Applies to

Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Windows 8.1.

Install and uninstall apps on Surface Pro or Surface 3

Apps help you get things done with your Surface and have some fun. Surface comes with many built-in apps, and you can find even more in the Windows Store. You can also install apps from websites, CDs or DVDs.

The Start screen has tiles for both desktop apps (programs that run on the desktop, like Microsoft Word or Notepad) and apps you install from the Windows Store.

To find apps to install from the Windows Store, you need to connect to the Internet and sign in using a Microsoft account (an email address and password). If you sign in to Surface with your Microsoft account, you’re all set to explore the Store and install new apps.

If you sign in to Surface with a local account, you’ll first need to switch your local account to a Microsoft account to be able to install Windows Store apps. To learn how to switch (or if you’re not sure which kind of account you’re using), see Switch a local account to a Microsoft account.

Your Microsoft account keeps track of the apps you install, your preferences and your payment methods.

Find and install apps from the Windows Store

Here’s how to find and install apps from the Windows Store:

Step 1:  On the Start screen, tap or click Store to open the Windows Store.
Step 2: 

In the Store, you can find apps in a few different ways:

  • Browse featured apps and lists. Drag your finger across the screen to browse apps. The storefront lists top free and paid apps, new and rising apps, best-rated apps, and more.
  • Use the top menu to explore apps. If you’re looking for a certain type of app (like a travel app or a game), tap or click Categories, and tap or click the category you want. Or, tap or click Top charts to find popular apps.
  • Search for apps. If you know the name of an app you want, or you’re looking for apps by a specific publisher, enter the name of the app in the search box.
Step 3:  Tap or click an app to learn about it and to read reviews.
Step 4: 

Tap or click Install, Try, or Buy.

  • Install is what you’ll see if the app is free or you’ve already bought it.
  • Try means a free trial version of the app is available.
  • Buy means that the app isn’t free and the price is shown.

Add or edit your payment method

Apps that you buy are charged to the payment method, such as a credit card, associated with your Microsoft account. Here’s how to add or edit your payment method:

Step 1:  On the Start screen, tap or click Store.
Step 2:  Tap or click Account, and tap or click My account.
Step 3:  Tap or click Add payment method or Edit payment method, edit any necessary info, then tap or click Submit.

Buy apps for kids

If your child uses their own account to sign in to Surface, they probably don’t have a payment method attached to their account to buy apps. You can buy apps for your child, or install apps that you already own for them. For more info, see How to buy apps for kids.

Use Apps view to find all your installed apps

After you install an app, you’ll find it listed in Apps view:

  • On the Start screen, slide up from the middle of the screen to see Apps view.
    (If you’re using a mouse, click the arrow Down arrow near the bottom left corner of the Start screen.)
You can pin apps to your Start screen so they’re easier to find and use later. For info about pinning apps, see Getting apps for your PC.

Install apps that you installed on other PCs

If you’ve installed an app from the Store on another PC, whether the app was free or paid, you can install it on your Surface, too. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Sign in to Surface using the same Microsoft account that you use on your other PC.
Step 2:  On the Start screen, tap or click Store.
Step 3:  Tap or click Account, and tap or click My apps.
Step 4:  Under Apps not installed on this PC, swipe down on (or right-click) the apps you want to install on Surface.
Step 5:  Tap or click Install to install the selected apps.

Install desktop apps

Surface Pro models and Surface 3 can also run apps and programs that you install from a CD or DVD or a website.

Install an app from the Internet

Make sure the publisher or website that’s offering the app is one you trust.

In your web browser, tap or click the link to the app.
To install it now, tap or click Open or Run, and follow the on-screen instructions.

To install the app later, tap or click Save or Save as to download it.
When you're ready to install it, double-tap (or double-click) the file, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Install an app from a CD or DVD

To install an app from a CD or DVD, connect an external optical disc drive to the USB port on your Surface. When the drive is connected, insert the disc.

If the app doesn't start installing automatically, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Search. In the search box, enter computer, and tap or click Computer. Open the CD or DVD folder, and open the program setup file, usually called Setup.exe or Install.exe.

Uninstall an app

You can easily uninstall an app you no longer use. Here’s how:

Step 1:  On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap or click Search, and in the search box enter the name of the app you want to uninstall.
Step 2:  Press and hold (or right-click) the app tile, and tap or click Uninstall.
  • If you uninstall a built-in app, such as Music, you can reinstall it from the Store.
  • The Mail, Calendar and People apps appear in the Store as a single app called Mail, Calendar and People.
  • Apps that you installed will appear in the Store under My apps, even after you’ve uninstalled them from Surface.

Update Windows Store apps

Windows Store apps are periodically updated by their publishers and the updates will automatically download and install as they become available.

However, sometimes, you might want to check for app updates manually. Here's how:

Step 1:  On the Start screen, tap or click Store.
Step 2:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap or click Settings, and tap or click App updates.
Step 3:  Tap or click Check for updates.
Step 4:  If there are app updates available, tap or click Install.
It’s best to leave automatic app updating turned on. While in the Store, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings, then tap or click App updates. Make sure Automatically update my apps is set to Yes.

Get your apps working with Windows 8.1

Most apps and programs written for Windows 7 also work with Windows 8.1. When you install or run an older app, Windows monitors it for symptoms of known compatibility issues. If it finds an issue, Program Compatibility Assistant provides some recommended actions that you can take to help the program run properly on Windows 8.1. For more info, see Program Compatibility Assistant: Frequently asked questions.

If you're having trouble running a program that worked in a previous version of Windows, you might be able to run it in a compatibility mode, such as Windows Vista or Windows 7 compatibility modes. For info on how to do this, see Get your apps and devices working in Windows 8.1.

The Windows Compatibility Centre has info to help you identify which apps will or won't work with Windows 8.1.