A Quick Way to Cycle Through Active Windows?

Dennis Faas's picture

Arlene M. asks:

" Dear Dennis,

I have Windows XP Pro. Sometimes, [the window I'm working with stays on top of the desktop], and sometimes [it disappears below other windows]. Do you know how I can have my active window show up on top so I don't have to [constantly click through other windows to get to it]? "

My Response:

If a window is active (IE: in use), it will remain on top of all other windows. Once another window is clicked or moved, it becomes the active window.

Some programs -- such as WinAMP (used to play .MP3 files) -- have a feature which can make its program window "always on top", regardless of whether or not it is the active window. The "always on top" feature is program specific, and does not apply to the default behavior of Explorer windows that Arlene is referring to.

So, is there an easy way to flip through all those windows?


Here are two shortcuts one can use to quickly flip through windows on your desktop, without using your mouse:

Method #1: ALT + ESC

Hold down the ALT key on your keyboard and then tap the ESC key (repeatedly, if necessary). This will cycle through all Windows on your desktop. When you find the window you want to use, let go of the ALT key.

Method #2: ALT + TAB

This method displays a list of all open windows on the desktop.

Press and hold the ALT key on your keyboard, then tap the TAB key; this will bring up a list of all windows on your desktop. If you tap the TAB key again, the cursor will select the next [icon] window in line. To stop cycling windows, release the ALT key.

More keyboard tips available online!

More great tips like the ones mentioned above can be found in my Keyboard Secrets downloadable video tutorial.


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