How To Access All Programs In Windows 8

One of our readers sent this question to us via email asking ‘Where is All Programs in Windows 8’? Although we’ll try our best to respond to all email questions, we still can’t get to all of them in time. If you have other questions, please feel free to post them under one of our articles that’s similar to the question.

To answer the question, let’s go back and look at previous version of Windows. Beginning with Windows XP or maybe earlier, the Start button and All Programs folder were always there. Not in Windows 8.  Windows 8 now has a new Start screen called Metro that’s completely different from what we’re used to.

The All Programs folder that was in previous versions of Windows has been replaced with All Apps. It’s changed to All Apps, and can be accessed by following the below steps.

1) Press Ctrl + Tab keys on your keyboard to show the Windows 8 version of All Programs. This shows all the programs that are currently installed on your machine.

2) Press the Windows Key, then right-click on a black area of the start screen to show All Apps




3) Press the Windows Key + X and select Search




There’s you go. That’s all your programs in Windows 8






  1. Mark - May 1, 2013 @ 2:33 PM

    What is this Tap key of which you speak?

  2. Rasheedah - May 6, 2013 @ 10:23 AM

    Tap? Please explain that, thanks.

  3. Kirill - May 29, 2013 @ 6:41 PM

    In fact it looks like on Ctrl+Tab (works in metro interface only) not all the apps appears. For example I have firefox installed but it does not depicted in this list. But it can be found with search (only by full name – “firef” request founds nothing).

  4. inverse137 - June 19, 2013 @ 4:22 PM

    OMG, this f’ing version of windows sucks!!!!!

    15 years of supporting microsoft and I cant even find the All Programs link. WTF were they thinking?

    Has microsoft ever gotten 2 successive versions of windows right? EVER?

  5. Simon Eng - July 10, 2013 @ 8:04 AM

    I’ve used every version of Windows since 1.0. Through the good and the bad (remember Vista?), I thought Microsoft had gotten it exactly right with 2008/Win7. Now, everytime I have to touch a Windows 8 machine I find something else to hate. Metro is ok on phones and tablets, but it’s a total catastrophe in office environments and a cluster for administrators.

  6. Brian Probert - July 15, 2013 @ 12:12 PM

    Those the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.

  7. Jan - July 18, 2013 @ 6:48 PM

    I have at least one program that I use regularly that does not show up in all apps. I put a link to it on the Start page and on the desktop, but it does not show up in all apps despite being on the Start page. The instructions above are therefore not correct.

  8. Pachi - July 24, 2013 @ 1:59 AM

    Windows 8 is a desperate move by Microsoft to grab a slice of the tablet market.
    All specialized forums and current trends point to the end of the desktop and possibly laptop concept to be replaced by the tablet in conjunction with the cloud for storage.
    Although current privacy and security concerns are slowing down this movement it seems inevitable.
    I could not hate Windows 8 anymore than I hated Windows Vista and we may soon see that in the same way Windows 7 came in to save the day for Microsoft another tablet Windows 7 equivalent will soon emerge like the phoenix.

  9. myriam - August 31, 2013 @ 2:31 AM

    Windows 8 is total crap!!!!!!!! Windows XP the best. Why the H change a good thing Microsoft?
    Have spent 1 hour trying to find All Programs and still not found. Cannot scan anything from my printer. What I just clicked 1 icon in XP now takes several clicks, which is very time consuming in my new job.

    • alexa - December 19, 2014 @ 3:40 AM

      I say bring back good old window 98se. That was the only windows worth a damn. With each new version of windows we are being more deeply insulted. They are dumping it down, and taking away any control we may have to fix our own problems. Just look at the newer MS OFFICE versions. Pictures instead of words, and they display the simplest functions only- the ones they feel you should be using. ARGHHHHH!

  10. myriam - August 31, 2013 @ 2:39 AM

    And the worst thing is I tried to install Windows 7 on this Windows 8 laptop and now get a black screen that keeps restarting over and over to safe mode screen and new computer unusable. No one either at Microsoft or Toshiba will help, giving me the run around. Bottom line spend more money to have it repaired by a pro.

  11. raghavendra - December 3, 2013 @ 4:11 PM

    I cannot get program folder in Windows 8 The Ctrl + Tab does not work in my case

  12. Darryl - December 9, 2013 @ 6:11 PM

    Windows 8 really SUCKs in a BIG way…. WTF was Microsoft thinking…. this is the worst Windows OS I have ever seen,,, besides Vista…. This really is crap!!!! Mr. Gates your engineers really screwed this one up.

  13. ganesh - December 28, 2013 @ 1:45 PM


    ctrl+tab worked fine for me.

    Thank you

  14. Carol McDonald - January 17, 2014 @ 10:08 PM

    What I hate most about Windows 8 is that it reminds me of my husband’s iphone. All these app icons and a worthless start button. I guess that’s why when I wanted a new desktop I went for Windows 7. Won’t be going for another new computer until MS goes back to the user-friendly start menu. When I want to get somewhere, I don’t like going the long way. Just give me what I want – not what YOU want. I’m the one paying for it.

  15. Hugo - January 31, 2014 @ 6:55 AM

    Try this link: it explains how to place the old “All Programs” within the task bar. I used it and now I have no problems finding my programs.

  16. Pramod - March 18, 2014 @ 10:48 AM

    I found a easy way of accessing All Programs… Finally!!
    * Created a Desktop shortcut to “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs”

    • Meg - February 1, 2015 @ 10:04 AM

      You rule!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  17. Been There - April 25, 2014 @ 9:42 PM

  18. Been There - April 25, 2014 @ 9:44 PM

    Specifically I meant the Win+F to go to the Search on Charm… To open Charm, Win+C (case insensitive, rather totally insensitive, as you would expect Windoze 8 to be)!

  19. RiverFred - May 5, 2014 @ 10:13 AM

    Software engineers earn high salaries, to justify their
    salaries they make changes to existing systems at the expense of the consumer. Did it ever occur to these engineers to test the changes with laypersons? Start-All Programs was so easy to use, now no one can figure it out, thanks a lot for the change.

    • Uncle Geo - March 25, 2015 @ 12:17 PM

      And you’d think those engineers would actually use a Windows computer and need to get to their own programs. Are they not also frustrated by what they’ve done? I find engineers, while smart and useful, are almost always the wrong people to decide features and UI.

  20. chris - May 23, 2014 @ 8:33 AM

    i was trying to get into the programs in windows 8 i installed microsoft 2010 office and its in the computer but i dont see it in the desktop. how do i create a shortcut to the desktop for it? its installed on the computer and in order to find it i have to go in the search and type it in then click on it but how do i get a shortcut on desktop …..thanks

  21. chris - May 23, 2014 @ 8:40 AM

    this windows 8 does really suk and im an IT person and still having trouble with this crap……

  22. Ray - August 11, 2014 @ 8:03 PM

    Windows 8 Metro is a joke. a bad joke. So confusing and UN-intuitive. I would rather stick with linux CLI at least it is consistent.

  23. bloke - August 23, 2014 @ 4:50 AM

    At last. I’ve found a place with like minded thinking folk – Except for the few who don’t like Vista. But I guess it depends on what you are used to and find easiest and most satisfying. For me Vista is best because I know it and can use it without having to think about it and multi-tasking is a breeze and a pleasure. And I do appreciate the XP folk who prefer that.
    But now, some young persons who believe that their new ideas are going to change the way us users think have totally ruined many peoples experiences.

    I don’t mean to cause offense here but if it happens then it happens … Windows 8 is gay. That, in my opinion, is the roots of the problem.
    It wasn’t created by practical thinking people, it was created by silly fairies who like to look at sillyness rather than practical and seriousness. Like self-centered, egotistical, narcissistic poofters.

    Windows 8 is the fail of the decade and who ever is responsible for and responsible for causing so much headaches and dissatisfaction with their ridiculously silly stupid ideas should be held responsible and made to suffer for the silly dumb brains. And they should be forced to remove their own heads from their own rectums so they may be able to look around and see how real people think and how ridiculous they are.

    Windows 8 is gay. I am not gay nor do I want to be.

  24. kweega - October 10, 2014 @ 6:48 PM

    Doesn’t work. Why don’t you try it before posting incorrect instructions

  25. Richard Gavle - October 24, 2014 @ 1:02 PM

    Been using MS since 98,

    8.1 is WORSE than Millennium, or Vista.

    Charms…..Really, who the hell is charmed by this craptastic OS.

    Tried installing classic shell and although it fixed the problems it caused lockups and may very well be forwarding information to the places unknown, despite that if I can not find another solution I will reinstall Classic Shell anyway as I would MUCH rather have a computer that locks up occasionally than one that is unusable.

    Also I made the mistake of buying the preinstalled version of office 2013 only to find out after paying for a year that it is a cloud based clusterfvk version of office that is as completely unfriendly as 8.1….NEVER again will I buy another new MS product, I will wait a year and find out if its a trap or not as this latest conglomeration of crap they are marketing.

    Why the hell would MS not make a dual boot option or some other way to enable a interface that users have loved for 10+ years?

  26. Milind - November 10, 2014 @ 10:40 PM


  27. Toddo in Towson - December 2, 2014 @ 6:18 AM

    Many years ago, electronic kit manufacturer Heathkit would make up a prototype of the kits they were thinking of selling, hand them out to the factory workers on the floor to assemble, and then ask for their inputs on how to make the product better, imagine how good the products would be today if the f**king engineers and software designers got their heads out of their arse because they THINK they know better, and do the same thing. The engineers and management where I work have the same mentality where the guys who fix things (like me) are scum of the earth and we don’t know anything…..

  28. Toddo in Towson - December 2, 2014 @ 6:24 AM

    PS, yes, I too hate W8 (hate isn’t a strong enough word in this case), I have a W7 shell installed on the current W8 computer-but I still miss that darn START button!, and I never had the problems with Vista that everyone is always complaining about, so it’s OK in my book, but my fav still has to be XP :-)

  29. John - January 11, 2015 @ 7:58 PM

    This article is full of crap. I have two computers. I have an Asus laptop and an HP desk top both run on windows 8. In both cases, pressing the control key and the tab key does nothing but rotate tabs in windows explorer. The manager of the geek squad at best buy informs me that there is no such folder and that programs and apps are not available to users, only programmers. I am still furious that Microsoft prohibit windows 7 on new computers and won’t let anyone register and therefore activate windows 7 ops any more. As soon as I can find someone where I live who can install it I am getting a different op system installed. Microsoft can suck the big one as far as I’m concerned.

  30. Brian - March 5, 2015 @ 7:32 PM

    Just installed a new program that isn’t listed in the program apps. Whatever program apps are, I want to shit can it into outer space. How do I search for the list of programs that are actually installed on my computer?

  31. Tibor - May 2, 2015 @ 8:19 AM

    Hi, the Ctrl+Tab only works in the Metro view .. It brings up a list of apps .. So it does work.. But the list you get is still incoplete.. so it is basically useless.

    What could help is the list of installed programs in Control Panel > Programs > Programs and features. But this is just wrong :/

    I mean what were they thinking?

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