[Windows 10 Tip] - The Windows Store

Category: Windows-10

Apple has their 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's in the Windows Store?

Today 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.

The Store is rapidly filling with Universal Windows apps that can run on any Windows 10 device: desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, or 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 games, movies & TV programs, and productivity apps. And you'll also quickly notice why it's called a "store" -- many of the apps require payment to download. But scroll down the page to the Top Free Apps section -- that’s what I recommend that you check out first.

Click that link and look up at the top of the page, where you’ll see boxes with pulldown arrows. 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 for apps that are discounted. The third box provides topical categories, e. g., Business, Entertainment, Food & Dining, Health and more. (Oddly, there is no entry for "Games" in the category dropdown. To find free games, you need to click on Gaming at the top of the Windows Store, and scroll down to the "Top Free Games" section.


In the upper right corner of each screen is a search box, in case you’re looking for a specific title or keyword. 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.

Games, Movies and Productivity

The free games in the Windows Store include titles such as ROBLOX, Asphalt (a driving game), Angry Birds 2, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Mahjong, Township (a city-building game with a bit of farming thrown in) and Microsoft Jackpot, a video poker game. I’m not much of a gamer, but it seems lots of people are.

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 big charges on their parents’ credit cards. Be careful with free games.

The Movies section includes recent blockbusters like “Antebellum” and classics like “Pirates of the Caribbean.” I even found some of my all-time favorites such as “The Hobbit” and “Murder on the Orient Express” . Some movies can be rented, while others can only be purchased. Purchase prices range from $4.99 to $19.99. TV shows include three seasons of "Yellowstone" for $19.99. Season 6 of The Sopranos (21 episodes, 2006) will set you back $44.99.

The Productivity section of the Windows Store has Adobe Photoshop Elements, HD Movie Maker PRO, Microsoft Sticky Notes, a desktop version of Instagram, and hundreds of other titles, both free and paid.

There are no music or ebook titles in the Windows Store. Microsoft tried both of those categories, but there was little interest, so they closed down those options. In December 2017, Microsoft pulled the plug on Groove Music, and transferred customers to Spotify. But in April 2019, Microsoft upset many people by announcing the closure of the ebook store. Titles that had been "purchased" were no longer available for reading as of July 2019. (Imagine if your local bookstore closed, and demanded that you return any books you had bought there.)

This should give one pause before purchasing a movie or TV series from Windows Store. In the event that Microsoft decided to end this service, it seems likely that access to the "purchased" items would vanish, as in the case of disappearing ebooks.

To Shop or Not to Shop?

App stores like the ones offered by Apple, Google, Amazon 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. Have you downloaded any free or paid apps from the Store? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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

Posted by:

28 Sep 2020

Its a great store but Microsoft tends to destroy many of its products especially if they don't make more cash. Money is not everything Microsoft.

Posted by:

28 Sep 2020

The only useful thing in Microsoft Store is Minesweeper. Well, Solitaire as well.

Posted by:

28 Sep 2020

@kirill: You might find what you want at https://winaero.com/windows-7-games-for-windows-10-anniversary-update-and-above/

Posted by:

28 Sep 2020

In the past, I have ignored / avoided the Windows store because it REQUIRED a Microsoft account / log-in on my computer. I refuse to let MS have additional unexamined access to my machine; why must I have MS' "permission" to run my own computer?

Bob is right; there are plenty of software offerings from other sources ... I haven't discovered anything in the Store that I think I actually NEED.

Posted by:

28 Sep 2020

It may be on some Windows 10 task bar but it never showed up on mine. Not that I miss it since I'm not a gamer. But saying it's on Windows 10 taskbar is a misnomer.

Posted by:

28 Sep 2020

@Stephe: It was just a joke, but thanks! It looks great, will check it!

Actually MS Store Minesweeper has some facelift and looks nice. At least when I tried it in Win 8, testing new options, it was fun to play. Don't know what's going on now.

Posted by:

Mike Davies
28 Sep 2020

Thanks for the thought Bob, but no thanks.
I have an uncomplicated test for things like this.
I look on the site, in this case Microsoft Store on my laptops, and see if they include one of my trusted free apps that I use as a default.
I looked for several, not available, but I'll talk about just one, Format Factory (free) which describes itself as "provides audio and video converter, clipper, joiner, spliter, mixer, crop and delogo. It also includes video player,screen recorder and video downloader", sets a benchmark for everything else.
So I looked on MS Store for something similar and free, there was only one, Videopix Movie Creator.
So I Googled reviews, and they were all very negative, some even warning of disaster.
Other free apps I checked out using the same process mostly didn't fare well either.
If I want anything I go straight to FileHorse as a starting point and have never been let down.
(BTW, NOT FileHippo, that is now heavily compromised).

Posted by:

29 Sep 2020

Several times i have tried to download something. When I get a mesage"dosn't comply with your system. Contact thr store for a download. Not fair!

Posted by:

Dave Berry
29 Sep 2020

Slightly off topic, but while troubleshooting my neighbour's computer as it was running very slow, discouvered that the Windows Store Updates was set to Update Apps Automatically, there were over 30 pending updates to be installed, and until I clicked on the Update Now Icon, no updates were being downloaded/installed. Now the system is running much better.

Posted by:

29 Sep 2020

I used to connect a browser to Ookla's Speedtest.net website in order to check out the quality of someone's Internet connection.

Then I discovered that there was an MS Store app Speedtest by Ookla and installed it. Very handy, up to when I discovered that it was starting itself up and running in the background uninvited. (Doing what, I asked myself...)

So it got uninstalled. Immediately.

Posted by:

29 Sep 2020

Thank you Bob, once again for your efforts, and for your stellar advice. I think Microsoft would do well to put you on retainer as an Ombudsman. With a hefty stipend of course! Personally I go to great effort to keep anything from MS OFF my PC, with the obvious exception of Win10. (Too lazy and intellectually challenged to learn all about Linux). Someone with A BIG hammer should remind the brass hats at MS that this is MY Computer. I PAID FOR IT!! They have NO ownership stake in its' possession or operation. I grant them reluctant access to update their oftimes faulty software! And many thanks to all responders who provide links to valuable alternative software sources!! OORAH!!

Posted by:

Jerry Owen
29 Sep 2020

When I look for software whether free or otherwise I want to download it so I can have a local copy. This eliminates such problems as being unable to read an ebook "purchased" from the Microsoft store and then being discontinued. This is the same for books, movies, videos, music, etc. I want to have access to them regardless of the status of where I got them. Apps and games are similar. Let me download local copies of the install files.

Posted by:

29 Sep 2020

Note that if you have Windows 10S or 10X you can *only* install apps from the Microsoft Store. Imagine that, Microsoft selling a version of "Windows" that cannot run Windows programs.

The say the "S" stands for 'Secure', which it maybe is because you can't do anything with it. I think the "S" stands for something else.

Posted by:

Wisper G
29 Sep 2020

I boycott all these 'stores'. These "tech" monsters need to be destroyed. What sensible person "plays games"? Adults now act like 5 year old children. The "movies" are either salacious or politically motivated for the left wing commie agenda. Wake up people - you have been hypnotized by evil forces.

Posted by:

01 Oct 2020

Can we maybe (just maybe) get to a stage where we don't refer to things as being "FREE", when we all know (or should) that our 'meta' data is the true cost of this new- age meaning of the word "FREE".
(Notice that there is no question mark at the end of that long sentence; only because it really is rhetorical in nature).

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