Microsoft has silently added a handy new user interface to the Windows Store in Windows 8.1. The Windows Store in Windows 8.1 updates differently than does the other parts of Windows. This is because most of the Windows Store’s user interface is delivered from Microsoft servers. In laymen’s term, the UI for the Windows Store comes from the internet; it is not loaded from your computer’s hard drive. This makes it possible for Microsoft to update the Store without having to go through Windows Update. Basically, you don’t have to update Windows to get the new updates and features to the Windows Store!
So, what is new in the latest Windows Store UI update? It seems that Microsoft has added a more discoverable way to navigate to various categories and subcategories. Before the update, you had to know to right-click on the Windows Store to see the available categories. Also, there was no easy way to get to the subcategories. It was possible, but it was convoluted. Now, it is very easy.
With the latest update, the Windows Store app categories are placed right in the home page, after the spotlight apps. That way, users can see and navigate to any categories they choose. Within a category’s main page, the subcategories are also displayed. For instance, in the screenshot below, you can see the various Games subcategories shown in the Games category page.
Again, because the update happened server side, you do not need to update Windows to get these features. They will appear automatically. If it doesn’t, it means that the rollout is not fully complete. For me, not all devices had this feature. It slowly rolled out to my various devices.
- Blog Post: A brief tour of the updated Windows Store (blogs.windows.com)