How-to: Exit a Metro App on Windows 8

Windows 8 Consumer Preview - Metro DesktopIt’s not something you expect to ask – how do I exit an application. But if you downloaded and installed either of the Windows 8 Previews, you’ll find this a puzzle. Windows 8 is impressive but there’s a startling lack of controls for closing full-screen Metro Apps in the new interface. Never mind touch-screens, what about a mouse and a keyboard?

The first thing to note is that in Windows 8, some apps are designed not to be closed. This is part of the general ‘Metro experience’ that came with the Developer Preview. You’re not supposed to ‘close’ apps in a traditional sense, they go to a ‘suspended’ mode instead when you task switch – just go and do something else.

Just like Android or iOS, you just hit the home screen and it suspends the app. You can even see Windows 8 doing this – in Task Manager, non-active Metro apps show as ‘Suspended’.

Originally, the Android phone operating syste was like this, too, but thanks to buggy and unreliable apps, third party task managers (app-killers) became available and are now commonplace. Owing to popular demand, Microsoft has added the close feature in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

In the Consumer Preview, the tradiitional alt + f4 key combination still works.

You can also move the pointer (mouse or finger) to the top of the screen – the top but not the left and right top corners.

Click or tap the top of the screen where the title bar would be in a conventional desktop app, then drag to bottom of screen. The Metro app will close when you reach the bottom.

That top left corner is a hot-spot; hover over that and you can bring up the full list of running apps, then pull down to display live tiles for all open apps. You can right-click on any open app to close it.

The unofficial answer from somebody at MS on this forum thread:

“The idea is Metro Style apps are not closed. The system takes care of keeping the apps from consuming background resources automatically. You can examine the app lifetime information in the developer documentation if you’d like. […] Alt+F4 only works in the dev tools integrated builds as a developer feature and is not a general mechanism.”

If you need to free up memory or wrangle an app that locks up, you can always kill Metro apps using the task manager. AJS

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