I used to use Windows back in the XP days and there used to be a button on the Task Bar that would temporarily hide open windows and show the Desktop:

Icon from Windows XP to show desktop on Task Bar

Recently I started using Windows again and I am a bit lost!

Is there a similar button on Windows 10 that performs Show Desktop?

  • 1
    Oddly, I didn't know that feature existed on Windows XP, I first recall knowing it existed on Windows 7.
    – Davidw
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 0:29
  • That part of the taskbar was not enabled by default, which was a bad decision in my opinion
    – golimar
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 6:42

10 Answers 10


Starting in Windows 7, Microsoft made "Show Desktop" less discoverable but faster to use (once you know about it). Just throw your mouse to the bottom-right of your screen and click. The tiny rectangle to the right of the Clock is the Show Desktop button now.

enter image description here

Why is this faster? Fitts' Law.

(You can also use Win + D on the keyboard.)

  • 23
    Fitts' Law only applies where your main monitor is right-most. Where you have a secondary monitor to the right of your main the area is really small, therefore slower to use. Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 11:09
  • 19
    @AshBurlaczenko, Windows 10 doesn't let your mouse move between screens if it is too close to the upper or lower edge of the screen. Not sure how it behaves when you have a 2x2 arrangement of screens, though. It also stops your mouse if you're dragging a window over the edge of the screen, though only if you don't move your mouse too quickly.
    – Nolonar
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 11:41
  • 5
    Not everyone has their taskbar at the bottom.
    – n0rd
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 18:25
  • 3
    @n0rd Right, and I confirmed I have a horizontal bar at the bottom of my vertical task bar. That line does act like the Windows+D functionality to "Show Desktop".
    – TOOGAM
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 13:47
  • 2
    @Nolonar I use two identically sized monitors and experience no delay moving from one screen to another at the bottom (where my task bar is), only the top. Is there some setting that's supposed to control this behavior?
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 18:40

You can just hit the Windows key+D and it will do the trick :)

  • As long as not used by another application Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 12:46
  • 6
    @ThomasWeller, you are probably thinking of "Ctrl" or "Alt". The Windows key is almost exclusively used by Windows and no other program/application. Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 21:18
  • @computercarguy: 2 years ago, when I last implemented stuff like that, all combinations except Win+L could be assign to another program. Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 5:30
  • @ThomasWeller isn't that a choice you as a user have to make, though, not something the program itself can assign out from under Windows? So a user would have a reasonable expectation that, if they haven't changed it, the WinKey default should work. (I've certainly never seen another app that took control of a WinKey combination like that.) Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 12:28
  • 1
    @GalacticCowboy: certainly that's the case. I see enough people do that and forget about it. I tell them "Hit Win+P, so you can choose the monitor" but they get Paint started instead. Or "Press Win+E to get to Explorer", but they tell me Excel has started. It's not that the user must be active. An application can grab any hotkey it wants. Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 13:44

The QuickLaunch “Show Desktop” link is one of the features I loved about Windows 98, and after they got rid of it by default in more recent versions of Windows I always made a point of manually re-creating it. Yes, now you can click in the bottom-right corner (as stated by Alan H); but that’s not obvious, and it’s not how people of my generation learned to show the desktop!

You can create the shortcut yourself. The link is:

%windir%\explorer.exe shell:::{3080F90D-D7AD-11D9-BD98-0000947B0257}

Personally I prefer to combine this with a re-creation of QuickLaunch, so the functionality and the look is identical to the classic “Show Desktop” feature.


Other answers are still valid, but the same icon from Windows XP still exists in 10.

It is the quicklaunch bar that is hidden.

You can reinstate it: unlock taskbar, right-click on it, toolbars, new toolbar, find %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet explorer\Quick launch, OK then fit it wherever you want and disable its title and icon names.

  • 1
    Just in case someone doesn't find it: C:\Users\xxxxxx\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
    – GChuf
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 7:31
  • 1
    Easiest way to get to the Quick Launch folder is to type: shell:Quick Launch in the Explorer Address bar or a Run dialog. Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 3:01

If you are on a laptop, you can use 3 fingers to do a swipe down motion on the touchpad and that should work.

  • 5
    If your particular computer is set up to recognize that gesture and do Show Desktop in return. Which is possible but far from sure.
    – Gábor
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 20:54
  • 3
    I believe that this feature is built into Windows 10 for laptops supporting multi-touch.
    – emilh
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 16:40
  • 1
    This is laptop model and touchpad driver specific, not a general answer. The touchpad needs to be able to read multitouch gestures and a suitable driver needs to be installed for the gesture to work/ Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 14:59

Not a button, but you can right-click on the Taskbar & select "Show the desktop"

If there are no open windows (ie once you have the desktop showing) the option changes to "Show open windows"


As mentioned in other answers, win+D will toggle minimizing and minimizing open windows. No one mentioned that win+M will minimize all without the toggle option.

  • And Win+, will allow peek at desktop. On a recent build on Windows hold thwe Win key to show a list of shortcuts.
    – Grhm
    Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 14:35

There are multiple ways to get to the desktop now, as mentioned earlier the right side of the task bar button and also right click on the start menu (Win + X) and select Desktop


Show the desktop by one of the methods previously offered. Then right click on it and select New then Shortcut. In the "Location of the item field" copy this exactly.

%windir%\explorer.exe shell:::{3080F90D-D7AD-11D9-BD98-0000947B0257}

click Next . Note the only blank is between .exe and shell Give it a suitable name and click Finish.

The icon may not be what you want so right click and select Properties then Change Icon. Make your choices. The icons offered will be from Explorer. You can browse to C:\windows\system32\imageres.dll for more icons. When finished you can drag it to the task bar or right click it and select Pin to taskbar.


I used to use Windows back in the XP days and there used to be a button on the Task Bar that would temporarily hide open windows and show the Desktop:

You can navigate to this link, it will tell you what to do: https://www.askvg.com/how-to-get-the-good-old-quick-launch-toolbar-back-in-windows-7/#http://www.askvg.com/how-to-get-the-goo

Note: I use a slightly different method (it is what the URL used to describe), instead of the step where it says to type in '%appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch' (which shows the newer desktop icon), I create a file in Notepad, Code to place in the file "Show Desktop.scf" (including the Quotes): [Shell] Command=2 IconFile=explorer.exe,3 [Taskbar] Command=ToggleDesktop

Then when creating a New Toolbar, select the folder that has "Show Desktop.scf". The rest of the steps are what the URL above says. This method shows the older 98 style desktop icon.


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