I'm trying to see if Windows has a built-in shortcut for viewing all the open windows on your box using a keyboard.

Something like this (Ubuntu example):

displaying all windows

We have a Microsoft Touch Mouse that allows for this feature, but it's getting frustrating accidental clicking it and having it impede our work by bringing up all open windows.

Can someone please help? We're trying to get more efficient and I've spent the last 2 days (4-5 hours each day) looking for a solution. JOKE

  • [Win] + [Tab] lets you take a peak at all windows. Not sure if that's what you're looking for. – Dennis May 25 '12 at 15:28
  • Yeah, it doesn't seem to be working for me. Nothing happens with [Win] + [Tab]. – Minja May 25 '12 at 15:32
  • 2
    Then it has been disabled. Check this out: Win-Tab not working – Dennis May 25 '12 at 15:35
  • If the mouse is starting to impede your work either disable the button on the mouse OR get a new mouse. – Ramhound May 25 '12 at 16:29

There are two built-in ways and several third party tools1 that let you take a peak at all open windows. All make use of some Aero features that have to be enabled.2

  • Win + Tab shows all windows stacked and skewed.

  • Alt + Tab shows all windows side by side.

    The thumbnails are pretty small, but you can adjust the size with the following registry keys:

        MaxThumbSizePx    = DWORD : XXX (decimal)
        MinThumbSizePcent = DWORD : 100 (decimal)

    If XXX is roughly one eighth of the screen width, the thumbnails will use all available screen width.3

1 Switcher, for example, lets you rearrange the thumbnails at will.

2 Instructions to enable the necessary Aero features:

  1. Press Win + R.

  2. Run control system.

  3. Go to Advanced system settings -> Performance -> Settings...

  4. Check Enable desktop composition and Use visual styles on windows and buttons.


  5. Click OK.

3 Result:


  • That was perfect! He's got it working now...the question is, why does my boss see it in a pancaked, 3-dimensional "list" rather than a grid view. He's too busy today to take a screen shot, but it basically looks like this: oi46.tinypic.com/34pdehk.jpg – Minja May 25 '12 at 19:22
  • Your image displays the result of pressing [Win] + [Tab]. You get the grid view displayed in my answer by pressing [Alt] + [Tab]. – Dennis May 25 '12 at 19:24
  • He gets the box with the icons displaying, but not the content inside them (as do I). Windows + Tab works for him, it doesn't work for me as I don't have those checkboxes available for my copy (Enterprise edition). It's not important for me as much as him though, so no biggie. Sorry for the unclear explanation, this is what we get with Alt+Tab: oi46.tinypic.com/348t4yu.jpg – Minja May 25 '12 at 19:27
  • 1
    Another Aero functionality is missing: Enable Use visual styles on windows and buttons in the dialogue of step 4. – Dennis May 25 '12 at 19:34

alt+tab shows all open windows (in thumbnail-size previews), and is currently the only way that Windows natively supports this functionality.

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