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Windows and other GUI systems give you the ability to cascade your windows -- arranging them in an overlapping fashion, with each title bar visible.

What's the purpose of this? Why would you cascade windows?

This functionality has been included in GUI systems for decades. There must be some use for it, but I've never figured out what it is.

Can you do something useful with the cascaded windows? The only possibility I can think of is using the cascaded windows to locate a particular window.

  • It's handy for me when I'm dealing with external HDD enclosures - say 5 drives open (C, W, X, Y, Z) and maybe my computer - sometimes it's nice to use the cascade feature then snap the windows I need to the left and right to deal with them at the same time. – cutrightjm Aug 2 '13 at 0:41
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In my opinion, there is really no definitive need for the option of cascading windows anymore. However, it's been in the Windows Operating System (and others) for many versions and it used to be very important. Before Windows 95 was released Windows Operating System didn't have a bar on the bottom showing your open applications. The ability to cascade program windows was a great way to see what was open, close program windows easily or find the window you were looking for.

This was also build in before "Alt + Tab" would cycle through open windows, it was used a lot to quickly find and select a window or program you had open.

Today the need to cascade windows has pretty much been replaced by better tools such as "Alt + Tab" and various docks and even the Windows taskbar.

  • I didn't know (or remember) that we haven't always had the taskbar or Alt-tab to switch windows. – user81430 Aug 6 '13 at 23:09
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Prior to Windows 95, there was no taskbar or start bar see here. To see everything you had open, you would cascade the windows so that you could read all of the titles.

Normally, if you had too many windows open and they weren't sized correctly, it could become overwhelming, and you'd need to cascade or tile the windows.

Since windows 95, the Window's Manager has been a stacking manager or "tiled manager". There hasn't been any reason to remove the cascade functionality because it can be used for switching windows.

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