I was showing a friend the neat effect of Win-Tab on Windows 7, but when he tried it, it didn't work! All it does is bring up the Start menu! What could be causing this?

  • Some time ago I installed vista on a laptop with a pretty puny video card - a 64MB ATI - and while aero worked and remained enabled, windows automatically disabled some of the more resource intensive effects, including flip3d. I recall a message being shown shortly after I installed the OS indicating that the graphics card was a "highly contentious resource", and some effects were being disabled as a result (or something to that effect). Unfortunately I do not know how to check whether or not this aero is in this degraded state. – Fopedush Dec 15 '09 at 17:48

Check that Desktop Composition (i.e. Aero) is enabled:

Control Panel -> System and Maintenance -> System
Advanced system settings
Advanced tab
Performance -> Settings

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Does he have Aero enabled?

Windows Flag+Tab does not work when Aero is disabled.

I think due to this, it does not work on Vista Home Basic or Windows 7 starter either.

  • If your tweaking custom settings, I found I had to apply new settings then toggle "desktop compostion off/on" to get WIN + TAB to work again. (Historical note, and tested on Vista Business SP2) – Scott R Oct 10 '20 at 7:10

Is your friend holding down Win when hitting Tab?

Even on my XP work machine, holding Win and pressing any other key doesn't pop up the Start menu; the start menu only pops up if you press Win and then release it without pressing anything else.


Mouse over something in the taskbar. If no image appears above it, either Aero is disabled or — as stated earlier — you have Vista Home Basic. You can confirm this by right-clicking on computer and selecting properties. Aero Glass isn't available in this version of Vista.

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