Remember reading about five big changes in Windows 8? Yeah. Let us help you with one of those changes.

Windows 8 introduces a new way of doing things for the desktop environment. Aside from traditional Windows programs, you can also take advantage of an app-based program structure that works a lot like apps found in Android and iOS. Because Windows 8 doubles as a mobile platform, this change was inevitable.

The question remaining for non-mobile users is: “How in the heck do I close these apps?”

The answer is a little different than what you might imagine. Unlike traditional programs, these apps run only when they’re open. So, simply closing an app not specifically designed to work in the background will place it in a state of suspended animation until such time as you switch back to it either through gestures or selecting the app in the Start screen once again.

So, let’s say that isn’t good enough for you. You really want to close a Metro app, and you don’t feel like dealing with nonsense associated with having all these Metro apps open. Perhaps you don’t feel like cycling through apps you don’t need at the moment to get to the few good ones you do want to work with at the present time.

Here are some tips on how to close apps in Windows 8.

Click and Drag Method

One easy and simple way to close unwanted apps is by clicking and dragging your mouse cursor from the top of the screen (while the app in question is loaded) to the bottom of the screen. It will appear as though you are dragging a small app window around and dropping it, but you’re actually telling Windows that it needs to end the app’s process.

This method also works on a touch interface, such as the one found on a tablet. You can touch the top of the screen and swipe downward until you’ve reached the bottom of the screen. This should close your app, making it vanish from the sidebar and launch anew whenever you really do want to use it.

Task Manager

This method is often given by new users, but it is the method that was withstood the test of time over all other alternatives.

You can activate this program in several ways. You can:

  • Press Ctrl+Alt+Del and click Task Manager.
  • Right-click the task bar in the Aero desktop and select Task Manager.
  • Hit the Windows key and type “task” before hitting Enter.
  • Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc.

Any of these steps should get you there. Once you have pulled up the task manager, find the app you would like to close in the Processes list, single-click it, and select End Process.

Other Tips

If your system begins to run short of resources, these apps should close automatically in the order of most recent use. For example, making room for an app that you just launched may close the one you haven’t used for the longest period of time.

ALT+F4 doesn’t work the way it used to. While it still works on legacy programs running on the Aero side of Windows, it may not work on Metro apps. This could change, but for now it remains to be seen.

Closing traditional Windows programs can be done the way it always has been. Hitting the X in the corner of the window may close it, or right-clicking the icon in the task bar and selecting close. Either way, legacy programs remain largely unchained in their function and behavior.

If you’ve managed to place a Metro app in the sidebar of the Aero desktop, you can still close it by dragging the partition between the two interfaces over so the Metro app takes up the full screen before following the steps listed above.