Sunday, September 30, 2012

Windows 7 Shake, Show Desktop, Minimize All

     Sometimes when working with multiple programs it is beneficial to be able to quickly get back to the desktop.  There are several ways to do this.  In this post we will examine the various ways to accomplish this and the different uses of each.


     1.  Lets start with Windows Shake.  This is a feature built into Windows 7 that allows you to shake the window you want to keep active but minimize everything behind it.  This could be useful if you want to keep one window open but pull up something else from your desktop.  Basically it is as simple as left click and holding on the top bar of the window you wish to keep active and then shaking it back and forth.  This will minimize all of the open windows except for the one that was shook.  The process can be repeated to restore all of the minimized windows back onto the screen.  Please see the tutorial video below for a demonstration of how to use this feature.

Windows 7: Shake Video

Show Desktop

     2.  Windows 7 also has a button by the clock that lets you either peek at the desktop (by hovering the mouse pointer over it) or minimize all open programs and fully display the desktop by left clicking on the button.  The minimize all open programs can be reversed or undone simply by left clicking on the show desktop button a second time.  The peek feature could be handy if you are simply verifying a file is on the desktop but you don't want to minimize what you are currently working on.  The tutorial video below demonstrates how to use this feature.

Windows 7: Show Desktop Button Video

Minimize All

     3.  Another way to minimize all open applications is simply a keyboard shortcut.  Windows has employed these shortcuts for a long time and they are probably the fastest way to accomplish a task.  Some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts employ the Windows key.  The Windows key is typically located on the left side of the keyboard between the Ctrl key and the Alt key.  Some keyboards may also have another Windows key on the right side of the keyboard in the same general area.  The Windows key is the one that has the Microsoft Windows logo on it.  The keyboard shortcut for minimizing all open programs is Windows key + M.  This simply minimizes them down to the task bar.  It does not close any programs.  The minimize all is handy for those times when you need start a new program and want everything else that you were using to wait on the task bar until you are ready to use them again.

     Please leave a comment with your questions or suggestions.

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