I primarily use Windows XP and tend to have lots of windows open, so of course I routinely have to resort to Alt+Tab. It works just fine, but there are a couple features found in Vista/7 and/or OS X that I would really like:

  • Clicking on a window icon should switch to that window (or highlight it, so that when you let go of Tab it would switch to it)
  • Pressing Q or some other key should close the highlighted window, as in OS X

I do not need any other fancy things such as window previews/screenshots, 3D effects and so on that just slow things down.

Are there any decent Alt+Tab replacements that provide the above?

I am aware of a few, such as the Alt-Tab replacement PowerToy, but most of them do not provide a way to close the window, and are slower due to window previews. They are also usually ugly - not that the default XP switcher is a lovely sight, but it looks decently enough and at least it's quick and functional. Ideally I would want something that looks/works exactly like it, but with the above two features.

If no such replacement exists, I might consider writing it myself.

2 Answers 2


I think TaskSwitchXP is about as close as you're going to get (see below). (Note: When I originally posted this, I didn't realize VistaSwitcher worked on XP. You might want to get that instead.) It allows you to click on a task in the list to switch to it. You can also close a task via the task's context menu or with the F4 or X key.

However, it also shows a window preview, which you say you don't care for, but it doesn't slow things down enough to get in the way. Also, it doesn't look exactly like XP's native app switcher.

If someone is going to go to the trouble of creating a replacement app switcher, they are probably going to add a lot of bells and whistles while they're at it, so I doubt you'll find exactly what you asked for. You might have to roll you own.

alt text

  • Thanks! It does actually allow you to close windows, with X or F4. You can also disable window previews. It's not perfect, but it it's better than any others I've tried. Dec 8, 2009 at 14:37
  • Though you should edit the post that it reflects VistaSwitcher, the link you gave yourself mentions it: TaskSwitchXP Is Outdated. Get A Better Alt-Tab Here VistaSwitcher is a reincarnation of TaskSwitchXP, the key new features include: - Outstanding UI, semi-transparent backgrounds and antialiased fonts - Live window and desktop previews under Windows Vista and 7
    – Ivo Flipse
    Dec 8, 2009 at 15:36
  • @Ivo: I didn't realize VistaSwitcher worked on XP. Updated answer.
    – raven
    Dec 8, 2009 at 18:16

I use SmartTab and like it. Very simple and clean though it does not have the option to kill a window from the switch window. Gives you 0-9 then A-Z hot keys to switch immediately to the right window, or you can just click with the mouse. Also display the window text to distiguish multiple open windows with the same icon. Minimally configurable via command-line parameters.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.