How to identify junk apps

This troubleware tip was written on 16 May 2018.

Recently I've been digging through the Microsoft Store in Windows to see if it's worth using. Unfortunately there's a lot of overpriced paid apps in it. It's hard to know if an app is worth the money, but there are a few telltale signs if they aren't:

  1. The app isn't widely used. It doesn't have many ratings or installs. This can indicate that people are avoiding the app, or that there's a bigger and better app by another developer overshadowing it.

  2. You haven't heard about the app or its developers. They haven't been advertised or mentioned to you. The more time or research you do when looking for an app to accomplish a task, the more you'll see certain names pop up. For instance, if I wanted to edit documents on my computer I'd see names like 'Microsoft Office' or 'OpenOffice/LibreOffice'. Apps or developers that don't have this recognition can be a sign of poor quality or lack of knowledge.

  3. The app developer isn't known for making this type of app. Developers tend to specialize their skills. If you see something like a photo editor put out by Microsoft, it's likely to not be as good as something like Adobe Photoshop.

  4. The app costs a lot but does something generic. Apps that cost money for generic tasks without having advanced features are likely overpriced. For instance, for the generic task of viewing a PDF you do it for free using Foxit Reader. But for more advanced features such as creating and signing PDFs you'd want to buy Adobe Acrobat.

Using this criteria, you can identify problematic apps. From what I've seen in the Microsoft Store there's a lot of these types of applications. See if you can identify them!

If you have any questions about this tip or suggestions for new ones, please contact me.

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