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I'm familiar with windows-d to show desktop but sometimes I just want to minimise two or three windows as they become active and not the whole lot.

Running Vista if that makes a difference.

Cheers.

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up vote 70 down vote accepted

I've been using the shortcut Alt+Space followed by N for years. Works on any Windows version, all the way back to Windows 3.0!

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1  
This pauses alot of streaming audio sites (spacebar is culprit) – gregg Aug 21 '14 at 13:22
    
Does not work if current language/layout is not English. – Dima Stefantsov Oct 17 '14 at 14:50
    
But one can make hotkey to switch to English and then execute alt+space-N. – Dima Stefantsov Oct 17 '14 at 14:58
5  
Duh. Hit Alt+Space and see what the keyboard shortcut is in your language. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Oct 17 '14 at 15:38
1  
They changed the hotkeys per language? Disturbing... – Timo Jan 15 '15 at 9:07

In Windows 7 and later you can minimize the currently active window with: Win+Down.

(This may be an Aero feature that works with Vista as well.)

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5  
Note that you have to have Aero Snap enabled for this to work. – Sasha Chedygov Sep 16 '10 at 5:54
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Do you mean this: aerosnap.de/index_eng.htm ? Even with this on vista windows-down arrow only seems to work with about half the windows. alt-space n is a lot more reliable. – Ionise Sep 17 '10 at 1:11
3  
Doesn't work on any window that is maximised, or snapped to half a screen. – Coxy Nov 12 '12 at 5:18
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@Coxy It's a 2 step process if it's maximized or snapped. First stroke restores it to original form, second stroke minimizes it. Not very comfortable. – Error Apr 11 '14 at 15:16
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@buffer Not only is it a 2-step process, but your window has also lost its maximized state when you go back to it. :( – Timo Jan 15 '15 at 9:06

Windows key + press the down arrow twice.

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1  
What's the difference between pressing once and twice? Pressing this once was already mentioned… – slhck Sep 20 '13 at 20:11
    
@slhck I don't think there is a difference. Pressing once minimizes the window that currently has focus, and moves the focus to another window. Pressing again simply minimizes that window, etc. etc. – John Bensin Sep 20 '13 at 20:16
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Actually Ricky is (with condition) right. Pressing Win+Down when a window is maximized will not minimize it, but only restore it down. You have to press Win+Down once more in order to minimize it. – Otiel Dec 11 '13 at 12:53

according to microsoft support, there isn't one, but it is easily scripted in autoit.

EDIT: Below is a very very basic sample of how to accomplish a hotkey to minimize the focused window, fully commented.

#include <WinApi.au3> ;include winAPI library

HotKeySet("!M",'_MinimizeActive') ;sets hotkey to Alt+Shift+m to trigger function

While 1 ;loop to keep alive

WEnd

Func _MinimizeActive()
    Local $v_Wnd, $w_Wnd ;declare variables
    $v_Wnd = _WinAPI_GetFocus() ;get focused window
    $w_Wnd = WinGetHandle($v_Wnd) ;get handle of focused window
    WinSetState($w_Wnd,"",@SW_MINIMIZE) ;minimize focused window
EndFunc
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Thanks for the quick answer, the link the Microsoft hotkeys, and what looks like a free solution! – Ionise Sep 16 '10 at 4:35
    
just added a basic template for what you're looking for, coded in autoit. – MaQleod Sep 16 '10 at 5:09
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Why a downvote? It is a viable solution and also can be customized to do a lot more than just the focused window. In a lot of ways, this can be far superior to the accepted answer, depending on preferences of OP (such as selecting the topmost 3 windows and isolate out certain ones that he/she never wants minimized and minimize the rest). – MaQleod Nov 1 '12 at 19:44

Pressing Alt + Space + N should minimize the active window.

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If what you want is an easy way to open and minimize a window you use often, just pin it to the task bar and move it to one of the first positions. Then you can use Windows+1, 2, 3 etc. to quickly toggle the window.

No more scrolling through loads of windows with ´Alt´+´Tab´ to maximize it again either.

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AutoHotKey script for Minimize:

;=============================================================================;
; WINDOWS KEY + Alt + Down  --  Minimizies Active window
;=============================================================================;
; instead of "Restore Down" for Win+Down
#!Down::WinMinimize, A
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1  
I don't think you need the return because it's a single-line hotkey – DLeh Jun 25 at 2:42
    
This doesn't work when I use the alt key. – wizlog Jun 27 at 15:36

Because windows doesn't have a shortcut key for it, you may use a 3rd party solution, like autoit to do that.

Below is a simple script for it. This first to set a hotkey (with HotKeySet()), than minimize current window (with WinSetState()).

#include <WinApi.au3>

HotKeySet("!M",'MinimizeWin') ;Alt+Shift+m

While 1    
WEnd

Func MinimizeWin()
    WinSetState (WinGetTitle(""), "", @SW_MINIMIZE)
EndFunc
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