How to Exit a Metro-Style App in Windows 8

I just installed Windows 8 in a virtual machine to try it out and I have to say that I don’t like it very much. At least not when you have to click and when it’s running in a virtual machine. Windows 8 seems totally designed for a touch screen tablet interface, which is strange considering I would never upgrade since I will continue to use my desktop for a long time.

Overall, it’s not easy to perform tasks like you are used too in Windows 7. The new Metro-style interface, while cool, is really annoying when have to use it with a keyboard and mouse.

windows 8 metro

It would look great on an iPad or some other tablet I’m sure, but I think most users of Windows currently use a desktop. I really do hope their are two versions of Windows 8 as trying to combine the new interface with the old one is plain annoying. You can click on Desktop, for example, to get a the normal looking desktop you have in Windows 7. However, there is no longer a Start Menu! Instead you will see a Start Button-looking box at the bottom left, but when you click on it, it simply brings up the metro-style interface.

start button windows 8

This is a HUGE change! Clicking it brings you back to the first screenshot above. Now when you click on one of the apps, you can view things like stock quotes, news, games, Twitter, etc. Apparently, these apps are like normal programs, so when you click on one and later “exit”, it really only minimizes it and doesn’t really end the process.

Now I’ve kind of strayed from the point of this article, which is that once you are in one of these apps, how the heck do you get out of it. It’s really annoying because it’s so meant for a tablet that it doesn’t even have a close, exit, or return button! If you have an iPhone or iPad, you ¬†know how this works. You have to press the button on the phone or iPad to exit the app and when you do, it technically does not end it, but just puts it into some kind of frozen state.

exit windows 8 app

As you can see, there is nothing to click on to exit! So what if you have this installed on a Windows machine? How can you get out of it? Well it’s pretty simple! You have to press the Windows key on your keyboard!

windows key

That will exit you out of the app and bring you back one level. Whew! What a pain! And what if you have this installed on a Mac computer using VMWare Fusion? Well, instead of the Windows key, you press the Command key.

command key

And since all the programs are never terminated, you can switch between then using ALT + TAB on a Windows machine. On a Mac computer, it’s actually the same (OPTION + TAB).

alt tab

You won’t see any of the metro-style apps on your desktop like you would see a normal running program. At this point, I still can’t even figure out how to get to a simple program like Notepad without performing a search in Explorer. What are your thoughts on Windows 8 if you have installed it on a PC or Mac?

Comments [7]

  1. I completely agree! while it does have some cool new items it completely favours the use of a tablet and is completely annoying when using a desktop. for this to be successful i believe windows will have to integrate tablet like guesture into the mouse pad.

  2. I don't know how to exit from a program in Windows 8 either. When you use the Windows key the funny desktop or boxes of Aps come up but I don't think you're really out of the program because if you do control, alt, delete to start the task manager, the programs are still running. You can close the running programs after entering task manager but, there's got to be a better way.

  3. While testing Windows 8 out, I agree with everything you are saying. You should at least be able to close the instance of that application, so it does not suck resources. Although this is only a developer preview, Microsoft rarely makes changes to its beta releases. It is very unfortunate that they have not thought about these things. Creating two different home screens in the same operating system is cumbersome as well. I would have been alright with a metro-style everything, as it is sleek and user friendly, although having a Windows 7 style virtual machine app running in the background is, again, pointless.

  4. Windows 8 is tablets/phones. It’s not for a desktop/laptop. They need something that can compete on those types of devices.

  5. I think you can exit out of a Metro app without a keyboard! If you move your mouse down to the lower left corner of the app, a Start Menu button should pop up. Clicking it will allow you to go back to the Metro Screen.

  6. Alt-F4 still works to ‘exit’ the app in Win 8, but I agree, this is still ridiculous.

  7. Swipe your finger down the screen and the app will get dropped

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