacker Radio and Movie Maker Pro.
    Screenshot of the Microsoft Store
  3. To view all of the other titles in a category, select the category title. By default the apps will be sorted by their popularity, to change this, select Show all in the right corner of a category list. You're taken to a page that lists all of the apps in that category, and you can select sorting criteria from the drop-down lists at the top of the category page.

    Screenshot of Entertainment category in Microsoft Store
  4. If you aren't interested in seeing everything a category has to offer and would rather only view those apps that are most popular or new, the store offers custom views accessible as you scroll the main category view, such as Top Free Apps, Trending, and Collections.

    Screenshot of Trending and Collections in Microsoft Store

Search for an App

Browsing is fun and is a great way to find new apps to try out, but if you've got something specific in mind, there's a faster way to get what you want.

Type the name of the app or a keyword describing the type of app you want into the Search box on the store's main page and press Enter.

As you type, the search box will auto-suggest apps that match the words you're typing. If you see what you're looking for in the suggestions, you can select it.

Screenshot of search for productivity in Microsoft Store

Install an App

Once you find an app you want, download it to your computer to begin using it.

  1. Select an app to view more information about it. View the Description, see Screenshots and Trailers, and to view what other people who downloaded the app also liked. At the bottom of the page, you'll find information about What's new in this version, as well as System Requirements, Features, and Additional information.

    Screenshot of Get button on Office app in Microsoft Store
  2. If you like what you see, select Get to download the app. When the installation is complete, both Windows 8 and Windows 10 will add the app to your Start screen.

Keep Your Apps Up to Date

Once you start using Windows apps, you'll need to make sure you keep updates current to ensure you get the best performance and newest features. The Windows App Store will automatically check for updates to your installed apps and alert you if it finds any. If you see a number on the store's tile, it means you've got updates to download.

  1. Launch the Windows App Store and select the three dots in the top-right corner of the screen.

  2. In the menu that appears, select Downloads and updates. The Downloads and updates screen lists all of your installed apps and the date they were last modified. In this case, modified could mean updated or installed.

  3. To check for updates, select Get updates in the upper right corner of the screen. The Windows App Store reviews all your apps and downloads any available updates. Once downloaded, those updates are automatically applied. 

    Screenshot of Downloads and Updates in Microsoft Store

While many of these apps are designed for use on a touch-screen mobile device, you'll find that most work great in a desktop environment. Take some time to see what's out there, there's an impressive supply of games and utilities, many of which won't cost you a thing.

There may not be as many apps for Windows 8 and Windows 10 as there are for Android or Apple, but there are hundreds of thousands available.