Essential Windows Store Apps
The Windows Store is the Microsoft’s built-in app store for Windows 8 and Windows 10 devices. Advanced desktop users tend to stick to standard browser downloads. Apart from the usual suspects like Netflix and Amazon Kindle, the selection is a little poor. But there are a few that seem worth investigating.
Most of the following apps and tools are free and all of them should work on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows RT.
Google isn’t a version of its Chrome browser for the Windows app format. Rather it’s an official tool that is almost as good. It includes all the standard Google web services such as Search, Maps, Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, and more. The interface is big and touch-friendly, and this app makes a great stand-alone version of Gmail and other Google tools. You’ll need to log-in with your Google account to get the most out of it.
Microsoft offers its own cloud storage service, OneDrive, and integrates it with Windows. Many others prefer Dropbox because of its excellent speed and interface. This official app lets you access your Dropbox files and folders from any desktop or tablet. Then download them, and upload new files. The app includes an auto-upload feature that will send any new photos you take to your account. This becomes handy for tablets. If you already have installed the desktop version of Dropbox, you might get confused whether to save this app or not.
Flipboard is a service that aggregates news from across the Internet and makes it easy to read in a magazine-style format. It’s not any more efficient than a standard news website. But it’s much better-looking than Microsoft’s basic news client that comes pre-installed with Windows. The Live Tile2 for your Start Menu or tablet home screen will also scroll through news stories. This makes it a great way to browse for interesting topics on your home screen. The touch interface works especially well on tablets.
VLC for Windows Store:
Video LAN Client(VLC) is an excellent free media player that’s been favorite among power users for years. The developers have created a version that’s accessible from the Windows Store. It makes is a great way to watch videos, or listen to music in practically any format. This’s more powerful and flexible than Windows’ built-in tools if you’re looking for a touch-friendly media player.
You can access the web’s favorite encyclopedia from Microsoft Edge or any other browser. However, the interface isn’t ideally suited for viewing and navigating in tablets. This official app includes a main screen that emulates the Metro interface with big, finger-friendly tiles and photos. This is a pin feature that allows you save articles for later. It also has a comprehensive search tool.
Remote access system is a built-in feature in Windows. But it’s not easy for novices and isn’t included in all the versions of each operating system. TeamViewer is a popular remote access program that helps in sharing your screen and controls with another user. Also, you can take over their computer to help them. This edition is designed to be used with touchscreens. It should even work just fine with a mouse and keyboard. The computer that you’re connecting to needs to have TeamViewer installed as well.
Have you ever struggled to find something on Google, then jumped over to Bing to see if its results were better? This app does all that simultaneously. A single search bar will return from Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, YouTube, eBay, and Amazon. Results can be viewed either inside the app itself or in your default browser.
Note: This app is “One Search,” with space. “OneSearch” is a separate app, a search tool for OneDrive.
Photoshop Elements Express:
This tool from Adobe isn’t as powerful as the full version of Photoshop. Moreover, it doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars a year, either. It’s a simple image editor that can handle cropping, basic color correction tools, red-eye reduction, and a few other functions. It can also handle Instagram-style photo filters. About 20 filters are included in the standard version of the app. Many others are available with an in-app purchase.
The ESPN App:
The ESPN app for Windows isn’t really any more serviceable than Microsoft’s built-in Sports app. It has one exception: it allows you to select your favorite sports teams. Then you can pin specific Live Tiles for scores and news updates to your Start Menu. It’s a great way to keep up with games if they’re going on while you have to work or study.
Windows 10’s Start Menu lets you pin apps, conventional desktop programs, and folders onto it. Whereas this app expands on that capability. It allows you to pin specific files and full-picture live tiles from Steam, Origin, and uPlay. They do this as if they were Windows Store apps. Pin More is the only paid app on this list, and you can give it a shot with the free trial feature.
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