Is it possible to remove the entry for the desktop from Windows 7's Alt+Tab list? So far I have found a post telling me to add an entry to the registry:


However, this reverts the Alt+Tab menu back to the Windows XP style where you don't get window previews. I just want to remove the desktop entry from the list.

  • 2
    Before we get too far, mind giving us an explanation why you want to remove it? Perhaps there is a better way to accomplish the real task at hand. Feb 20, 2010 at 8:17
  • 6
    I'm not the OP, but I want it gone because its a feature that has never been useful, but often gets in the way. I say never been useful because if I wanted that functionality I'd reach for win+d, not hit alt tab until I select desktop. It gets in the way in that especially with how Google Hangouts Chrome Extension works, somehow 'desktop' ends up being the next app so I frequently end up cycling to it on accident.
    – user16315
    Jul 16, 2014 at 18:59
  • 2
    I'd like to remove it because it is totally unnecessary. Windows D switches to the desktop, or restores the view if at the desktop. It is simply clutter. There are some interesting solutions below but some simply remove the Desktop icon and leave everything else the same. Dec 22, 2014 at 19:38

4 Answers 4


Not a fix, a replacement.

This might do it: http://insentient.net/

or: http://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/windows-7vistaxp-alt-tab-replacement/


Option A - without any software or registry hack

  1. Hold down the left alt key Press and release the right alt key
  2. keeping the left alt key held down Then, still keeping the left alt
  3. key held down, tab-tab-tab away

Option B - with a tool from lifehacker

System tweaking utility Alt+Tab Tuner

Option C - Registry Hack

Create a DWORD Value called AltTabSettings in HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Explorer and set it to 1.

Gives the "old" XP styled Alt-Tab without desktop.


Found also a tip, love it: Windows Key + Tab for an over-the-top graphic preview.

  • That was very informative. The first tip is really useful!
    – abhijit
    Aug 7, 2013 at 6:41
  • 1
    The registry hack removes the desktop option but completely changes the look to not show the content of the windows - just the icon of the app. Dec 23, 2014 at 6:59
  • The download links from the Lifehacker article are now both dead. I found Alt+Tab Tuner at download.cnet.com/Alt-Tab-Tuner/3000-18487_4-75181434.html and at winaero.com/comment.php?comment.news.5 and at winaero.com/comment.php?comment.news.205 with Windows 8 support which vaguely looks like the original author's site.
    – tripleee
    Jan 14, 2015 at 5:58
  • 1
    To my disappointment, Alt+Tab Tuner does not seem to offer anything better than the registry hack as far as skipping the Desktop icon is concerned.
    – tripleee
    Jan 14, 2015 at 6:04
  • Option A doesn't seem to work with Windows 8.1. Though the Desktop does actually disappear from the alt-tab list, I now see extra hidden windows appear, such as the search pane.
    – DAB
    Feb 12, 2016 at 14:21

Is the reason you don't want Desktop in Alt+Tab, because of it interfering with cycling through windows you've minimized, and back?

IF SO: add these three commands to AutoHotKey, which allow you to still have Desktop entry in alt+tab, but with keyboard shortcuts, allows you to restore, in order, the windows that you minimize (in order):


Sleep, 0


Substitute the Win+S, Win+A and Win+X input keys for whatever you like. Full info, see my thread on the "solution" here.


DisplayFusion has an alt+tab replacement that works pretty much just like the windows 7 one, except has an option not to show the Desktop window.

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