How to Search for Installed Programs in Windows 8

Searching for an installed program in Windows 8 is remarkably easy. It may take some getting used to as the bones set during the past decade with the Start menu are broken and reset by the Start screen, but the end result is a more efficient way to find programs and files on a Windows 8 desktop PC.

There are a few ways to do this, and one of them takes nothing more than a click of the mouse and the first few letters of the app or program’s name.

Start Screen Search

You can find a specific app or program by simply typing its name while in the Start screen. You don’t have to activate the Search charm or anything like that. When the Start Screen is up, search is already activated and available for you to start typing into. Once you begin spelling out the name of the app, a search field will appear on the right side of the screen with a list of possible matches appearing on the left. Just click the app you’re searching for as it appears, and you’re in.

If it’s a specific file you’re looking for, just select file under the search bar that appears in the sidebar on the right side of the screen as you search.

Browse All Apps

You can browse all apps available on your system by going to the Start screen and right-clicking in a blank space not currently being inhabited by a tile. A bar should appear at the bottom of your screen with the option to see all apps appearing in the lower-right corner. Click that icon and every program and/or app on your computer should appear in an easy-to-browse list.

From this list, you can pin apps to your Start screen for easy discovery later on, launch them, and uninstall specific applications. It’s the fastest way I’ve found to navigate through everything I have installed without cluttering my main Start screen in the process.

Keyboard Shortcut

If you want the best of both worlds, just hit Windows + q to bring up the complete apps list in addition to the search field. It’s one keyboard shortcut that, beyond any other, makes finding that application you’re looking for a quick and simple process.

These tips should help you find any program you presently have installed on Windows 8.

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.

  • Firehorse

    Sounds like Apple’s Spotlight and LaunchPad.

  • PatSpencer

    this does not work for installed programs
    I cannot locate installed programs such as VLC media player and Winamp

  • Mihai D Postelnicu

    Yeah, great… How about programs you don’t know are installed or forgot their names…

    • Mihai D Postelnicu

      :)) They show up anyways

  • Me

    This does not work for me either. When I right click, as instructed, I get a small white box that says “Name groups” with the N underlined.