Windows 8–The secret is in the Corners

One of the ‘not so good’ features of ‘Apps’ in Windows Phone 7 is the inability to close a running ‘App’ directly; unlike normal applications there isn’t a close button or menu option so, unless you find another way to close the apps you end up with a load of them running in the background taking up system resources.

On a phone the thinking is that having the apps you use regularly open and ready for use is a good thing; on most home use machines that probably holds true; but on a working machine where you are using resource intensive applications like Visual Studio or a high end graphics package I am not so sure.

Windows 8 brings with it the same paradigm in having applications with no direct way of closing them; take this view of IE10:

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No close button so one more application using up resources. So how do you find, switch between and close these applications?

Well you can still use Alt+Tab to switch between them as before but those of you, like me, who loved showing off the flashy Windows 7 application switcher where you held the windows key down and pressed Tab to get all the screens lined up in a carousel effect moving from the back to the front are going to be disappointed as its gone.

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The secret is in the corners: Push your Mouse up into the top left corner of the screen and a little window opens showing the app you used last;

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Now drag your mouse down making sure you keep it over the left edge of the screen and the window expands to show all of the running apps:

This is what happens now when you hold the Windows key down and press the Tab key.

The checked box at the bottom is the start screen which also shows on its own when you push the mouse into the bottom left corner.

Click on any of these thumbnail pictures takes you to that application with a nice animation; right click and you get a close button to close the application:

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OK so what happens when you go to the top and bottom right side; at the moment both do the same thing – a ghost of a toolbar appears which solidifies when you move the mouse over it:

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The toolbar gives access to search, share, your devices and settings. It also displays a rather nice clock and date with a battery and Wi-fi status.

The settings link gives access to another bar, also accessible using the Windows + I keyboard shortcut, which includes volume, power controls and, most importantly Help.

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