How do you browse the Windows 8 Store for apps if you don’t have Windows 8? You can’t. Well, at least, that’s how Microsoft wants to keep it.
While each app on the Windows 8 Store has a dedicated web page that can be launched from the Windows Store, the company has yet to offer a way that allows users to browse the selections in the Windows Store in the web browser. The Windows Store is accessible only through the Store app in Windows 8, and even that is limited to the apps for the particular country of each Windows 8 user.
A third-party developer has now created a website that allows anyone, even users not using Windows 8, to browse the Store through a web browser. The MetroStore Scanner website pulls data from Windows Store and presents it in a format which is close to the original Windows Store. The website lets you view apps by category, filter it by country and sort it by newest or changed apps first. It also lets you search apps by name. Unfortunately, the search feature has limited use as you can only search apps by exact name. For example, a simple search for “facebook” fails to list any apps for the social network.
MetroStore Scanner, however, provides ways to view store apps that’s not possible on the Windows Store app on Windows 8, like listing the most recent apps added to the store by date and category, and browsing for apps that have been recently updated. The website also shows the total number of apps available at the moment, which is 25,539 apps at the time of this writing.
You still need Windows 8 to be able to install the apps, but having a web version of the Windows Store is really handy for those who want to see what’s available.