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Is there any way to add the empty desktop entry to the task switch list to switch to it with alt+tab in windows xp? Like in windows 7.

I know this is not (or at least not public/documented) part of Windows XP so I'm looking for workarounds (like ahk), enhancments/extensions, hooks, wrappers/emulators, hacks (like dll hacks or alternate dll versions from other ms products) or as last resort replacements.

  • This might not help you much, but win+d is a lot faster than alt tabbing around. – SBI Jun 18 '13 at 9:47
  • @SBI thanks! but my problem with win+d since 95 is that it is too easy to destroy the original window "inter-layout" with it. if you use alt+tab after win+d, then the old layout is lost and you have to restore the windows manually, one-by-one. Ideally, I would like the desktop be just another window when task-switching, but below everything (so desktop effects work and no funny always-on-top behaviour with fake desktops) – n611x007 Jun 18 '13 at 9:52
  • @naxa Its not possible to add this feature to Windows XP. – Ramhound Jun 18 '13 at 10:47
  • @naxa: Try the app I suggested on your other question. – Karan Jun 18 '13 at 18:04
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There is Desktop! by Skrommel, a freeware program which gives the desktop window (because that's what the desktop is, a maximized always-on-bottom folder window) its own taskbar button. Which can then of course be Alt-Tab'ed to.

  • thank you sir! it's even open source, they are AHK scripts. what's more, this coder's page is a gold mine! has 50+ great fun program – n611x007 Jun 19 '14 at 11:23
  • may I ask how did you find out that the desktop is a window? (any more revealing resource on this matter?) – n611x007 Jun 19 '14 at 11:24
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    I used to mess around with installing software like this a lot, also messed with alternative shells, that's where my information about the desktop window came from...just picked it up experiences. I'm not a programmer so I apologize that I cannot give a more precise answer! – loopernow Oct 19 '14 at 13:11
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You could minimize all open windows (but not dialogs) with Win+M and later restore the windows with Win+Shift+M.

You could also show the desktop with Win+D and later restore the windows with Win+D.

If you want to keep the window order when restoring you should try to not to use Alt+Tab after showing the desktop with keys like above.

  • +1 this actually works! I will wait a little in case someone comes up with an alt-tab solution. I actually recall I once knew this so alt+tab would have the advantage for me that I can remember it more easily, apparently. :) – n611x007 Jun 18 '13 at 12:07
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    -1 this actually doesn’t work. This minimises only minimisable windows (not including dialogs), while Win-D also brings the desktop to front. – kinokijuf Jun 18 '13 at 12:20
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    @kinokijuf It works, but not in all cases :). I edited my answer to give win+m and win+d and tell the difference. – Werner Henze Jun 18 '13 at 13:09
  • it seems that win+shift+m actually restores the layout even after win+d - latter minimizes dialogs, too. although if I do any task switch the dialog and its parent window comes up without me asking. – n611x007 Jun 18 '13 at 19:48
  • @Weerner WinD doesn’t minimise the dialogs, for they can’t be minimised. It minimises windows and brings the desktop to front, effectively hiding dialogs behind it. – kinokijuf Jun 19 '13 at 12:00

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