Windows 8

Five of the best Windows 8 preview apps (so far)


The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is out, along with a limited number of preview apps designed to showcase the new Metro style. Some apps, such as Mail, Messaging, Camera, Maps, People, Reader, Weather, and IE, come pre-installed. Nearly 100 free apps are available in the Windows Store, shown above.

Here's a look at my favorite preview apps out of the selection available, both pre-installed and downloadable from the Store.

Note: If you'd prefer to view this information as a blog post, check out this entry in our Five Apps blog.


Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

afarinacci 3 Like

Right. I use a Windows phone 7 and prefer it over the other options. Perfectly happy with it. But I also extensively use Android tablets at work and support iPhones and every other O/S of any significance in the workplace. What has all this to do with Windows 8? Maybe nothing. Maybe its a frustration with all the O/S snobbery I read. It's worse than pitting Democrats and Republicans against each other. I have had a blast playing with all these smartphones and computer operating systems over the years...and big surprise...duh, they all have their highs and lows. It would be good to take a lesson from a true synthesist (I can say that now after 30 years). I'm good at what I do and I embrace the best of each new innovation...even Windows 8, but make no mistake...yes, I shake my head and wonder where Microsoft comes up with some of this stuff. Still, I'm in IT. It's stressful enough. Lighten up and enjoy the ride.

tomi01 1 Like

You've got to be joking? Right? Well I'm glad you have had a "blast" playing with all these new devices while someone else pays your salary and the whole IT world is thrown into a morass because these A**es have been drinking koolaid instead of common sense when it comes to OS design. Some of us have to live with the consequences of these developments in the OS's, others have to pay enormous bills for the consequences of these ridiculous changes. I have to support these OS's and it just gets more and more infuriating as these damaging changes are made without rational reason against established standards, (instituted because they work), are dropped.

taskman 2 Like

The whole format looks cluttered like a smart phone. I like my desktop totally without icons let alone silly little squares all over it. If that is the best that Microsoft can do I believe they will lose loads of users.

adler 4 Like

I installed Windows 8 on a vista machine. Played with it for an hour. I personally do not see the point in the new interface. Seems to me it takes more clicks to do everything. Each edition of Windows should be an incremental improvement. If the interface is the only "improvement" I am underwhelmed and I am always anxious to jump to the newest and latest systems. Windows 7 was sooo much better than vista that it was an instant success in my book. I shall reserve judgement on Windows 8 until the final edition is ready. Unlike Most software companies, Microsoft tends to make changes for change sake. Take the infamous Ribbon for example. In Word 2007 it is not loved but usable. After several months of using Office 2010 I finally removed it and went back to office 2007. For my taste Office 2010 took more clicks to obtain the same results than office 2007.

Mike Lonewolf
Mike Lonewolf

In regards to your comment(s) on Office 2010, you had not used it long enough to make that call. I was one of the Alpha/Beta testers on it and NOTICED to date that people dislike the ribbon. BUT the ribbon is a great addition, and help you get your work done faster, and easier. WERE you aware that you could use MS Office without the ribbon? The ribbon feature isn't mandatory, and can be shut down through options. Also you failed to mention the think ahead feature (Auto-Complete) which saves time by completing your sentences as you type them. I know it is not 100% accurate but it allows you to keep typing your thoughts anyways. and if it DOES get the right sentence, you can move on to another sentence and a major time saver.


Market saturation is the reason. MS don't make money unless they sell a new OS every couple of years. As far as I'm concerned, most uses I do can be covered by MS 2K or XP. Any thing added past this was graphic file management (which Apple can doing with their hands tied behind their back) and stupid things like icons that fade in and hide the management tools a little better.


If they had a credible Tab, they would have a potential market of tens if not hundreds of millions. However that has been left to the iPad and Android tabs, as MS have made the insane descision to do Windows 8 Jr for tabs, instead of leveraging the existing Windows Phone 7 into an XL format - which sidelines WP7 somewhat as well instead of building it up like IOS and Android are. Dumbass move, when they could have started shipping 12 months ago.

brian_leach 3 Like

So the best app is the one used for controlling real (i.e. Pre-8) Windows desktops .. strangely enough that's also the most-used app on my iPad. What does that tell you..


It never gave a reason though.

ruirego 8 Like

i dont want to see the good.... W8 isnt a backward step, its a huge backward and yes, its really ugly.

richard 11 Like

I thought I'd have a look at Windows 8 in a VM just to see if I needed to be afraid - very afraid and I do. For someone who just wants to use this on a standard PC as a work machine it's the roibbon interface all over again. Let's just make things difficult for the hell of it. I know that they are trying to build an environment that works from the phone to the tablet to the desktop but that's a stupid idea. When I moved from Win95 to 2000 to XP to 7 I didn't need a bunch of how to guides to figure it out but I do with this.


The ribbon in Office is horrible. It takes 5 times as many clicks to do what you need to do and it's more like what you need for a 7 yr old to use! Access 2010 has destroyed productivity in working with databases. The fools that made these changes should be locked up in a nut-house!

Raventec 3 Like

There is nothing here leaping-out to tell me that I need to shell-out for a new operating system. The question is, if you want comformity - are you happy enough with your iFone/android mobile to want to ditch your Windows Desktop, or is your Windows desktop so important that you will ditch your current phone interface for Windows 8?

jimbritttn 7 Like

If I want "apps" I'll use a cellphone! Windows 8 is UGLY and a backward step.

tomi01 8 Like

What your article is trying to do is impress, but anyone with any brains can see that these are apps that you "might" have on your phone. What would anyone want these on their computer for instead of a bookmark? This whole idea of putting "apps" onto a computer for productivity or normal usage is ridiculous and hopefully Apple and MS get their a** handed back to them quickly enough to stop this madness and bring back simple fast lean OS's for the computer that are not armed with enough DRM tiltbits to sink a ship. Linux never had such a luck break as this stupid trail that Apple and MS have chosen and they will regret it. What were they thinking or drinking??? 2 Like

They are thinking that Apple is raking in the cash and they want some as well. Call it stupid if you want, but people are paying big dollars for it. Companies aren't stupid for cashing in on people's wants and desires. Bill

Hazydave 2 Like

... in Mobile. Some of these things make sense on a phone or tablet, given the compromises in usability one is willing to accept on a mobile device in terms of UI, screen size, and input devices. And even at that, I don't really anyone versed in both Android and Metro choosing the latter on a mobile device. Maybe Metro wins a few points on the "New Coke" effect... it takes a little use of it to start really hating it... might seem OK at first try. At least, that's been my experience with Win8. On the desktop, there is no rational reason a Windows user would choose this... being unencumbered by small screens, limited input devices, a weak CPUs, all these compromises just seem stupid on a desktop. And Microsoft seems dedicated to forcing this on desktop users, in the hope of prepping them to buy mobile devices with the same UI. I think it has a much better chance of moving people off Windows entirely, or at least freezing most users at Windows 7. And I feel much stronger about thus, having set myself up with the consumer preview... much worse than I had imagined, really no redeeming features at all on the desktop.


Is anyone else getting the message that these apps are no longer available? I downloaded the beta and then the preview and the only app I could ever get installed was Cut the Rope. Anyone else had any luck? I am running the preview on VMWare.