October 28, 2012, 9:02 PM — Windows 8 is all about the apps, so it's important to find the best ones for your unique needs. Unfortunately, you need to sift through a lot of crap apps in the process, especially if you're not using a Windows 8 tablet; desktop and laptop PC users dont need to worry about the lions share of Windows 8 apps, because they're usually single-purpose tools designed to replicate the functionality of a full PC on a mobile device. Since you have access to a full Windows desktop you dont need just another way to look at photos or surf the Webyou need a way to do those things better.
With that in mind, weve taken the liberty of sharing some of our favorite Windows 8 apps in order to help you get up to speed as quickly as possible so that you can take advantage of all that Windows 8 can offer. Microsoft does a pretty decent job of covering your basic computing needs with apps like Messaging, Mail, SkyDrive and Skype, but there are a few excellent third-party apps you should download post-haste.
Problem is, the Windows Store is still in its infancy and thus lacks a lot of free apps for well-known services such as Twitter and Facebook; but even though Microsofts digital distribution platform cant yet match the variety or breadth of apps available in the Apple and Google ecosystems, it still has more than enough Windows 8 apps to make your head spin. We sifted through dozens and dozens of the most popular Windows 8 apps available at launch, then tested a few dozen more and compiled this list of our favorites. While these apps may not satisfy all your computing needs (we just couldn't find a great Twitter management app, for example) they should help you get the most from your Windows 8 PC.
The Netflix app for Windows 8 is free to download and easy to use, with an attractive tile-based interface that's intuitive to navigate on a touchscreen. Streaming movies through the app also seems smoother than streaming them through your browser, which is reason enough to launch Netflix right from your Start screen.
Everyone needs a good instant messaging client, and although the Windows 8 Messaging app is functional enough, as of publication it supports only the Windows Messenger and Facebook Chat services. That may change in the future, but if you want to chat with all your friends right now across disparate networks (including AIM, Facebook, GChat, ICQ, and Jabber) Shape's IM+ app has you covered. Its free, it supports a wide variety of chat networks, and it lets you enable push notifications so that you can stay on top of your social life no matter what app youre using.