Q: Why are live tiles on my Windows 8.1 Start Screen displaying a black "x" or cross in a white circle in the bottom right of the tile?

A: Windows 8.1 allows the Start Screen to be synchronized between different machines. As part of this synchronization, "Modern" applications that aren't installed on a machine are automatically installed.

Many readers have sent me pictures of their Start Screen, which shows an X on the bottom corner of certain tiles (see screen shot below)--and they wonder what it means.

The X on the live tile represents a licensing issue for the machine or possibly a problem with the Windows Store connection. To resolve, try the following:

  1. Launch the Windows Store.
  2. Open Settings, select App updates.
  3. Click Sync licenses under the App licenses section.

If this doesn't work, try reinstalling the applications that are displaying the X.