On Windows Vista, I'm familiar with Windows Key Win + D to show the desktop but sometimes I just want to minimise two or three windows as they become active and not the whole lot.

What hotkey can I use to minimise only the currently active window?


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! It should work with all keyboard layouts and probably even all Windows localizations.

Alt+Space opens the general windows menu. You can open it manually by left-clicking with the mouse on the top left window corner.

The menu contains the options to maximize, minimize, close the window, etc. It also underlines the key you need to press to select the appropriate option ("miNimize").

The N is not a general "hotkey" but an access key – a keyboard shortcut to an entry in a GUI menu that works only if/after the menu opens. The menu items texts differ across localizations (languages), which is why a different letter might be underlined and serve as the access key.

  • 2
    This pauses alot of streaming audio sites (spacebar is culprit)
    – gregg
    Aug 21 '14 at 13:22
  • 1
    Does not work if current language/layout is not English. Oct 17 '14 at 14:50
  • 14
    Duh. Hit Alt+Space and see what the keyboard shortcut is in your language. Oct 17 '14 at 15:38
  • 4
    They changed the hotkeys per language? Disturbing...
    – Timo
    Jan 15 '15 at 9:07
  • 10
    @Timo It's hard to press the N key if your keyboard lacks an N key. Considering there is more than one keyboard layout in existence (and use), I would hope they do change hotkeys to fit the language or keyboard.
    – 8bittree
    Oct 28 '15 at 19:48

A small workaround is Alt + Esc – it doesn't minimize the active window but places it behind all other windows. The effect is similar however.

I know it's not precisely what the question asker wanted, but it's a built-in Windows one-step solution that works in a similar way.

  • 15
    I like your solution the most because it requires the least amount of keystrokes and can be done with only the left hand! If all your windows are maximized, this achieves almost the same effect.
    – goweon
    Dec 27 '16 at 4:35
  • One downside to this is not being able to Alt+Tab back to it. The ideal is likely to have a hotkey that brings the window just behind to the front.
    – Andrew
    Mar 11 '19 at 15:47
  • 7
    No it isn't. If you use Alt+Esc, you can get that window back with Alt+Tab as usual. At least for Windows 10 it is the case.
    – Velda
    Mar 11 '19 at 18:06
  • 1
    Thank you, now I can parry between Alt Tab and Alt Esc
    – User101
    Aug 22 '19 at 9:56
  • 3
    Wow. That is even better, because what I usually want is to get it out of the way and/or access the window behind it. And it even leaves the Alt+Tab switching order intact! You have made my day.
    – Timo
    Sep 9 '19 at 12:38

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.)

  • 5
    Note that you have to have Aero Snap enabled for this to work. Sep 16 '10 at 5:54
  • 2
    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
  • 34
    Doesn't work on any window that is maximised, or snapped to half a screen.
    – Coxy
    Nov 12 '12 at 5:18
  • 23
    @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.
    – user
    Apr 11 '14 at 15:16
  • 31
    @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

When maximized:

  • Windows key + press the down arrow twice.

When not maximized:

  • Windows key + press the down arrow once.
  • 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. Sep 20 '13 at 20:16
  • 17
    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
  • 1
    For my Win10 computer it takes four down arrows
    – J-Dizzle
    Jun 11 '17 at 14:20

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


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
  • 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
  • 2
    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

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.

  • This works well, but only if it's the only window open from that application. E.g. I'm trying to minimize a browser window and switch to the one behind it and they're both from the same browser and it instead brings up peek (and selecting a new window won't minimize the current one).
    – Thor84no
    Oct 29 '20 at 21:45

AutoHotKey script for Minimize:

; WINDOWS KEY + Alt + Down  --  Minimizies Active window
; instead of "Restore Down" for Win+Down
#!Down::WinMinimize, A


  • Format: [Key-Combination]::[Action]
  • #!Down - will execute when Windows-Key (#), Alt-Key (!), Down-Arrow-Key (down) are pressed together
  • WinMinimize, A will mimimize (WinMinimize) the active (A) window
  • This doesn't work when I use the alt key.
    – wizlog
    Jun 27 '16 at 15:36
  • Perfect, works for me!
    – Liga
    Feb 6 at 15:03

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

Func MinimizeWin()
    WinSetState("[ACTIVE]", "", @SW_MINIMIZE)

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