Heading to the Windows Store, customers will see a variety of apps -- the tiny programmes for mobile computers -- divided into categories of services offered or ones that have received top ratings from other users.
However, Microsoft still does not offer a comprehensive search of its store.
An alternative is heading to the MetroStore Scanner site, which offers a selection of interesting and free apps.
BROWSER: Internet Explorer 10 now comes as a sleek app. If it won’t open a page, it’s possible to easily switch to the desktop browser. So far, no alternative browsers are available for the system.
CHATTING: A pre-programmed app lets users chat in Facebook with Windows Live Messenger. A Skype app can also be installed for video chats.
DOCUMENTS AND NOTES: OneNote can be used for jotting down ideas.
That service can access the online storage device Skydrive, so those ideas can be shared with other devices. Meanwhile, the app Doo organizes, sorts and labels various documents.
DRAWING: A touchscreen invites artistic creativity, especially with SketchBook Express or Paint a Story. There are also kid-friendly apps like Fresh Paint, Paint 4 Kids or Finger Paint.
GAMES: The pre-installed games app leads to Microsoft’s XBox Games platform. It’s not necessary to create a profile. Just break off that process and then it is possible to download free titles. The store also has countless non-XBox titles, including Cut the Rope or BallStrike.
INSTALLATION: A lot of standard apps from Microsoft come pre-installed, including ones for email, calendar, contacts, camera, maps, news, pictures, music, videos and games, as well as Internet Explorer and Skydrive.
KNOWLEDGE: The Wikipedia app offers the standard search functions and presents beautiful photos and readable entries. Also consider the Ponsa dictionary app, which spans 13 languages.
MAPS: Microsoft’s map app merges route planning and traffic data.
Inrix Traffic is also a good option.
MUSIC: Pre-installed apps offer the option to play one’s songs as well as stream music from the internet, with ads blended in. TuneIn can pull in thousands of internet radio broadcasts while Soundrivin accesses the music platform Soundcloud, which includes many non-mainstream tracks.
Other options include Soundtracker, while Music Maker Jam allows people to compose their own tunes.
NETWORKS: Updates from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be followed via the pre-installed contact apps. There’s also MetroTwit, or Mine for Facebook, which can both be downloaded.
NEWS: Microsoft’s news app is not the only source for Windows 8 users. Consider Dark RSS Reader or Pulse News, which allow the creation of individualized news feeds. The Big Picture specializes in photos.
PHOTOS: Photobucket is a good resource for getting pictures online so they can be shared. TLVstagram is also good for accessing the flood of images from Instagram with the use of keywords.
SEARCH: If you don’t like the pre-installed Bing system, find Google in the Windows Store.
VIDEOS AND TV: Microsoft’s video app isn’t just a player, but a video library. There’s also a Windows 8 app in development for the popular open source software VLC Media Player. Zattoo is good for watching live television, while Vmetro is good for watching news.
That app bundles news videos by interest.