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I'm a bit confused about OSX's rule for getting to view the desktop with CMD+H. It seems that it lets you hide everything but the final window. Is this correct? I find it a bit counter-intuitive if so. I know there's a function key shortcut but it's not quite the same (hovers everything around edge).

Is there any way to get rid of that final window? Thanks if so.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

CMD+H doesn't show the desktop, it hides the foreground application. And OS X won't let you hide the only open window when it's the last visible application in the space -- there always needs to be a foreground application to show a menu bar for.

If you want to get that last application's windows out of the way to reveal the desktop you can usually use CMD-M to minimize the application. Of course this presents problems getting the application windows back when you use CMD-TAB.

Another option you could try is to close all Finder windows and, with Finder as the active application, do Option-Cmd-H to "Hide Others". This will display just your desktop. Finder is okay with having no active windows on screen, but being the foreground application.

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I've never seen an application care about being hidden, do you have an example? – Daniel Beck Jun 14 '11 at 17:36
AFAIK this is OS X 10.6.x behaviour. Try this: Alt-Cmd-H so you've got one app Window open. Now check that apps main menu and you'll see Cmd-H is greyed out. And Cmd-H doesn't do anything. True for the ones I just tried this with: Chrome, Finder, iTerm2, TextMate. Edited my answer to clarify this. – Ian C. Jun 14 '11 at 17:44
Yeah, that's because you can't hide every application. This has nothing to do with the applications themselves, this is system behavior. – Daniel Beck Jun 14 '11 at 17:48
@Daniel edited. – Ian C. Jun 14 '11 at 17:51
It's rather obvious if you think about it: What application's menu bar would be shown when there's no visible application? That's also why Finder always needs to run. The whole UI starts behaving wacky once you kill Finder and have no other application with menubar running. – Daniel Beck Jun 14 '11 at 17:53

Press F11 or Cmd-[Fn-]F3 to invoke Exposé and move all windows aside. Change the former shortcut in System Preferences:

enter image description here

Possibly related topic, with possible explanation why the behavior is different from what you might expect coming from Windows.

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Put four fingers on the trackpad and swipe upwards.

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