Prior to Windows 10, the Win+TAB had a desktop composition (Aero) effect which presented a 3D perspective of all opened windows (allowing to focus/choose one).

In Windows 10, Win+TAB is very similar to ALT+TAB with the exception of two frustrating differences I noticed:

  1. Opens a 2D screen that forces me to choose one of the opened windows, i.e. unless I click one, I am getting nowhere.
  2. Pressing TAB multiple times while pressing Win does not focus on other windows.

Furthermore, with ALT+TAB, if you keep pressing ALT you can go around with the mouse and click any of the windows. This makes Win+TAB pointless for me, unless there are other differences I am not aware of...

Therefore my question is:

Is there any improvement of Win+TAB over ALT+TAB, or does Win+TAB provides additional functionality?

Bonus questions

Is there a way to reactivate the 3D perspective screen in Windows 10 (as in Windows 7) or, at least, make it behave entirely like ALT+TAB without installing 3rd-party-programs? I often press the Win key by mistake and I want to minimize the consequences of these mistakes...

  • Win + Tab was always "pointless"; It was basically just a 3D eye-candy version of Alt+Tab. Anyhow, by the end of your posted question, I'm confused about what you are actually asking/trying to accomplish. "reactivate desktop composition on Windows 10" desktop composition is always enabled in Windows 10, it just works differently than Vista/7; ie: you can't disable it any more. "make it behave entirely like ALT+TAB" Make what work like Alt+Tab? Win+Tab? If you want Alt+Tab functionality, why not just use Alt+Tab? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 4 '16 at 14:43
  • @Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 I rephrased my question, basically I end up mistakenly pressing the Win key too many times followed by ALT. I am not exactly sure, but in Win 7 I believe I was able to press further TABs to focus different windows... It was eye-candy as you said, but not completely useless for me :| – CPHPython Jul 4 '16 at 14:52
  • Both of those shortcuts work. I am not sure what your question is, so I am just going to vote, that way. – Ramhound Jul 4 '16 at 16:06
  • @Ramhound Alright, I rephrased the content again. I thought the title of the question was clear (I didn't write they didn't work). I hope it's clear enough now. Btw, Zev answered the main question already, i.e. it's an upgrade in functionality, since Win+TAB allows to change between multiple groups of windows as if they were in different desktops. – CPHPython Jul 4 '16 at 16:24
  • The 3D Aero Flip was removed. So the only way to get it back is with third-party software, since that portion of your question is to close to a software recommendation, I am just submitting this comment. – Ramhound Jul 4 '16 at 16:26

Win+TAB provides more functionality than ALT+TAB -- it's used to switch between virtual desktops.

Pressing Win+TAB opens the so-called Task View, which lets you see all the desktops you have open (row of icons at the bottom) and the windows in the current desktop (rest of the screen). You can press the Add new desktop button on the bottom right to add a new virtual desktop.

Once you've added a new desktop, you can switch to that desktop, and newly opened windows will be associated with that virtual desktop. Within the Task View, you can also switch to a specific window on the active desktop.

All this functionality is available with the mouse, but also with the keyboard:

  • Pressing TAB cycles between the desktop chooser (the row on the bottom of the screen) and the window chooser (the thumbnails of all the windows open on the current desktop).
  • Pressing the arrow keys moves the focus within the current chooser. If the focus is on the desktop chooser, it will move between desktops (and the New desktop button). If the focus is on the window chooser, it will move between the windows on the current desktop (like ALT+TAB).

Note: As of Windows 10 Redstone 4 Update (Spring Creators Update), Win+TAB also displays a timeline of tasks i.e. recent documents, web pages (on Edge), and any other program.


The virtual desktops functions will still be present in the timeline.

N.B. There are other keyboard shortcuts available for working with virtual desktops from outside the Task View; see here at the section titled Virtual desktops keyboard shortcuts.

  • Oh! It's the first time I noticed that plus on the corner... That makes sense, Win+TAB navigates through groups of windows (desktops)! And I just noticed as well that ALT+TAB navigates through the windows in one desktop only! This is better than I thought! Thanks! (btw I'd upvote, but I don't have the rep). – CPHPython Jul 4 '16 at 15:32
  • @CPHPython Welcome to SuperUser! I've updated my answer with how to use the keyboard in Task View. – Zev Spitz Jul 4 '16 at 23:07
  • So TAB is useful after all! Good to know about the arrow keys as well, thanks Zev! – CPHPython Jul 5 '16 at 10:37
  • you know what I would like? using h,j,k,l like arrow keys :) – th1rdey3 Dec 24 '20 at 5:06

I noticed that on the link in Zev's answer, it's currently undocumented that holding down Win + a number jumps right to that application, bypassing the alt+tab dialog. The numbers correspond to the order the apps are listed out on the taskbar.

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