How to Close Windows 8 Apps

Methods of Closing Windows 8 Metro AppsWindows 8 Close App

The purpose of this page is to show you a variety of ways of closing one of the new Windows 8 Apps.

How to Close Apps


Alt +F4 Closes Windows 8 Desktop Programs

The old Alt +F4 trick is still working, but for how long?  Hold down the Alt key with your thumb as you reach up to function key 4 with your forefinger.  This is a foolproof method for those apps which are really native Microsoft programs, for instance, shortcuts you launch from the desktop.

The problem is that the new generation of Metro style apps don’t always respond to Alt +F4, and then there is the possibility that you don’t have a keyboard, just a touch screen.

Touch Screen SwipeWindows 8 Close App

If you have a tablet, or other device with a touch screen, then the knack of closing a Windows 8 App is to swipe downwards from the top edge to the bottom of the screen.  Think of it as tossing the App into an imaginary bin below at the lower edge.

Mouse Equivalent to the Touch Screen Swipe
Windows 8 Close App

Note:  When you try the mouse drag remember to let go when you reach the bottom of the screen!  The good news is that having closed the App you return to base: the New UI.

Close Windows 8 Apps with the Top Left ThumbnailWindows 8 Close App Top Left

Whether or not you want to close a Metro style app, it’s useful to explore the top left area of the screen.  For this experiment open two, or better still, three apps.  Now click with the mouse, or touch with a finger, at the very top left corner.

You have several options, firstly you can left-click and cycle through all open apps, alternatively, right-click and bring up the ‘Close’ menu.

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What's in a Name?

Soma Somasegar of Microsoft says that "Windows Store Apps" would henceforth be the official term for the apps.  They were formerly called Metro-Style Apps.

Close All Windows 8 Apps with Task Manager

The situation is this: your App / program does not have a ‘Close’ button, or that traditional red X in the top right of the window, and Alt +F4 brings no response.  Windows 8 Apps Close Taskmanager

If you want to close a Windows 8 app and all else has failed, then launch Microsoft’s built-in Task Manager.  My favourite method is pressing Ctrl +Shift +Esc, alternatively type ‘Task Manager’ at the Metro-style UI.

The best way to find your app in the Task Manager is to click on the Processes Tab.  If you are sure that you want to close this app right-click and select ‘End task’; see screenshot.

The benefit of using the Task Manager is that you learn more about the processes running on your Windows 8 computer.  A simpler and possibly quicker solution to closing all Windows 8 apps is to sign out – sign in.

Control App SwitchingWindows 8 Apps Switch PC Settings

As an alternative to closing an app, there are times when you just wish to switch to another interface.

 Begin at the Metro UI; open two or three of your apps.  If you drive the mouse to the top left corner, then you should see a thumbnail of another app.  (The diagram right exaggerates the size of the second app.)

Now for controlling the app switching behavior, or troubleshooting if the above technique doesn’t work.

  • WinKey +w brings the settings. 
  • Type ‘PC’.
  • Select ‘General’
  • Check ‘App switching’
  • Select ‘On’

Experiment with App switching – Off.  See PC settings in the screenshot opposite.

Digression – How to Control an App’s Settings

This is how to adjust an app’s settings.  Take as an example the Weather app and the Seattle location.

Changing the Weather Default LocationWindows 8 Apps Weather Settings
Problem: The weather app gives you an unwanted default location.
Solution: Firstly add your own location – key point.  Then right-click your weather locale, and click, ‘Set as default’ at the bottom of the screen.  Only now you have a new default can you right-click the original location and ‘Remove’.

Changing Fahrenheit to Centigrade
Press WinKey +c.  When the ‘Charms’ appear, select the Settings cogs.  Now look at the top for Weather, and underneath you should see another ‘Settings’, see screenshot.  Here is where you can change the temperature scale, (Metric Centigrade or Imperial Fahrenheit).

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Perhaps You Don’t Need to Close the Windows 8 AppsWindows 8 Charms

Instead of closing an App you can just press the Windows key, or bring up the Window Charm and exit back to the New UI start, there is no harm in leaving the app running in the background.

Extending the battery life on laptops and tablets is the main driving force behind energy efficient operating systems.  Yet quieter, cooler rooms and lower electrical bills are also appreciated when working on desktop machines.  What can Windows 8 Apps do to help reduce energy consumption?

Clearly any energy efficiencies will only come about if hardware and software can communicate in a better way; these are the new rules of engagement:

A Windows 8 App can be in one of three states:

  • Actively running in the foreground.
  • Suspended in the background.
  • Performing a defined background activity, for example, collecting email, synchronizing, or playing music.

Tip:  You can switch between running apps with Winkey +Tab

Windows 8 Apps Store Examples

While only free apps are allowed in the store during the customer preview beta, once Windows 8 launches developers can sell their wares at a minimum of $1.49, of which Microsoft take 30%, dropping to 20% once the developer has sold $25,00 worth.  Incidentally, Google only take 5% on their Google App sales.Windows App Store Games

Once you have bought an app you can install it on up to five Windows 8 devices.  If you are thinking of installing an App, then the ‘Top’ and ‘New’ categories are always worth a look, and I am much more likely to buy if I have tested a time or feature-based trial.

It’s often worth examining the spotlight section, which is another similarity with apps on the Windows Phone.  If you are contemplating buying then note that each app has an overview indicating if it will run on ARM, 64-bit or just x86 processors.

More Windows 8 How To Articles

See more about Windows 8 Apps »

Summary of Closing Windows 8 App

The advent of touch screens brings the need for new ways of closing programs in general and Apps in particular.  What you find is that the old ways of ending programs such as Alt +F4 are being replaced with a finger’s swipe or a mouse’s hand.

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Microsoft Windows 8 Topics

Windows 8 Overview  • Windows 8 Event Viewer  • Win 8 Security Event Log  • Log Event Manager

Win 8 Task Manager  • Close Windows 8 Apps  • Windows 8 SkipRearm   • Windows 8 File History

Windows 8 App Store  • Windows 8 Safely Remove Hardware  • Windows 8 Shutdown Command