[Windows 10 Tip #5] - The Windows Store

Category: Windows-10

Apple has the App Store, Google has Google Play, and there's Amazon Appstore. All of the big dogs in the online world want you to download your software, games, books, music, and movies from their own 'ecosystem.' Microsoft was slow to adopt the 'store' concept, but the Microsoft Store seems to have reached critical mass. Here's what you need to know...

What is the Windows Store?

This week we’re going to look at the Windows Store. Like the others, it's a place where you can download not only software, but also many other forms of media. Windows Store started in 2012 with the advent of Windows 8, but didn't gain much traction until Windows 10 started to get a foothold.

[See more helpful articles in my Windows 10 Tips series: Click Here.]

The Store is rapidly filling with Universal Windows apps that can run on any Windows 10 device: desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, or even Xbox. Microsoft thoughtfully put the Windows Store icon on the Taskbar of Windows 10. It looks like a shopping bag, complete with handles, and has the four-pane Windows logo on it.

When you first open the Windows Store, you’ll notice that it includes apps, games, movies & TV programs, e-books, and music. Click on Apps, then “Top apps” on the next page, and bingo - Top Free Apps! That’s what most of us will be checking out first.


But look up at the top of the page, where you’ll see boxes with pulldown arrows, as shown below. In the first box, the pulldown menu gives you filters such as “Top free,” “Top paid,” “Best-rated,” and more. The second box lets you look at Apps or Games. The third box provides topical categories, e. g., Business, Entertainment, Food & Dining. The Games categories include Action & Adventure, Avatar, Card & Board games, etc.

In the upper right corner of each screen is a search box, in case you’re looking for a specific title. You’ll find many old favorite apps have been ported to the Universal Windows platform, but they may not be what you’re used to. VLC Media Player, for instance, will not play DVDs in its Windows Store form. Perhaps that’s why Windows Media Player is a top-selling app, even at $14.99. But don’t buy it; the free standard VLC Media Player runs fine under Windows 10.

Books, Games, Music and Movies

win10-store.jpg In the Books section, I got pretty excited over the title, “Free Books,” a collection of 23,469 classic books that are in the public domain. It even includes a handy e-reader. But after downloading and installing Free Books, I learned that only 124 book titles can be downloaded via the app, and it’s sprinkled with ads. A mere $3.99 one-time payment unlocks all of the e-books and makes ads go away. As a paid customer, you also get 4,727 audiobooks and a listening app.

I’m not much of a gamer, but it seems lots of people are. The free games in the Windows Store include titles such as Disney Magic Kingdoms, Call of Duty: Heroes, Township, a city-building game with a bit of farming thrown in, and Microsoft Jackpot, a video poker game. I wondered why there are so many free games. (And so many people with the free time to play them.)

Then I read the fine print: “in-app purchases.” Sure, you can play the game for free. But if you ever hope to win, you’ll need to buy a superpower, or a bigger gun, or fertilizer, or an Ace of Spades. This is how middle-schoolers rack up thousands of dollars on their parents’ credit cards. Beware of free games.

There is no free music in the Windows Store, but there are a lot of 99-cent tracks. The most expensive albums I saw cost $14.99. I was interested in many “oldies” tracks, like the original “Sloop John B” by The Kingston Trio.

The Movies section includes recent blockbusters like “Kong: Skull Island” and classics like “Planet of the Apes.” I even found my all-time favorite comedy, “Arthur” starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. Some movies can be rented, while others can only be purchased. Purchase prices range from $4.99 to $19.99. TV shows include Season 8 of The Andy Griffith Show; 30 episodes for $19.99. Season 6 of The Sopranos (21 episodes, 2006) will set you back $49.95.

App stores like the ones offered by Apple, Google and Microsoft have pros and cons. There's no question they exist to keep users in the fold, where they can be more easily monetized over and over. But they also offer the benefit of being curated, which (usually) keeps out things that are offensive or dangerous. Keep in mind that on Windows 10, you are not required to get all your goodies from the Windows Store. You can still download thousands of great programs (many for free) from the Web.

Browsing and searching the Windows Store is an adventure. How many of your favorite things can you find in it? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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This article was posted by on 6 Jul 2017

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Most recent comments on "[Windows 10 Tip #5] - The Windows Store"

Posted by:

06 Jul 2017

I have not downloaded any apps from the store. And i am happy with this.Mb a couple necessary for my 2 Lumia 640 phones of which I have data turned off. I also have 1 W10 machine and 2 XP desktops. Skype is better as a not store download as is VLC player as you mentioned. For a media player for my desktops (I prefer) Media Player Classic. It works very well with W10 as well as XP. I wish the Windows phones allowed more. There I am limited to what the Windows Store has to offer for the most part. But I did, somehow, get a clean version of Skype- different from what was factory installed on the 8.1 phone.

Posted by:

06 Jul 2017

I will agree, I also have not downloaded any Apps
There seems to too be not much honesty ethics these day......every thing is a gimmick and comes with strings attached .

Posted by:

06 Jul 2017

In app purchases does not mean that you cannot do well in a game without them. That is some games.
I play a couple games regularly (on an android phone) that list "in app purchases" but it just means that you can buy other games or other items from the ads that display (usually at the far top of the screen and full screen in pauses between items) while playing.

Glen: It is called "you get what you pay for". In this case, you are paying for FREE with advertisements.
Do you watch any TV or listen to radio? It comes with ads to partially pay for the content.
Do you read any newspapers or magazines. They come with ads to partially pay for the content. Some magazines devote about half of their pages to ads.

Posted by:

06 Jul 2017

You describe the Windows Store and don't even include a link in your article!

Posted by:

06 Jul 2017

I would have named it "Windows Shopping"

Posted by:

06 Jul 2017

If I'm interested in an app, I will normally try the free version if there one and try it for a while. Then if I decide to keep it I will pay for it to get rid of the adverts. Or I will remove the app. Doesn't always work of course, but it seems to me to be the best compromise.

Posted by:

06 Jul 2017

Bob: The Windows Store is not a website, it's a app (aka program) on Windows 10 computers. Look for in on the taskbar or start menu.

"Apps" in the Windows Store are written to a different standard than Windows programs, this is why you'll never see an alternative browser in the store such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. The different standard (the "Universal Windows Platform (UWP)" vs. Windows 7's Win32 API) is much more tightly controlled by Microsoft to make Windows more "secure." (And, of course, "Secure" must be in quotes. :-))

Posted by:

06 Jul 2017

I am still on Windows 7

Posted by:

06 Jul 2017

I have been seriously disillusioned (read hate) with Mr. Gates and his company since I started selling his PC products in 1981, in conjunction with metrology instruments for zero-defect manufacturing and quality-control. He has never innovated ANYTHING, simply bought technology he thought he could modify and call his own, starting with MS-DOS, but claims to be the world's greatest "innovator." With all the geniuses at work in the current corporate structure, we are continually burdened with "software glitches" that permit hackers to assault our systems, and blackmail us for our own files. I suppose what one should read is that the real brains are working in the "Dark Web" for malicious purposes. Will I be a customer at "The Window Store?" NOT ON YOUR LIFE!!

Posted by:

06 Jul 2017

So, THAT's what happened to Windows Media Player; it went from FREE and pre-installed, to PAID.

Posted by:

Byron M
06 Jul 2017

I hate Win10 and its intrusive and take over Apps. Since the last Win10 update my HP Envy 4500 printer stopped working with Win10. Tried reloading the program and drivers. Got a message that it was "Incompatible" with Win10 although it has been working fine until now. Then in the devices settings there is a message under the printer name: There is an App for this. So I loaded the Win10 App. Most of the HP program settings are gone. This is an invasive take over of the HP program. Microsoft is blocking and making non-microsoft devices and programs "incompatible" with Win10. They are taking over my computer with invasive background "Malware" running and gathering info then sending it out to MS. Most of the MS Apps require you to Agree to their invasive info gathering "Malware" in order to use the "Free" Apps. Linux Ubuntu OS is looking better all the time. I run it on my old Dell Desktop and it works just fine. I may lose MS Win programs that I have become accustomed to using but the headaches and problems MS Win10 has created are becoming really annoying. Each update brings with it more problems. The new MS Windows 10S for notebooks blocks ALL non-Microsoft programs and Apps. MS Apps are the only ones that will work. Many of those are not free but paid apps. MS will dictate the Apps that can be loaded and used. As I said; I hate MS Windows 10. Thanks Bob for your many articles and info.

Posted by:

07 Jul 2017

Hey, Bob, remember the Chad Mitchel Trio? I loved them!

Posted by:

Bob H.
07 Jul 2017

I don't see the MS10 windows store on my task bar?

Posted by:

08 Jul 2017

I LOVED "Sloop John B" by the Kingston Trio! And here's another great (under-rated and underplayed) song....."Whatshername" performed by Peter Paul and Mary on their famous "Album 1700" (1967).

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