Basically, see the title of this question.

By Aero Peek, I am in this case referring to the 'hover' effect you get when you move to the rightbottom of the taskbar area, the 'Show Desktop' button effect while hanging over it (NOT clicking it). The same effect can be manipulated by the WIN+SPACE key combination, which would make me think it might be more useful given the freedom my mouse has in wandering around. But yet, all it allows me to do is look that I can tell, so what is the point of it?

I get to see all my icons, so I would expect I could go click-click-click of only wanting those windows minimized/maximized, or actually allowing access to my desktop icons till I let go of the WIN key in the key combination.

It seems like a totally pointless feature to me at this point.

  • It really is more an expansion of the old tasbar which only told you the title of a window in, possibly, a stack. One feature that I find nice about it is that once you WIN+SPACE key to the area of focus, you can alt tab directly to them and see the window completely (basically applying a filter to alt+tab). And, since the taskbar is now static for things you have pinned to it you can always remember the numerical offset of your fav area. It's a personal preference I guess. Regardless, disable it and you can go to the old ways (with stack) – Kevin Peno Dec 16 '09 at 0:46
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    I am afraid you kind of lost me. I can just Alt+Tab and get this filter thing, so where does WIN+SPACE come into it? If I understand Molly (see answer below) correctly, my only purpose for WIN+SPACE is to ogle any gadgets, since interacting with the stuff I am peeking is completely impossible. – Stigma Dec 16 '09 at 3:20

Peek gives you the power of X-ray vision, so you can peer past all your open windows straight to the Windows 7 desktop. Simply point to the right edge of the taskbar—and watch open windows instantly turn transparent, revealing all your hidden icons and gadgets.

So far so good, and here is where it gets 'useful'

To quickly reveal a buried window, point to its taskbar thumbnail. Now only that window shows on the desktop.

You can follow this tutorial in case you want to disable "Aero Peek"

Off Topic: if you want to pep up Aero Peek a little bit, have a look at T3Desk, a slick, 3D window manager with Aero Peek support.

Hover a specific thumbnail, and Aero Peek kicks in to display the program's shrunken 3D view.

alt text

Kudos to Lee @ downloadsquad.com for this find.

T3Desk is freeware.

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    Stigma asked why peek button annoyingly exists in taskbar, not how to use it... – Saxtus Dec 16 '09 at 0:29
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    "Stigma asked why peek button annoyingly exists in taskbar" i don't know where you're reading this question in Stigma's post, but the button exists, of course, because keyboard shortcuts are not everyone's cup of tea, like "why is there a Start button/orb, when i can press the Windows key to to open the start menu?" what i read is: "What is the point of Aero Peek?" and there is obviously a little bit more to Aero Peek than Stigma seems to have discovered so far which makes Aero Peek indeed more useful than good old 'Show Desktop'. – Molly7244 Dec 16 '09 at 0:50
  • To clarify: my curiousity lies with the WIN+SPACE functionality, not Alt+Tab, thumbnail hovering, the show desktop click action, etc. Just WIN+SPACE. And if I understand you correctly, it is basically only useful to look at things like your desktop and gadgets. Since I don't use gadgets (I haven't found any useful ones worth keeping yet), it is useless to me? The Show Desktop feature pisses me off since each time I want an icon, it will pop up a new window, thus making it impossible to undo and get my old windows restored. – Stigma Dec 16 '09 at 3:16
  • no, the usefulness is the option to bring up a particular window on the desktop ... and as i said, if you have no use for Aero Peek turn it off. p.s.: please mind your language, thank you. – Molly7244 Dec 16 '09 at 3:30
  • Also perhaps relevant to customize these matters is "video in picture" videoinpicture.wikidot.com . It treats taskbar thumbnails as windows, allowing for a great degree of playing around. Not for everyone, but worth a look. – outsideblasts Dec 16 '09 at 3:35

The "Show Desktop" (bottom right of screen) part of Aero Peek is used to see gadgets on the desktop without messing with your window layout.

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  • This is the answer to the question. Under normal circumstances (and no gadgets) Aero Peek is pointless, unless you're just checking your desktop for new icons. – Brendan Feb 19 '15 at 16:09

My guess is that Aero Peek was added for consistency. If you are able to peek at a window by hovering on the window's thumbnail, you should be also able to do it with the desktop, which, after all, is a window by itself (it does show with the other windows when you press Win-Tab)

And, if you have gadgets, the Aero Peek is definitely useful, just as useful as when you hover on your Twitter app thumbnail to peek at your timeline.

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It (mouse over effect) likely exists for the same reason why the vast majority of windows applications have a Icon > Menu > Restore / Move / Size / Minimize / Maximize. If you can have a shotcut key, you're likely to have a button/menu combination associated with it. I never understood the reasoning for having this menu and include a menu option for Move when the title bar is right next to it... unless you consider automation tools that tangentially link into the UI.

There are tools that don't make UI calls, but they can find a button in a window, and press it. There are also accessibility tools that can only interact via these controls. For every control that has a keyboard-only method, there usually exists a mouse-only method. I'll admit there are a lot of shortcuts that don't make sense, but for completeness I can understand why they exist.

As for the peek itself, I find it useful to find covered gadgets.

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    The Move option is very useful, actually. When you (dis)connect monitors often, being able to do Alt+Space, M, arrow-key, move mouse, and voila, you've got your window back out of the recesses of invisibility and unreachability. – Stigma Dec 16 '09 at 3:11

Short-cuts are used mainly by power users. Typical users are not usually aware they exist, and it can be hard to teach people who are not good with computers why something happens if they don't see the virtual extension of their hand (the mouse pointer) actually go ahead and change something.

Also, if you are working with the mouse a lot, say web browsing, and you want to quickly check an RSS feed, the weather, a webcam, any kind of real-time gadget you might have on the desktop, it is a really easy spot to hit: slide all the way down and to the right.

Windows has this kind of placement for a lot of their key UI pieces. The close button is all the way to the top right, and the start button is all the way to the bottom left. Actually you will even notice on dual monitor setups that there is a bit of a hitch which traps your mouse if you dont move too fast past one of these points (actually only tested on the start button)

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