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Windows 8: the complete guide

Our in-depth guide to Microsoft's new OS

Metro apps

Windows 7 came with far fewer pre-installed applications than Vista. Messenger, Movie Maker, Mail and more were stripped out and made available as a free download from Microsoft's website.

Windows 8 eschews this concept and there are more apps than ever. As you'd expect, they're designed to match the new Metro interface and to be controlled by touch, rather than a keyboard and mouse.

Store

The first app you notice, right at the top-left corner is the new Store.

Windows 8 Store tile

This is where you'll browse and buy new apps, just as you would on a smartphone. There are various categories and you can pinch to zoom out to scroll quickly through the categories, zooming out again when you see something you like. Tap on a particular app and a description, screenshots and user reviews will appear.

Currently, the choice of apps is very limited. You won't find Amazon or eBay apps in the Shopping section, nor Twitter or Facebook in the Social category. Expect numbers to grow quickly once Windows 8 launches later in 2012, though.

See also: Top 10 Windows 8 apps: so far

Windows 8 Store

Maps

Another completely new app, Maps uses Microsoft's Bing Maps service to provide search and directions across the world. The interface isn't dissimilar from the Bing Maps website (www.bing.com/maps) but the entire screen is used for the map. You can scroll around with your finger and pinch to zoom in and out.

When you tap and hold the screen, top and bottom bars slide into view and you can set the map to your current location, switch from Road to Aerial (satellite) views and enter a location or business to search for.

Windows 8 maps

NEXT PAGE: More Metro apps

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