When you use a lot of applications or you have a lot of documents open on your computer, a function such as fast switching between open tasks is just a real lifeline. Fast switching has a variation in terms of shortcuts which include “Alt+Tab”, “Win+Tab”, “Win+D” combinations. Win+D combination will hide all open tasks and show the Desktop which is useful when you want to open a document from the desktop.
Must Know: Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcut List
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What does Alt+Tab do?
Amongst all the shortcuts, it’s pretty obvious that the most used shortcut is “Alt+Tab”. This shortcut will allow you to quickly switch between the current window and the window which was opened last. If you use the combination subsequently, you can switch back and forth between recent windows. There is one more way to utilize this shortcut which is to keep the “Alt” key pressed and keep tapping the “Tab” key until the window you require is highlighted. Then you can simply let go of the “tab” key to switch the window.
Alt Tab not working?
Various bugs which pop up every now and then in Windows operating system. So, possible inoperativeness of “Alt+Tab” combination cannot be disregarded. In this article, we will consider the problem in which the Alt+Tab combination stops functioning. So what are the signs of this problem? When you press Alt+Tab, Windows does not show you anything at all or switches to open applications or sometimes documents for a couple of seconds, and then they disappear. This problem can occur on absolutely any version of the Windows operating system starting from Windows XP and ending on the most recent, Windows 10.
Reasons behind Alt+Tab not working
Well, you figured out the signs-they are quite obvious, but what about the reasons behind this problem? There are many reasons. For example, problems with the keyboard, incorrect system settings, conflicts between some files or, again, settings, a conflict between the hardware components of the PC and so on.
How to Fix the Alt Tab not Working
There are many tried and tested solutions for this problem. All the solutions will be mentioned in this article. All you need to do is follow the steps precisely and have a little patience. We can guarantee you that your problem will be resolved before you reach the end of this article.
1. Keyboard Test
As mentioned above, if you know about the Alt+Tab shortcut, you probably have been using it for a long time now. Consecutive operation of certain keys (Also called as Fatigue stress) can easily damage the key in case of a membrane keyboard. If you own a mechanical keyboard, the chances of a damaged key are quite low, but you should consider this case for membrane keyboards.
To test the condition of the keyboard, Try disconnecting it from the computer for about thirty seconds, and then plug it back in. Sometimes, some keys on the keyboard can mysteriously stop functioning correctly or give out weird output. If you have completed the reconnection, but the problem still hangs on you as a load, then you can also try reconnecting other devices to the computer that use the USB connection interface. Some USB devices like a gamepad may be in conflict with your keyboard which might be causing the problem in your case.
Now, if reconnection did not solve the problem with Alt+Tab, then think about this: have you spilled anything on your keyboard lately? You may not be able to use Alt+ Tab due to the fact that one of the keys failed by contamination. Clean the keyboard if something like this happened. This might seem a little unnecessary, but this has proven useful for many cases.
2. Reinstalling the keyboard driver
As we all know, the keyboard is an input device for a computer. Accordingly, this device must have a special driver with which it will be successfully disposed of in the system. Perhaps something happened with the driver for your keyboard, it came into conflict with other drivers on the computer, or it just needs to be updated.
To fix the reinstall the keyboard driver, simply follow these steps:
- Press Win+R to open the Run window. Type devmgmt.msc and press Enter to open the “Device Manager”.
- You will see a list with sections of equipment. Find the “Keyboards” section and expand it.
- Find your keyboard in the list and right-click on it.
- Select “Remove Device”. Disconnect the keyboard from your computer, and then plug it back in again.
- While still in the Device Manager, click on “Action” in the menu bar of the window and select “Scan for Hardware changes”
After the last action, your operating system automatically reinstalls the drivers for the keyboard. Once this process is complete, try pressing the Alt+Tab key combination on the keyboard.
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3. Restart Windows Explorer
The ALT + TAB key combination is obviously a function of Windows Explorer, and therefore restarting it is quite an important step in trying to solve the problem of not being able to quickly switch between running tasks.
To restart Windows Explorer, follow these steps:
- Right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager.
- Go to the Processes tab.
- Here, you can see all the currently running processes of your Windows system.
- Now, you need to find the process named as “Windows Explorar.exe”.
- As the processes are arranged in the order of their resource consumption. you will quickly find the service on the upper side of the list. If you cannot find the service, keep tapping W for ease of searching.
- Once you find the service, press right-click and then click on the “End Process” option.
- After performing this action, the interface of your OS should disappear for a short time, after which it will appear again.
- This process will mean Windows Explorer has been restarted. Now, try switching between tasks using the Alt+Tab combination to check whether it works or not.
4. Close sidebar.exe process
If you have been a user of Windows 7 (or even Windows Vista), then you are familiar with such a thing as Gadgets. These are small programs that provide users with special functionality and often use the overlay in their work. However, sometimes gadgets can cause various problems for the system, for example, the loss of functionality of the ALT + TAB combination. The sidebar is once of such gadgets which can mess with Alt+Tab functionality.
To fix this problem, Go back to the Task Manager and go to the “Processes” tab. Find sidebar.exe in the list of running processes. Select it by clicking on the right mouse button and click on the “End Process” button.
5. Enable the Aero Peek feature
The Peek feature has been introduced in Windows since the days of Windows 7. You may not know about it, but you have probably come across it many times. There is a small area on the Taskbar, and if you hover your mouse over it, all the windows that are currently open will become transparent.
It is because of Peek that there may be a problem with fast switching using Alt+Tab. Enabling this feature may resolve the issue. Let’s take an example on Windows 10.
- Click on the Windows keyboard + X and select “System”.
- Next, go down. Now scroll down until you find the option called “System info”. Clicking this link will take you to the classic Windows application where you can find system information.
- Now, Click on the link “Advanced system settings” tab.
- Find the section “Performance” in this tab and go to the parameters by clicking on the “settings” button.
- Now go to the “Visual Effects” tab. Find the “Enable Peek” feature in the list of visual effects. Check it and save the changes made in your system by clicking Apply.
Note: you can now use the function of minimizing all windows at once by clicking on the small section in the right extreme part of the Taskbar. Simply you will need to directly click on it for minimize, and not hover for transparency. After enabling Peek, try switching between tasks using Alt+Tab again. Perhaps it was precisely Peek.
6. Remove alternative keyboards
This method is probably suitable only for users who use third-party on-screen keyboards in their system. Sometimes, in real-life situations, the functionality of an on-screen keyboard can be useful, for example, for users with vision problems.
However, third-party on-screen keyboards can cause some problems for the system, for example, a non-working Alt+Tab shortcut. Try removing third-party on-screen keyboards, and then test the status of the problem.
Also, note that the system already has a built-in fairly functional on-screen keyboard, which should satisfy the needs of many users. If you removed the third-party software and it actually caused a problem with Alt+Tab, but you do not want to use the system on-screen keyboard, you can try installing software from another developer too.