The Windows 8.1 Store is impractical

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 26, 2013
Windows, Windows 8

With today's Windows 8.1 preview release by Microsoft comes a series of updates to several core features of the Windows 8 operating system. Among them a store update that made the store less usable then before.

The original Windows 8 Store has deficiencies, like the impractical horizontal layout (at least for mouse and keyboard users), trial applications that are listed as free, or the colorful design thanks to Microsoft's decision to use an apps' dominant color as its background color in the store.

While it has its issues, it does provide me with important features that I require from stores. It enables me to search for all apps in the store for example, and sort them by date so that I can browse the latest apps released in store easily this way.

Windows 8.1 Store

Microsoft for whatever reason decided to change Windows Store significantly, and in my opinion, for the worse. When I open Windows Store now on a 1920x1080 resolution, I see a screen that displays seven apps to me.

The main store page lists featured apps, picks, top free and paid, popular and new releases here and while that may sound sufficient to users who are used to browse Google's Play Store or the Chrome Web Store, it is not nearly enough for me.

First, the categories are gone, at least from this screen. The only way to see what is new in a particular category is to right-click and select it from the top.

You are then taken to the category page listing popular apps, new releases, top paid and top free apps, plus an option to see them all.

So, if I'm interested in a couple of categories, I have to right-click, pick a category, browse it, right-click again, pick another category, browse it, right-click again and so on and so forth.

The popular now, new releases, top paid and top free categories have been limited from displaying 100 apps each to 40 each.

You may remember that it is possible to search in the Windows 8 store just by typing on the store front. This has been changed as well. Typing does nothing when you are on the store page unless you click first on the search form that is displayed on all store pages, or open the search charm instead.

Searches return a maximum of 1000 apps regardless of search, so that the wildcard * search that returned all apps available in Windows Store is not working anymore in Windows 8.1. Even worse: while it is still possible to sort by newest to display the most recent apps in store, Windows Store appears to not take this too serious anymore as it is displaying old apps here and no the newest apps, at least where a wildcard search is concerned.

The most likely explanation is that the limitation to 1000 apps is only returning results for those 1000 apps, so that the newest apps of the selection are displayed first. Those are however not the newest apps in Windows Store.

The results listing has been limited to two rows of apps, one less than Microsoft displays on other store apps listings and a lot less than in the original store. This is again great for touch users but not really great if you are using a high resolution monitor as you end up with lots of wasted space again.

Only the "see all" link of each category page listing lists more than 1000 apps. Every other listing is either restricted to 40 or to 1000.

Individual pages display all information directly, so that you do not have to switch between tabs anymore to display reviews or compatibility information. While that is great, it is diminished by the fact that you need to scroll horizontally now to access the information. Nearly a third of my screen is displaying white space now which could have been used to display all information directly on a single page so that there would not be any need to scroll horizontally at all.


Windows Store may have improved for touch screen users but the display is everything but practical for desktop users. One could say that desktop users do not have many incentives to use the store anyway, as they find better desktop programs for all the things the store has to offer with a few notable game exceptions maybe. The point is, Microsoft needs to realize that the majority of Windows users are not using touch screens.


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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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