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Please Microsoft! Give us a “Hide” button in the App Store

….and while your at it, how about one for the Windows Phone Store as well. Windows 8 has only been out two weeks and I already have 23 apps listed in my, “Apps not installed on this PC list”. While the Store is growing I am going to try and check out New Releases every day, searching for tidbits to share with you. So that means downloading trials and testing apps that I may not really want to keep around. At this rate I will probably have well over a 100 apps on this list of discarded apps before the end of the year. To make matters worse, my home desktop, travel notebook, office desktop and Surface RT are all linked to the same account. So they will all have their own list of unwanted/unneeded apps. You see, aside from the “try it and discard it” apps, each of my devices have specific needs. With the Surface I am looking for touch solutions. The office desktop; productivity helpers, the home desktop; windows phone news apps, Board Express, games, and whatever. So each devices really needs their own “filtered” list of available apps to download.

Above is what my list could look like with a Hide button, which would hopefully hide the apps from view, and not just gray them out. Let’s analyze these to see if they are deserving of the fabled Hide button.

HP Printer Control – This is a mystery. I never searched for this app, nor did I install it.  Just appeared on my desktop’s Start screen yesterday. It doesn’t appear to do anything but give you a link to order supplies. I do have an HP LaserJet on my home network btw. I deleted the app yesterday and it reappeared today. Hope this is not the future of the Microsoft Store, with marketing apps being pushed to me. I am not amused.

-All My Storage (Free Edition) – Well, after 3 minutes I wanted to buy this app, and did. So I will never, ever have a need for the Free Edition again. Hope I don’t have to look at it forever.

-My Explorer – Terrible interface. Try Touch File instead. But note that both of these are Explorer apps designed especially for touch devices. So I would probably never use either on a non-touch device.

-Piano 29 Key / Piano Time – I highlighted these two apps in orange instead of gray, because they are appropriate for my Surface touch device, but not really intended for non-touch screens. Btw, I was thinking of making a parody video with my desktop and Surface, but one app suffers from severe lag, and the other has reverb turned up to something like 150%. Maybe another time.

-8FilesInABox – This app was ok for giving me access to my Dropbox account. but All My Storage replaced it. So it will forever be up on my shelf, never to see a screen again.

Adera / Microsoft Mahjong / Taptiles – Asus took it upon themselves (or maybe it was Microsoft) to include these games in the fresh, new install of Windows 8 on my pre-installed desktop. Whatever happened to Solitaire? No thank you.

Dictionary / – Downloaded these apps (one a trial) in March and early October using the Win 8 Consumer Preview. Replaced with Advanced English Dictionary. Goodby.

Cookbook – Another app I installed back in March, when there were something like 63 apps available to download. Now we have a few more choices of things to read.

So there you have it; 12 of the 23 apps not installed on my desktop, will “never ever” be installed on my desktop. And 10 of those apps will never make it to any of my devices. Depending on how the other 11 apps on the list mature, they may also find their way to my virtual Hide list.

If Microsoft needs some help with this I could fly out to Redmond for a weekend. All we need are four buttons; Hide from current device, Hide from all devices, Show All, Hide hidden apps. Just checked and there is plenty of room on that bottom bar over to the right. Six Yes/No toggles in the database that stores this info would do it; 5 for each of the 5 devices and 1 for all. Deleting a device would reset hidden apps for that slot. Adding a new device would hide the “hide all apps” but show all the rest.

I know from a marketing point of view, pushing those discarded apps in front of you every day increases the chance of you installing them again, and maybe giving the developer some exposure or ad revenue. But come on, do we need to see trial apps or apps that are broken? Please Microsoft, do the right thing here.  And as noted at the top of this article, the Windows Phone Store is in need of the same functionality. With nearly 500 app downloads from Marketplace and less than 200 active, using any kind of Microsoft list to reinstall apps is like a bad joke. I resorted to a OneNote list long ago.

It makes you wonder when the good folks in Redmond develop these screens, if they ever theorize that a user might actually install more than 20 or 30 apps. Or, maybe find a new app to replace an older one. Or maybe test out a few trials. Na, that would make too much sense.


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