Windows 7: bring back old Alt+Tab behavior, turn off Aero Peek
Posted by mikeg on December 4, 2009
Update 2011-10-26: I started using VistaSwitcher and I am very happy with it. There are a number of options that you can play with – i prefer “Window” style preview vs default Desktop style with Item Height of 22 and Number of Items 30. Definitely try Alt+` shortcut which cycles windows of current application only
There are a lot of things I like about Window 7, but the new Aero Peek enhancement to Alt+Tab made this shortcut a lot less productive.
You can read the background here and even watch a video here, but essentially it comes down to the following: As you Alt+Tab, if you pause on any of the items, Alt+Tab switcher window hides and now you are seeing Aero Peek preview of selected window. Along with a number of people I found this confusing – while Alt+Tab was a straight forward and productive experience on XP, on Windows 7 I was having major issues finding the window I wanted on the first try
The easiest way to deal with this is to disable Aero Peek:
1) Go to System Properties (right click “Computer” in an explorer window and choose properties)
2) Click “Advanced System Settings” in the left panel
3) You should be on the Advanced Tab, in the performance section, click “Settings…”
4) Uncheck “Enable Aero Peek”
5) While here consider what other items you can live without – every item you uncheck will lead to better performance. Consider choosing “adjust for best performance” if running on netbook or slower pc – that will remove all the fanciness.
This page goes into detail about options that you should consider unchecking
Additionally Windows tries to be smart in how it orders items: supposedly with less frequently used apps showing up towards the bottom, but that either doesn’t work or not intuitive enough. Using the following setting you can completely bring back Win XP behavior. The downside is that it looks exactly like Win XP
To restore the XP Alt-Tab functionality simply, lauch regedit, add a DWORD named
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer and set its value to