How to search the Windows 8 Store

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 10, 2012
Updated • Aug 16, 2013
Search, Windows

I'm not a fan of how Microsoft has integrated search into the Windows 8 operating system. While instant search on the start screen is a great feature, its use is diminished by being only available on the main start screen and not on the classic desktop or when apps are running. While you could press Windows-Q to start a search from anywhere, it is nowhere as comfortable as just starting to type.

I also believe that moving search away from the interface of applications is something that is making it more difficult to find and access the feature. Let me explain for those of you who have not had first hand experience with Windows 8.

Search is only available in the Charms bar which you open with various shortcuts or by moving the cursor to the lower or upper right corner of the screen. You automatically use the search of the application running, for eBay, you would search the eBay store, for mail, you would search all of your mails.

I have two issues with that. First, discovering that search works this way is not as easy as it should be. Second, search feels like being not part of the application you are running, like a completely different application.

Windows Store search

Windows Store uses the built-in search as well. You can start typing away when you are on the store front to get results right on the Charms Bar that is opening up. Here you may also see search suggestions based on your previous search history.

Update: If you are running Windows 8.1, you need to click on the Search for apps form and enter your search term there. The "type as you go" feature is not available anymore in the operating system.

You can select the suggested and top results with a click or tap, or hit return for a list of all apps that match the search query.

windows store search

all search results windows store

You can't use the same option to search when you are on an apps profile page as the direct input is not available on these pages. The same is true when you are running a different app and want to search the store, or are on the classic desktop and want to find out if an application is listed in Windows Store.

To search for Windows Store apps from these locations, press Windows-Q to open the Charms Bar with search activated. Type the search query and select Store from the list of applications listed on the side bar. This redirects the search to the Windows Store application so that only store apps are returned on the Charms Bar and when you hit enter.

You can use filters on the search results page to filter results by category, price and sort apps by factors such as relevance, date, rating or price.

Microsoft Search

Microsoft has recently made available another option to search apps that are listed in Windows Store. You need to visit the official Windows homepage on the Microsoft website and enter the name of an application or word/phrase in the form on that page.

Once done, select Apps from the "search results from" listing to only display Windows Store apps in the results. Here you find all apps listed that match your query, so that you can open their profile pages on the Microsoft Windows website and check them out.

The website won't provide you with user comments or ratings though, which means it is inferior to the native Windows Store search.



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  1. Mark said on October 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    How frustrating! They made Windows for idiots, and now it seems to make us all look like idiots trying to figure out how to do the simplest things using it!!!!

  2. Abraham said on November 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    You can do a instant search on the Windows Store aswell has the main start screen, this is just another way on how to search the Windows Store on Windows 8.,

  3. ilev said on November 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    How Has Windows Search Improved Since Win2k? Hint: It Hasn’t!

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