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When I press Alt+Tab, then I get a window to switch between windows. With Ctrl+Alt+Tab, I get the same result. What is the difference between them?

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Keyboard shortcuts in Windows

  • Alt+Tab Switch between open apps.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Tab Use the arrow keys to switch between all open apps.

In other words:

  • Alt+Tab Switches between open apps immediately after releasing the Alt key.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Tab Opens a quasi-dialogue window where you use the arrow keys to walk over all open apps and you need to press Enter (or click a mouse button) to confirm your choice.
  • 19
    There's also shift+alt+tab which does the same thing as alt+tab but traverses the list in reverse – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jan 16 at 5:34
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    There's also Win + Tab which does a similar thing to CTRL + ALT + TAB, but on multiple monitors and lets you create virtual desktops and switch between them – Zikato Jan 16 at 8:30
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    Shift generally reverses navigation shortcuts. For example Ctrl+Tab switches to the next tab in a browser, Ctrl+Shift+Tab goes backwards. Tab moves to the next input, Shift+Tab to previous one etc. Some programs even use Ctrl+Shift+Z to redo (reverse undo which is Ctrl+Z). – gronostaj Jan 16 at 10:10
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    You can still use the arrows in the ALT+TAB dialog, too. Just leave ALT pressed. – ForNeVeR Jan 16 at 10:37
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    This is wrong—the arrow keys are not the difference. Both modes do that. The difference is that the picker stays open after you release the keys if you used Ctrl—with just Alt+Tab, releasing the keys selects the one you chose. With Ctrl+Alt+Tab, releasing the keys does nothing, so you can still select from the options presented (by arrows, by mouse, by Tab or Shift+Tab, perhaps others). – KRyan Jan 16 at 16:18
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Alt + Tab will let you select the application, and when you release the Alt key, you will be switched to the window you selected. With Ctrl + Alt + Tab, the selection screen will remain displayed, and you will have to press Enter to actually change the focus.

  • This is actually the most concise & correct answer. – UuDdLrLrSs Jan 16 at 20:31
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  1. Alt + Esc Switches to the next open window

  2. Alt + Shift + Esc Switches to the previous open window

  3. Alt + Tab Cycles through open windows, and switches to the window when the Alt key is released. This is known as Coolswitch. Pressing Esc cancels switching windows.

  4. Alt + Shift + Tab Cycles backwards through open windows, and
    switches to the window when the Alt key is released. This is known as Coolswitch. Pressing Esc cancels switching windows.
  5. Ctrl + Alt + Tab Vista: Starts Windows Coolswitch. Use Arrow keys, Tab, or Shift + Tab to navigate and Enter or Space to activate.
    Pressing Esc cancels switching windows.
  6. Winkey + T Toggle speech dictation mode. Vista: Cycles through
    Taskbar buttons, Press Enter or Space to activate a window. This is same as Winkey + Tab in older versions.
  7. Winkey + Tab Cycles through Taskbar buttons, Press Enter or Space to activate a window. Vista: Cycles through open windows using
    Windows Flip3D. Release keys to activate window. Pressing Esc
    cancels switching windows.
  8. Winkey + Ctrl + Tab Cycles through parts of the desktop and
    taskbar. Vista: Starts Windows Flip3D. Use Arrow keys, Tab, or Shift + Tab to navigate and Enter or Space to activate. Pressing Esc cancels switching windows.

From Shortcut Keys and Key Modifiers at https://onedrive.live.com/?id=E2F0CE17A268A4FA%21121&cid=E2F0CE17A268A4FA

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