How to Close Apps in Windows 8

Remember reading about five big changes in Windows 8? Yeah. Let us help you with one of those changes.

Windows 8 introduces a new way of doing things for the desktop environment. Aside from traditional Windows programs, you can also take advantage of an app-based program structure that works a lot like apps found in Android and iOS. Because Windows 8 doubles as a mobile platform, this change was inevitable.

The question remaining for non-mobile users is: “How in the heck do I close these apps?”

The answer is a little different than what you might imagine. Unlike traditional programs, these apps run only when they’re open. So, simply closing an app not specifically designed to work in the background will place it in a state of suspended animation until such time as you switch back to it either through gestures or selecting the app in the Start screen once again.

So, let’s say that isn’t good enough for you. You really want to close a Metro app, and you don’t feel like dealing with nonsense associated with having all these Metro apps open. Perhaps you don’t feel like cycling through apps you don’t need at the moment to get to the few good ones you do want to work with at the present time.

Here are some tips on how to close apps in Windows 8.

Click and Drag Method

One easy and simple way to close unwanted apps is by clicking and dragging your mouse cursor from the top of the screen (while the app in question is loaded) to the bottom of the screen. It will appear as though you are dragging a small app window around and dropping it, but you’re actually telling Windows that it needs to end the app’s process.

This method also works on a touch interface, such as the one found on a tablet. You can touch the top of the screen and swipe downward until you’ve reached the bottom of the screen. This should close your app, making it vanish from the sidebar and launch anew whenever you really do want to use it.

Task Manager

This method is often given by new users, but it is the method that was withstood the test of time over all other alternatives.

You can activate this program in several ways. You can:

  • Press Ctrl+Alt+Del and click Task Manager.
  • Right-click the task bar in the Aero desktop and select Task Manager.
  • Hit the Windows key and type “task” before hitting Enter.
  • Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc.

Any of these steps should get you there. Once you have pulled up the task manager, find the app you would like to close in the Processes list, single-click it, and select End Process.

Other Tips

If your system begins to run short of resources, these apps should close automatically in the order of most recent use. For example, making room for an app that you just launched may close the one you haven’t used for the longest period of time.

ALT+F4 doesn’t work the way it used to. While it still works on legacy programs running on the Aero side of Windows, it may not work on Metro apps. This could change, but for now it remains to be seen.

Closing traditional Windows programs can be done the way it always has been. Hitting the X in the corner of the window may close it, or right-clicking the icon in the task bar and selecting close. Either way, legacy programs remain largely unchained in their function and behavior.

If you’ve managed to place a Metro app in the sidebar of the Aero desktop, you can still close it by dragging the partition between the two interfaces over so the Metro app takes up the full screen before following the steps listed above.

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • breg

    Weather 100 mb OMG KILL ME

  • http://www.anthonyguidetti.com/ Anthony Guidetti

    A quicker way to get to task manager is by doing Ctrl-Shift-Esc.

    • Nicholos Tyler

      I was about to post the same exact thing! hah :D

    • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Matt Ryan

      Added, thanks. Hadn’t used that key combo in ages. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Matthew Cheung

    Thanks for the tips! I was having some difficulties in the past so thanks for helping me :)

    • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Matt Ryan

      No problem! Thank you for reading.

  • http://technogadget.tv/ Liam Green

    Why do you need a article on closing a Windows program. I thought windows was meant to be simple. 

    • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Matt Ryan

      Ask Google. It’s one of the most searched terms relating to Windows 8 right now. :-/

    • Sasparilla2

      Closing a Windows program is easy for the average user (click the red X button), closing a Windows 8 app is altogether different as demonstrated above (no red X button for the user).

  • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Matt Ryan

    It’s a pretty extensive Weather app. :-/

  • http://profiles.google.com/ortodata Marcos Schürmann

    Press “Windows + Tab” to show in the left side of the screen the active applications. Click with the left mouse button and choose Close.

  • http://twitter.com/HenrythegameMiz Henry Miz Afari

    or if you put your mouse on the TOP left side of the screen, WHen you see the small app in the corner, right click the app and click close, hahahah EASY AS THAT,

  • http://twitter.com/Stephen_Floyd Stephen Floyd

    It’s funny how prone to instinct people are. The App suspension in Windows 8 is something that I think was a long time coming. We’re going to start having to change our mindsets that if we want to do something else on our PC we need to shut off everything that we are currently working on. It’s 2012 and programs no longer destroy our system resources when we don’t need them to. (;

    • Tom

      It’s rather sad that what you call “being prone to instinct” is in fact stopping using the brain. The so-called “App suspension” doesn’t terminate the background processes the application uses.

      For example, if You have a downloader open that downloads something, it will continue to do so even when in a “suspension mode”. So, you need to shut it down. And there are many apps like this.

      Therefore, it should be still a “X” to quit, and “Minimize” which will be the suspension actually. Why would i don’t want to close my app? How Windows knows better than me that i will want to quickly use current app again? All that “instinct system” stuff is becoming ridiculous.

      What is more terrifying, is that Win 8 terminates suspended apps when out of resources, beginning from most time not used. Which means that if i have a project rendering in the background that takes 10 hours to render, and i open a new app when windows will be out of resources, it may automatically terminate my rendering project?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1813155844 Antim Evtimov Batchev

    i think windows is a little bit over doing it on trying to copy a little bit of the ios interface a little bit, but that of course is just my opinion … i think they should not over do it. I dont think some parts of the ui are like ios i think they are more like xbox ui so i like it 

  • http://www.facebook.com/drofidnas Chris Sandiford

    On the Acer W500 tab (at least) pressing Windows key + power gives a task manager option.

  • http://twitter.com/redteamleader nikkole couture

    this is nuts – why in the heck wouldn’t they include a CLOSE button?? detest the idea of all these apps running quietly in the background…

  • http://twitter.com/manleynotboyley Manley Evangelista

    Hover your mouse on the top left of your screen, and slowly move your mouse down, there you can see all of your running apps. To close, just right click on the program, and click close. There.

  • Curtis Coburn

    Okay, not like this matters too much, it’s just a different way to close the app. People will get used to it. Or they may change it someday. Windows 8 is still very new. Because it hasn’t come out yet, they might change some things with some updates.

  • Jesse Aranda

    This just means it’s time to make a program that will close programs with one click/tap like the close button did.

  • Robert Fletcher

    Because once you learn how to close an app, you don’t need a close button cluttering up the interface. All you do is long-click the top middle of screen and drag down with the mouse button down OR on a touch screen you would just drag down from top-middle. There are also other ways to close apps as others have already noted. I don’t think its weird. I think its pretty cool. You will get used to it. Give it a chance.

  • Bill in Baton Rouge

    This is SOOOO Intuitive!!!! Not