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Is it possible to run Windows Store apps in a window on the desktop in Windows 8?

For example, I think the Finance app is awesome, I just don't want it to occupy dedicated space on my screen (either taking the full screen, or snapped to the side). It would be great if I could run it in a window on my desktop.

Is this possible? I think developers need to view/run/build their apps in a desktop window in order to work productively. Is this the case?

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4 Answers

First install Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8, then you can use the Windows Simulator app to run any Metro/Modern/Microsoft-style UI app in a window:

This is how developers test their apps. You can also use pinch and rotate gestures in Windows Simulator.

Windows Simulator connects to your PC through RDP, so, all the apps including Desktop apps that are currently installed on your PC can be used in the Windows Simulator.

You can open Windows Simulator from here if you have 64-bit/x64 Windows installed:

 %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Windows Simulator\11.0\Microsoft.Windows.Simulator.exe

and from here if you have 32-bit/x86 Windows installed:

 %ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Windows Simulator\11.0\Microsoft.Windows.Simulator.exe
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Does this allow you to run multiple Metro apps in different windows? Also does this simply access your currently installed Apps or do you need to install apps within the simulator? –  Ivo Flipse Oct 30 '12 at 15:20
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No. The Windows Simulator connects to your PC through RDP. So, all the apps (Windows Store/Desktop) that are currently installed on your PC can be used in the Windows Simulator. –  Zuck Nov 1 '12 at 5:18
    
I voted this up as it's one of the few solutions that does indeed work. It's not like a true Metro app running in a Window though. Being RDP, it shrinks the window like it would shrink an image, when you make the Window smaller so you have the same resolution in a smaller window so everything is teeny tiny and/or distorted. –  b.pell Jan 24 '13 at 20:17
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Is this possible? I'm imagining developers needing to view/run/build their apps in a desktop window in order to work productively. Is this the case?

If the application has support for the snapped view, you can snap it to the side and run the desktop app as usual. Else there is no way.

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No, this isn't possible. The Metro apps are run in a sort of sandboxed way and cannot be run in your desktop. Paul Thurrott has two pieces on this where he states that Microsoft chose to not allow this because

Metro-style apps and the desktop needed to be kept separate in order to retain Metro’s built-in security functionality.

EDIT: more extensive info on this design decision can be found in Paul's article 'Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Why Metro and the Desktop Don't Mix'. In short it comes down to

  • focus on mobile devices
  • battery life
  • security (the sandbox model)
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I like how "focus on mobile devices" takes importance when talking about a desktop OS. ;P –  Shaamaan Oct 30 '12 at 10:23
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You're wrong. Check my answer. –  Zuck Oct 30 '12 at 10:59
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That's more of a workaround than a solution to me. Plus, installing something as big as VS2012 (even Express) only for running Metro apps seems like overkill. Again, in my opinion. But you are right that this works and it is how devs test their apps. –  Peter Oct 30 '12 at 11:23
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There is a 3rd party tool called ModernMix which allows you to run Windows Store Apps in a Window on the Desktop:

enter image description here

with Windows 8 and 8.1.

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