Can you use Windows 8 WinRT API from .NET Desktop applications?

Over the course of time I received a number of comments on my blog in this area. Many questions were asked like “Can you use WinRT from Desktop applications?”, “Can you use WinRT from .NET applications?”, etc..

Well, the answer is YES. It is possible to use WinRT from Desktop applications. WinRT APIs may be tied to Metro style apps, Desktop apps or potentially available to both. The documentation will list which environments (Desktop, Metro style or both) a given API works in.

Note: Custom WinRT components are only supported in Metro style applications. They are not supported in Desktop applications.

For ex, WinRT has an API for Accelerometer. The Accelerometer class represents an accelerometer sensor which returns G-force values with respect to the x, y, and z axes.

Namespace: Windows.Devices.Sensors namespace
Class: Accelerometer

If we open the API documentation at, see the section Applies to: Metro style apps | desktop apps. Which means this class works in Metro Apps as well as desktop apps.


Figure 1: MSDN documentation showing WinRT API and it’s applies to section.


2 thoughts on “Can you use Windows 8 WinRT API from .NET Desktop applications?

  1. Kushagra

    Hi! Thanks for your osom articles. In this article you have mentioned about the ‘applies to’ section which exists no more in the docs. Does that mean the WinRT API are not available in desktop mode apps anymore? Is is possible to make HTML5 desktop app using Accelerometer (for Intel )?

    1. kishore1021 Post author

      Thanks. Ok, when I wrote the article, MSDN help documentation was still in beta. Now they have the actual release MSDN help version, which is different from the preview version.

      Now, to find out if a particular WinRT API can be used from .NET Desktop applications, go to the bottom of the MSDN page and see Requirements section and .observe the Minimum supported client heading. It lists down whether the WInRT API can be used in Windows Store apps and desktop apps or not.

      If you take the same Accelerometer MSDN help page, Here is the information from Requirements section.


      Minimum supported client
      Windows 8 [Windows Store apps, desktop apps]

      Minimum supported server
      Windows Server 2012 [Windows Store apps, desktop apps]

      Minimum supported phone
      Windows Phone 8


      Windows.Devices.SensorsWindows::Devices::Sensors [C++]



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