Applies to

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


Start, find, and close apps on Surface

Whether you’re at the Start screen or on the desktop, your apps are easy to find and open.


Manage your apps, contacts, websites, photo albums, playlists, folders and more from Start or the desktop. You can pin apps to and unpin apps from the Start screen and the desktop taskbar. You can also group, rearrange, and resize app tiles on the Start screen. For more info, see Start screen.

Find and open apps from Start

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 button Windows logo key on your Surface.
  • 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, point to the lower-left corner and click the Start button Windows logo key.

Find an app from Start

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

  • Search for an app. Tap or click the Search Search button button, and in the search box enter an app name. 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 in the lower-left corner of the screen.)
    Then tap or click the app.

Open apps from Start

Here’s how to start an app from the Start screen:

  • 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. From the Start screen, enter the name of an app, and press Enter.
Tip
You can start multiple apps and switch between them—for more info, see Switch between open apps.

Find and open apps from the desktop

You can pin any apps that you frequently use to the taskbar. Then you can open them from the desktop with a single tap or click. For more info, see How to use the taskbar.

Get to the desktop

From the Start screen, tap or click Desktop (or press Windows logo key windows logo+ D). If you don’t see the Desktop tile on the Start screen, swipe up from the middle of the screen to get to Apps view, and then tap or click Desktop.

Find and open apps from the desktop

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

  • Taskbar. The taskbar shows all the apps that are open, and any apps that you’ve pinned to the taskbar. Tap or click a button on the taskbar to use the app. For more info, see Desktop.
  • Search. Tap and hold or right-click the Start button Start button in the lower-left corner of the screen, and then tap or click Search. In the search box enter the name of the app, and in the search results tap or click the app.

Install apps

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:

If you’re using a Surface Pro, you can also install desktop apps from a USB flash drive (or other external drive), from the web or over a network. For more info, see Install and uninstall apps on Surface Pro.

Which apps are open?

To see which Windows Store 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
  • Open an app from the taskbar.
    The desktop taskbar can show all your open apps. To learn how to see Windows Store apps on the taskbar, see How to use the taskbar.
Desktop taskbar

How do I close an app?

Close a Windows Store app

Apps that you install from the Windows Store don’t slow down your Surface when you’re using them. When you stop using an app, Windows leaves it running in the background and then, after a while closes if for you. But, if you want to close an app, here’s how:

  • Use touch. From the Start screen or from another app, swipe in from the left edge of the screen, and then push back toward the left edge. Tap and hold the app you want to close, and then slide your finger all the way down the screen and hold it here until the app flips over.
  • Use a mouse or touchpad. Move your mouse pointer to the top of the app and then then click the Close Close button button in the title bar.

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. Tap or click the Close Close button button in the upper right corner of the app.