Windows 8’s new gesture for closing programs works pretty well when you’re using a Surface in your hands as a pure tablet, but it feels a bit awkward when you have the Surface’s kickstand and a Touch/Type Cover deployed. Something about the combination of angle and distance in that configuration makes dragging from top to bottom of the screen feel awkward.
Though Windows 8 apps don’t look like traditional Windows programs, many of Windows’ traditional keyboard shortcuts still work in them. In Windows, Alt + F4 is the keyboard shortcut to quit the active application and that shortcut also closes apps running in the new UI.
At first glance, the Surface’s Touch Cover doesn’t appear to have traditional function keys. However, the top row doubles as function keys if you hold down the “Fn” key at the lower right. As you might expect, the fourth key from the left (marked as a play/pause key) is F4’s secret identity.
So, holding both Alt and Fn and then pressing play/pause works to close the active application without dealing with the vertical dragging gesture.