If you’re new to Windows 10, you might be wondering how to manage those new mobile-style apps on your PC. Here’s a look at how to find, install, update, and uninstall what Microsoft refers to as Universal (UWP) apps.
Windows 10 Universal Apps Store
Modern or Metro-style apps were introduced in Windows 8 – the OS that most users skipped because it was so touch-centric. These apps have extended into Windows 10 and work in a way that makes a lot more sense on traditional laptop and desktop PCs without touch screen capabilities.
For example, universal apps now open on the desktop just like any other program. In Windows 8.x, they’ open in a full screen. You needed a utility like Stardock’s ModernMix to get them to behave like they do now.
If you do have touch-capable Windows 10 device, the universal apps are just as touch-friendly and as they were in Windows 8.1.
You’ll find universal apps in the Store by going to Start > All Apps > Store. In fact, if you find that you’re using the Store a lot, you can pin it to the Taskbar for easier access. Just give it a right-click and select Pin to Taskbar.
It is worth noting that the Store has more than just apps. Here you will also find music, movies & TV, and games.
The Store works like you’d expect any mobile app store to work. You’ll find featured apps, top free or paid apps, suggested apps and more. You can read the description of the apps, see user reviews, and screenshots – just like an app store on any other platform.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Store is continuously redesigned to be better. The shot below is what the main page looks like for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
If there’s a particular app you know you want, just do a search for it. Or, if you want to browse around and see what’s available, you can browse and refine your search based on categories. I won’t spend any more time on finding apps because it’s straightforward. Just hop in there, start looking around, and have some fun.
Installing Universal Apps
If you find an app you like and want, just select the Install, Free, or price button at the top of the app page.
Then you’ll see that app acquiring a license and the progress of the download. During this time, you can pause or cancel it before it completes.
I should mention that if you’re looking at the paid app, usually it provides a free trial you can use to try before you buy. When you do purchase an app, you’ll be charged using the payment method you have associated with your Microsoft account.
Once the app installs, you can open it directly from the Store, or the Start menu. It will appear under the Recently added section.
To get to apps faster, make sure to read our article on how to find apps by its first letter from the Start menu.
Uninstalling an app is as easy as doing it on an iPhone. Locate the app’s tile or icon in the Start menu, right-click, and select Uninstall.
Then you’ll see the message below verifying you want to uninstall the app. Select Uninstall again. Also, note that you can reinstall any app you’ve downloaded before which is similar to iOS, too.
You can also right-click traditional desktop apps to uninstall them, but it requires an extra step. The Programs and Features control panel will open up so you can uninstall it. The problem with uninstalling desktop programs via Programs and Features is it leaves junk behind like temp folders, files, and Registry settings. For a clean uninstall of traditional desktop programs, read our article: How Do I Completely Uninstall Software?
Update Windows 10 Universal Apps
Windows 10 is set to update your universal apps in the background by default. If you don’t want this, you need to go in and turn the setting off. To do so, open the Store, select your profile icon at the top, and then Settings from the menu.
On the next page, flip automatic updates on or off.
Even if you have automatic updates turned on, you might like to keep on top of app updates and manually update them to get the latest features. To do that, open the Store, select your profile icon, and then Downloads and updates.
More About Universal Apps
If you upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10, this “newbie” article should get you started. Once you start getting more acclimated to the universal apps, you’ll want to check out some of our other guides linked below.
Another issue to talk about (and I’m sure you’ve heard people people speak of) is there’s a lack of apps compared to other platforms. That was true for Windows 8.x as the OS never caught on, and app developers saw no need to support it. But Windows 10 has been met with a lot of fanfare and positive reviews over the past year.
The company recently announced that Windows 10 is installed on over 300 million PCs and devices, and that number will continue to climb. That means favorite apps and games are being added regularly.
I should also note that Microsoft is starting a new strategy for getting universal apps from third-party developers into the spotlight by advertising them on the Start menu. These apps will show up in the left column under Suggested Apps. If you think that’s too intrusive, read our article on how to disable the app advertising.
Speaking of the Windows 10 Store, make sure to read our article on how to rent movies or TV shows and play them on the Movies & TV app.
If you have any more questions or thoughts about Windows 10 apps, leave a comment below. Or, for further discussion on all things Win 10, head to the Windows 10 Forums.
Note: Parts of this article were updated to reflect changes for Windows 10 Anniversary Update.