Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1

Start and find apps on Surface

The Start screen is your home base for starting, finding and organising your apps.

Manage your apps, contacts, websites, photo albums, playlists, folders and more from Start. You can pin apps to and unpin apps from the Start screen. You can also group, rearrange, and resize their tiles.

Windows 8.1 Start screen

Get to Start

There are several ways to get back to the Start screen if you've been using an app or doing other things on Surface:

  • Tap the Windows logo button on the Surface touchscreen (bottom centre).
  • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key on your keyboard.
  • Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Start.
  • If you're using a mouse, either point to the lower-left corner and click the Start button, or point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down and then click Start.
  • Tap or click the Start button Windows logo key in the bottom-left corner.

There are two kinds of apps that you can start from the Start screen:

  • Windows Store apps—such as Music, Mail, and Weather
  • Desktop apps—such as Notepad and the Office apps

Here’s how to start an app:

  • Use touch. From the Start screen, tap a tile. If you have lots of tiles, drag your finger across the screen or slide two fingers horizontally across the touchpad to scroll and see more apps.
  • Use a mouse. From the Start screen, click a tile, and use the scroll bar at the bottom of your screen to see more apps.
  • Use a keyboard. Go to the Start screen, enter the name of an app, and press Enter.

You can also start desktop apps from the desktop. From the Start screen, tap or click Desktop (or press Windows logo key Windows logo key + D). If you don’t see the Desktop tile on the Start screen, slide up from the middle of the screen to get to Apps view, then tap or click Desktop You can create a shortcut for a desktop app or pin desktop apps that you frequently use to the taskbar. For more info, see How to use the taskbar.

You can start multiple apps and switch between them—for more info, see Switch between open apps.

Find an app

To find an app that's already installed on your Surface, do one of the following:

  • Search for an app. From the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Search, and then enter an app name in the search box. Or, if you are using a keyboard, just start typing the app name. The search results update as you type. Tap or click the app from the search results to open it.
  • Apps view. Slide up from the middle of the screen to get to Apps view.
    (If you’re using a mouse, click the down arrow Down arrow icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen.)

If the app you want isn't already installed, you can search the Windows Store and install it from there. To find out how, see one of the following topics:

How do I close an app?

Apps that you install from the Windows Store don’t slow down your Surface, so you don’t need to close them. When you’re not using an app, Windows will leave it running in the background and then close it eventually if you don’ t use it.

But if you want remove an app from view, drag the app to the bottom of the screen.

  • Use touch. While you are in the app, drag the app from the top of the screen to the bottom. To do this press and hold just above the screen image, and then slide your finger all the way down the screen (until the app is off the screen).
  • Use a mouse. While you're in the app, click the top of the app and when the pointer changes to a hand, drag the app down off the screen. Or, from the Start screen, move the pointer into the upper-left corner, move the pointer straight down to show the open apps, then right-click the app and click Close.

Which apps are open?

To see which apps are open:

  • Use touch to get to an open app.
    Swipe in from the left edge without lifting your finger, and then push back toward the left edge. You'll see the apps you recently used. Tap the app you want to use.
Use touch to see which apps are open
  • Use a mouse to get to an open app.
    Move the pointer into the upper-left corner, and then move the pointer straight down. You’ll see the apps you recently used. Click the app you want to use.
Use a mouse to see which apps are open
To completely stop all processes associated with an app, drag the app to the bottom of the screen and hold it here until the app flips over.

Close a desktop app

It’s still a good idea to close desktop apps when you've finished using them, particularly before shutting down your Surface.

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