In Windows 7, the Alt+Tab menu shows a switcher with thumbnails of each application window, however some windows such as toolwindows (e.g. WS_EX_TOOLWINDOW ) are excluded.

Is it possible to enable all windows (including these toolwindows or other "hidden" windows) to be shown in the Alt+Tab switcher? Or is there another keycombination to switch between these windows in a current running application?

P.S. I've already tried both Alt+Tab, Alt+Tab (with Right Alt press), and WinKey+Tab - none show toolwindows such as those shown in VLC's "Adjustment and Effects".


WS_EX_TOOLWINDOW was originally intended to be a floating toolbar. Microsoft design it specifically so it does not show up in Alt-Tab.

But I digress. You can hit either Ctrl Tab, or F6 to cycle between child elements in an application.

  • This does not seem to work in all applications. For the example of VLC, Ctrl+Tab doesn't do anything.
    – Adam M-W
    Jul 2 '11 at 4:27
  • 1
    Yeah, depending on the application's internal message loops, it is easy to override the default Windows hotkeys. In order to override the application's own handling of the hotkeys, you gotta capture the keypresses and then write your own tool to switch between the two windows. You now have a glimpse at the beast known as Win32.
    – surfasb
    Jul 2 '11 at 20:25

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