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How to Shut Down or Minimize Full Screen Metro Apps in Windows 8

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By design, Metro apps in Windows 8 are not meant to be shut down, because you wouldn’t normally shut down apps on a phone or tablet. Therefore, you won’t find an exit command or a close button, like you’re used to.

However, if you really want to shut down a Metro app, there are a few ways you can do this.

Use the Keyboard to Close a Metro App

The quickest and easiest way to shut down a Metro app is to press Alt + F4. This terminates the currently running app immediately.

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Use the Mouse to Close a Metro App

To shut down the currently running Metro app using the mouse, click and hold on the top edge of the app, or the screen, and drag down to the bottom edge of the screen. The app becomes a smaller window and is dragged off the bottom of the screen.

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Use the Task Manager to Close a Metro App

The most powerful way to shut down a Metro app is using the Task Manager. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to bring up the Task Manager. Find the app, select it, and click End Task.

NOTE: For IE, there may be two versions of it running. The image below shows two tabs open in the desktop version of IE (with the round icon), and the Metro version of IE open as well (with the square icon).

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Minimize a Metro App

If you want a Metro app out of the way, but you don’t want to close it, you can minimize it. One way is to move the mouse to the extreme, lower, left corner of the screen to show the mini Start screen button and click it. The Start screen displays, but the app is still running in the background.

NOTE: When clicking the mini Start screen button, be sure to keep your mouse button in the extreme, lower, left corner. If you move it away slightly to click on the button, the button may disappear.

Another way is to press Windows key + D or Alt + Shift + Esc to go back to the desktop. Then, go back to the Start screen by clicking the Start screen button in the extreme, lower, left corner of the desktop or press the Windows key.

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Close a Minimized Metro App

Use your mouse to close a minimized Metro app running in the background. Move your mouse to the extreme, upper, left corner of the screen until you see a thumbnail of your running app. Right-click on the thumbnail and click Close.

NOTE: The thumbnail displays the last app that was active. If you just switched from the Desktop to the Metro screen, the Desktop shows. If that happens, open the app again from the Metro screen and close it using one of the methods mentioned earlier in this article.

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Closing and minimizing apps in Windows 8 may seem complicated, but after a while you can get used to it.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 07/11/12

Comments (18)

  1. Jeremy

    What a mess…Someone in M$ needs a cat scan for letting this thing loose.

  2. Keade

    Nothing about Windows 8 makes me want to upgrade from 7. It’s a giant mess.

  3. Thomly

    Actually, I like Windows 8 a lot. I definitely don’t want to go back to 7.

    The only thing they need to fix is the clear difference between fullscreen metro apps and desktop apps.
    The Start menu is the best application launcher I have ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot, both on Windows as multiple Linux distributions). There just needs to be an option to “run all applications on desktop”.

    Get to know it, use it a few days. Productivity², I promise.

  4. Kyle

    It’s not a mess. This article just overexplains the way to do these things. There are many options for all the different users. Alt+F4 is the classic keyboard command that everyone is familiar with.
    Dragging down from the top is the touch command if you’re using a touch screen, and it’s also been mapped to the mouse.
    Being able to right click close from the switcher is a power user move. Makes it easy for you to close several things quickly if you want.
    You shouldn’t ever need to close an app from the Task Manager, just like you wouldn’t normally use the Task Manager to close a desktop application.

    Minimizing is simple. Just hit the Windows key on your keyboard. It’s like using an iPad, and pressing the Home button. The only reason to hit Win+D is if you wanted to go right to the desktop.
    You could fish to the hotspot in the corner, but that’s really meant to be a gesture point for your thumbs on tablets.

    I’ll admit that there are some areas of Windows 8 that are less than… elegant (Like why do I need to leave Metro to configure power settings?), but this isn’t one of those areas. There’s a lot of choice here, and no one right or wrong way to do it (Except closing it through task manager, you maniacs. :P ), so this can fit many different types.

    As a last note, you shouldn’t need to close Metro apps. The memory management is pretty spiffy! All you need to do is hit the Windows/Home key and move on to your next thing, and forget that app had ever been running. (But in the interest of full disclosure, I’m totally OCD and can’t get over trying to micromanage the system. I’m always closing apps myself. ;) )

  5. Superevil

    “Closing and minimizing apps in Windows 8 may seem complicated, but after a while you can get used to it.”

    You shouldn’t have to get used to it. Metro is a horrible user interface. I’m still waiting from someone at Microsoft to say “Haha, we’re just kidding guys, this isn’t the new version of Windows. Fooled you!”

  6. r

    what a mess !

  7. Justin

    Everybody here has in depth comments on Windows 8 and yet it’s painfully obvious that the only 2 people that have used it are Thomly and Kyle. I remember people proclaiming Win ’95 a “mess” because of the desktop changes.

    I’ve been using Win 8 for a few months now and I’m really starting to dig it. Once you get the keyboard shortcuts down pat the whole system is a blast to use.

  8. Moe

    You shouldn’t have to get used to it. Metro is a horrible user interface. I’m still waiting from someone at Microsoft to say “Haha, we’re just kidding guys, this isn’t the new version of Windows. Fooled you!”

    with that attitude we would never move forward every thing would stay exactly the same why don’t you go ride a horse you idiot.

  9. Jack

    Trying everything to get apps to work:, Lcl acct, MS Acct, etc. Worked when first downloaded. After some updating by MS, more and more apps stopped. Have to use Desktop. Sure wish I could get some solid advice that works from MS. Can I re-down load over what I have now??

  10. r

    @ Justin

    I’ve used it and it’s a mess.

  11. SkiddMarxx

    I have to chuckle how many whiners and complainers there are every time Microsoft releases a new version of Windows or Office (especially when Office moved from menu bar to ribbon). If all the people who say ‘I ain’t switching’ actually didn’t, the world would still be on Windows 3.1.

    A couple of months after the release, most people will realize it’s not so bad, will adapt, and life will go on until the next release when the cycle will repeat itself.

  12. vgamesx1

    @Justin
    I’ve tried it too, all the different versions as-well and I’ve spent AT Least 1 – 2 hours on all of them, and afterwards I couldn’t stand any of em, the speed was pretty decent, but the UI was just ugly.

    @SkiddMarxx
    I think I prefer DOS over metro, and also you’re saying that you liked ME/Vista? if the OS is bad would you really keep it? I for one liked VISTA for crying out loud VISTA, but I completely hate windows 8.
    if we’re really going back to small little windows why not just go back to 3.1?

    isn’t the whole point of windows, to have multiple windows?
    e.g. I have IE10 open and while its open I can easily switch to my mail program, or go open a pdf.
    well on windows 8 you can’t do that with the metro now can you? no, because all metro apps are full screen, thus I for one do not, and will not like it.
    and I even showed it to my dad, while he did not try it, he didn’t want to either and commented that it looked ugly. so if you think to many people will like it you’re wrong, when someone will dislike it just by looking at it.

  13. Raging God

    I minimize the app and then close it. That’s the easiest.

    P.S. Who cares how many clicks you have to press to get the stuff done

  14. john

    I’m trying to get used to it on my dell convertable touch screen. My screen orientation doesn’t work now. Only landscape view. Thanks for the closure tips.

  15. osku

    @r

    Your parents said same about you: What a mess. I really like Windows 8. I don’t see why people say that it sucks. It’s fast to start and overall better performance than any Windows I’ve ever used.

  16. QG

    wonderful to use with a touch interface, sucks ass without one

  17. r

    @osku

    Sounds like the perfect comment from a six year old. Perhaps one day your mind might develop to it’s full capacity,…or perhaps not.

  18. sill

    Win 8 does suck for many reasons.The fact that it’s faster makes no difference to me.
    I have a fast system already.

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