Relax… your apps are still there… (in Windows 8 Start screen)

September 6, 2012 Chris Spanougakis 1 comment

Let’s start with some hot certification news: If you think that you should prepare for the new certifications on Windows Server 2012, we have some new courses available. The first one is the 20410A: Installing & Configuring Windows Server 2012 and the second is the 20417A: Upgrading your skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012, please check more details and dates here. UPDATE: There is a new Windows 8 course available, it’s the
20687A and you can check our course schedule here.

If you’re one of these guys (you know, as soon as a new operating system is available you REALLY NEED to download and install it), you should have already installed Windows 8 RTM and use it. Well, there are some changes in Windows 8 in respect to Windows 7, and probably the absence of the Start orb will make you worry:

Where are my programs and applications?

Don’t panic… Everything is still there, but you need to know where to find it. Ok, so what happens when you install a new application? If the application asks you to create a desktop icon, it’s easy: go to the traditional desktop and the shortcut is there:


But you still can find your installed applications by using the new desktop (you know, Microsoft used to call it Metro, but now this name should not be used anymore). So if you go to the new desktop, you can find these new square-formatted icons that correspond to your installed applications:


But what happens when you search for an application that is not there, like the Windows Calculator or Windows Paint? Easily enough, make sure that you see the new Windows 8 desktop and just start typing the name of the application. As soon as you start typing, you could see the matching results, just like this:


Or maybe you need the Paint application:


This is probably the easiest way to find your applications. By the way, if you really need an application to be present on the new desktop, you could pin this application there. So just right-click on the application icon and you get all the possible actions at the bottom of your screen. You need to just click on the “Pin to Start” action:


However, there are some advanced actions that I discovered. For example, where is the StartUp folder in my Start menu (but wait… there is no Start menu anymore), so where should I put shortcuts for applications that I want to start as my computer starts?

Actually there is a StartUp folder, but you have to go a little bit deeper. Assuming that you see the new  Start desktop, just start typing

%appdata% and then click on Roaming:


A new file explorer windows will open and you just have to navigate to this path:

C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

You could right-click on the Startup folder and select “Pin to Start” if you want to see it always available on the new Start screen. Keep in mind that you can adjust your startup programs through the new Task Manager, so it’s up to you to decide which way to do things.

I decided that since I deal with Windows Server 2012 servers all the time, I should install the Remote Server Admin Tools for Windows 8. You can download the RSAT from here: but if you try to install them, you’ll get an error, something like this:

Windows Update Standalone Installer

Installer encountered an error: 0x80004005

Unspecified error

Well, this is probably because these tools were created for the Release Preview version of Windows 8, so what we can do? Just extract the msu file that you’ve downloaded with a tool like 7-zip. As soon as you see the contents of the folder, navigate to this folder by using an Admin Command Prompt and type:

pkgmgr /ip /

Just leave the command prompt window open, you’ll not see any messages, but check with the Task Manager to see if pkgmgr is still running. If it’s not there, you can go to Control Panel, Programs and Features and click on Turn Windows features on or off. The tools are already installed and present on the new Start screen:



And of course do not forget the Windows Flag + X keyboard shortcut!!

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