Windows 10 is evolving every day, and the Microsoft Store is too. With it, you can now purchase games, apps, books, movies, Microsoft Edge extensions, and even devices such as gaming consoles or laptops. Did you know that your purchases are synchronized across all your Windows 10 devices, including your PC, smartphone, tablet and even your Xbox One console? Once you purchase something from the Microsoft Store (formerly known as the Windows Store), you can access it from all your Windows 10 devices, as long as you are using the same Microsoft account on all of them. To help you get going with the new Microsoft Store, here are the top ten things that you can do with it:
NOTE: The screenshots used in this article are from Windows 10 with Spring Creators Update, which should become available for all Windows 10 users, for free, starting with April 2018.
1. Search for apps, games, books, movies, TV shows, and hardware
In order to access all the content offered by the Microsoft Store, you have to first start it by clicking or tapping on the Microsoft Store tile from the Start Menu, or its shortcut from the apps list.
The easiest way to find something in the Microsoft Store is to use the Search box from the top-right corner. Type a keyword, click or tap the search button or press the Enter key on your keyboard.
In the search results you can see many different types of content, like apps, games, books, movies, TV shows, and even for hardware or accessories.
The Search tool is a powerful feature and it helps you find content or hardware quickly and easily. Obviously, you can also browse the various lists that are shown in the Microsoft Store, in each content category.
2. Browse for content and hardware: Apps, Games, Movies & TV, Books, Microsoft Edge Extensions, and Devices
The Microsoft Store also lets you find content by browsing its catalog. Both on the Home screen and the home screens of the major categories (Apps, Games, Devices, Movies & TV, Books, Edge Extensions), the Microsoft Store welcomes you with a series of large tiles with items that Microsoft recommends, as well as with Top and Featured collections. Here's a sample of how that looks for the Apps :
And here's a sample of what the Microsoft Store might show you in its Devices category:
If you scroll down to the bottom of the Apps, Games, Books or Movies & TV sections, you can also choose to browse different subcategories, to find something that meets your requirements.
When browsing for Apps or Games, you also have additional sorting options: for example, you can check the top free and paid content, check the highest rated applications or the ones that are new additions to the Microsoft Store but are rising in popularity.
Some content categories from the Microsoft Store also include some ready-made Collections. For instance, the Movies & TV section offers a Featured collections page where you can browse movies from the DC Universe, Star Wars, Marvel Universe, but also Sales & specials, Movies in 4K UHD and so on.
3. Get free apps, games and other freebies
Did you know that even though we are talking about a Store, it does not mean that you have to buy everything? The Microsoft Store is loaded with free applications and games - and do not be misled by the zero price tag, as there are high-quality products out there.
Check the Top free sections of both the Apps and the Games pages to try something new. Microsoft offers apps that can be useful to you, based on your browsing, search and app usage history. They also post free offers for movies, so check that section as well.
4. Buy content: apps, games, movies and TV shows
Do you want to own a movie your friends are talking about? Or would you like to play a great game? No problem, the Microsoft Store has lots of premium content to choose from. The Top paid sections have a lot to offer, and the purchase process is straightforward. Often, there are also free trials available.
If you are looking for a great movie to watch or the latest episodes from your favorite TV show, the Microsoft Store also has you covered. The purchase process is the same as for apps and games, so you can get what you want in a matter of seconds.
5. Download and install extensions for Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge is one of the fastest web browsers on the market. However, developers did not rush to create extensions for it, once Microsoft offered support for them. However, things have started to change, and more and more extensions for Microsoft Edge appear each day. That is probably why Microsoft decided to add a new section to its Store, called Edge Extensions. This is a place where you can find extensions for this web browser, organized conveniently and ready to be discovered.
6. Pay for content using several payment methods
Let's assume that you just found your favorite game or a great app that you need to have. Paying is easy in the Microsoft Store. You can use several different payment methods, including credit card or debit card, PayPal, and mobile phone.
Depending on the region you live in, you might also have other additional payment options available, like other online payment services or Microsoft gift cards.
7. Buy computers, tablets, gaming consoles and other hardware
The Devices section of the Microsoft Store lets you buy hardware such as Surface tablets and accessories, Xbox consoles, but also laptops from Dell, HP, Lenovo, Alienware, and others. You can also use it to find and buy a Windows Mixed Reality headset, headphones, speakers, cameras, and so on. The Devices section of the Microsoft Store is not huge, but it is a good stop if you are interested mainly in Microsoft devices.
8. Access your library of apps, games, music, and movies
Keeping all of your stuff together can be a hell of a job, but the library makes sorting your stuff easy. You need to access the menu by clicking or tapping on the three-dots button from the top-right corner, and then click or tap My Library.
Here, you can find a list of your most recently acquired apps, games, movies, TV shows and books, no matter whether you have bought or downloaded them for free. You also get links to the Movies & TV app, where you can find your multimedia content, and to Microsoft Edge, where you can read the books you bought. You can also re-download everything straight from this screen, or access the list of all your apps or games with a single click or tap.
9. Update your apps and games
Windows 10, the updated Microsoft Store and the concept of universal apps seems to have given the long-awaited nudge to the Windows app ecosystem, as we are seeing more of our favorite software becoming available as Windows apps. Moreover, because developers have started to care a bit more about this platform, we also see more frequent updates as well.
Updates are easy to access, by clicking or tapping the three dots in the top-right corner, and choosing "Downloads and updates" in the menu that is shown. Hit Check for updates and you get to see all the apps and games that have a new version available. Then, you can update them all at once, or individually, as you prefer.
10. Configure the Microsoft Store
Although fiddling with settings and configuring every last detail of each application might not be the dream of every Digital Citizen, it is sure good to know that things can work just the way you like it. Thankfully, configuring the Microsoft Store is not a big deal: there are only a few options available, but they can make your life easier if you set them the way you prefer. To access your settings, click the three dots in the top-right corner, and then choose Settings in the menu that opens.
By accessing the Settings, you can enable auto-updating, so your apps and games always have the latest version installed, or you can set Windows 10 to show recommended products on the Store's live tile, if it is pinned to the Start Menu. You can also choose to auto-play videos and streamline your purchase experience. This means that you are not going to be asked for a password each time you buy something from the Microsoft Store. It sacrifices security for comfort, but this might just be the setting you have been looking for.
The Microsoft Store from Windows 10 looks and works better than ever. With a growing number of free applications and games, as well as a great selection of books, movies, and TV shows, it could soon become your one-stop shop for everything you need on your Windows device, whether that be a tablet, a laptop or a PC. Now that you have an idea of what the Microsoft Store has to offer, use it for a while and share your experience with us. What is your favorite feature of the Microsoft Store? What about your least favorite? What apps would you love to see in the Microsoft Store? Use the comments below to share your feedback with us.