Windows 8.1 Basics: Properly Close Down Modern Apps


Basically, when a modern app runs, it stays in one of 3 designated states: active, suspend, background mode like the Mail app. When it’s completely off the screen, it’s either off or being suspended in the background, waiting to be called up or being shut down if the system determines that more resources are needed.

Most of the time, you don’t need to worry about closing down them. Simply press the Win button or key to switch to Start screen or go to the Switch menu to switch to another running app. But when you do feel your computer started slowing down, you many manually close some of the apps down completely to free up some resources.

Here is a quick tutorial on how to properly close down a running app on Windows 8.1.

Using Keyboard

The old fashion Alt+F4 still the most efficient way when you have access to the keyboard. Once pressed, the current running app will just be terminated immediately.

Using Mouse

Hold the top edge of the app and drag down to the bottom edge, wait for a second or two until the app thumbnail flips, and then release. Not that this is a little bit different from what we normally do on Windows 8. You will have to wait after you throw the app to the bottom ground until it flips before releasing.

You can use your mouse to close the background app from the Switch Menu as well. Simply right click the app and click Close.

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Figure 1 – closing app from the app switch charm

Using Touch Screen

Swipe your finger from the top of the screen to the bottom, hold there for a second or 2 until its thumbnail flips, and then release. Again, this is different from what we normally do on Windows 8, which I still prefer. A simple swiping down without waiting is just more efficient in most of cases.

Using Task Manager

It’s not the most efficient but certainly most powerful way to shut down an app. It’s guaranteed that an app will be closed completely.

Press Alt+Shift+Esc to bring up the Task Manager, find and select the app, and click End Task (Figure 2).

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Figure 2 – Closing down an app from Task Manager

Bonus tip

In Windows 8.1, you can now restart a running Windows app without closing it first. Drag the app to the bottom, hold until the thumbnail flips, and drag it back to the middle of the screen, and then release. Once you release it, the app will automatically restarts.



  1. Thank you! This was driving me nuts. I never would have figured out that there is an extra delay when you drop the app at the bottom of the screen on my own.


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