Fix: Alt Tab Not Working on Windows 7,8 or 10

When you are using more applications or more documents at the same time, fast switching between them is really important. Fast switching includes using combination keyboard keys Alt + Tab, Windows Logo + Tab, Task View or something else. In this article, we will discuss Alt + Tab and problems why this combination keys stopped to work. What is the symptom of this issue? When you press Alt + Tab, Windows is not showing anything or it shows opened applications or documents for one or two seconds and then disappears.

This issue occurs on different operating systems, from Windows XP to Windows 10. So, what is the reason of this issue? There are different reasons including a problem with the keyboard, wrong system settings, the conflict between files, conflict with devices and others.

We created 18 methods which will help you to solve this issue. So, let’s start.

Method 1: Turn off your machine and unplug all cables

If you are using a computer, we are recommending you turn off your computer and monitor, unplug all peripheral devices and cables, wait few minutes and then plug all cables back, turn on your machine and monitor. If you are using a notebook, you should do the same steps, but an additional step will include removing the battery. Few users solved the problem on their Dell machines by unplugging all peripheral devices, cables, and batteries.

Method 2: Test your keyboard

Did you spill water or other liquid on your keyboard? If yes, you will need to replace your keyboard with the new one. The faulty keyboard keys can not be fixed by doing any system changes. You will need to test your keyboard. Open a text document (Microsoft Word, WordPad, Notepad or other) and test all keys by pressing them one by one. Also, we are recommending you to test your computer keyboard on another machine or to plug another keyboard to your current computer or notebook. If another keyboard is working properly on your machine, you will need to purchase a new keyboard. Before you decide to purchase a new keyboard, please check is your brand name computer or notebook under warranty or not. If yes, the vendor will replace your keyboard for free. You will need to access the vendor web site and check warranty status.

Method 3: Change Internet browser

Are you connecting to the remote machine through web applications? If not, you should read the next method. If yes, stay here and check what should you do. Let’s imagine, you are connected to another machine using LogMeIn and you can not switch between applications on the remote machine. You should change the Internet browser. If you are using Windows 10, you can use Edge, the faster Internet browser for Windows 10. In case you are using the previous operating systems, from Windows XP to Windows 8.1, you can download Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

 Method 4: Restart Windows Explorer or File Explorer

In this method, we will restart Windows Explorer and File Explorer. We will show you how to do it using operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 10.

For Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7

  1. Press CTRL + Alt + Del to open Task Manager
  2. Open the Processes tab and navigate to Windows Explorer
  3. Right-click on Windows Explorer and choose End Process
  4. Choose the Application tab and then click New Task…
  5. Type explorer and press Enter to activate Windows Explorer
  6. Close Task Manager
  7. Open more application or documents and test Alt + Tab

For Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

  1. Press CTRL + Alt + Del to open Task Manager
  2. Open the Processes tab and navigate to File Explorer
  3. Right-click on File Explorer and choose Restart
  4. Close File Explorer
  5. Open more application or documents and test Alt + Tab

Method 5: Close sidebar.exe process

Sometimes, the system’s or application’s processes can make a problem with your machine. To solve the issue you will need to end the process through Task Manager. In this method, you will need to end the process named sidebar.exe using Windows 7. What is the purpose of the sidebar.exe process? The Windows Sidebar ships in Windows Vista and Windows 7 and it is hosting the mini-applications named Gadgets on the Windows Desktop. The same procedure is compatible with Windows Vista.

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to open Task Manager
  2. Open the Processes tab
  3. Navigate to sidebar.exe process
  4. Right-click on sidebar.exe process and choose End task
  5. Close Task Manager
  6. Open more application or documents and test Alt + Tab

Method 6: Disable Aero Peek

Aero Peek is here since Windows 7 and it is located on the right side of Taskbar. If you move your mouse to the right side on the Taskbar, Windows will hide all opened applications and documents and it will show your Desktop. We will show you how to disable Aero Peek to fix the issue with Alt + Tab. The procedure is compatible with operating systems from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open the shortcuts menu
  2. Go to system
  3. On the right-hand side choose “system info” from the bottom. Then choose Advanced System Settings
  4. In the Advanced Tab, find the Performance section and click on ‘Settings
  5. In the visual effects tab Uncheck “Enable Peek
  6. Click ‘Apply’ then ‘OK’.

Method 7: Change Registry Settings

Before you do any registry configuration, we are recommending you to the backup registry database. Why do you need to do registry backup? In the case of some misconfiguration, you can revert the registry database to the previous state when everything worked without any problems. For this method, you will need to use a user account with Administrator privilege, because a Standard user account is not allowed to do any system changes. Please check steps to the backup registry database at (here) After you backup your Registry database, you will need to continue the next procedure.

  1. Navigate to the following location:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
  2. Right-click and choose New, and then 32-bit DWORD Value.
  3. Type name AltTabSettings and type 1
  4. Click OK and close Registry Editor
  5. Restart your Windows machine
  6. Open more application or documents and test Alt + Tab

Method 8: Run Windows Update

Windows Update is important to step you need to implement in your business or home environment. A lot of users are ignoring to use Windows Update, regardless Microsoft is recommending using Windows Update to increase the security of your operating system.

Method 9: Remove Alternate Keyboard

Are you using a third-party keyboard? If not, you should read the next method. If yes, you will need to remove that keyboard from your machine. The additional keyboard can make some changes to your system and you will not be able to use some keys, in our example, it can be Alt + Tab. We will show you how to remove Comfort On-Screen Keyboard Pro on Windows 10. If you are using another keyboard, please uninstall it by following this procedure.

  1. Hold Windows logo and press R
  2. Type appwiz.cpl and press Enter to open Programs and Features
  3. Navigate to Comfort On-Screen Keyboard Pro
  4. Right-click on Comfort On-Screen Keyboard Pro and choose Uninstall
  5. Wait until Windows is finished uninstalling the keyboard
  6. Close Program and Features
  7. Restart your Windows machine
  8. Open more application or documents and test Alt + Tab

Method 10: Uninstall Lenovo Communication Utility

Few users solved the problem on their Lenovo devices by uninstalling Lenovo Communication Utility. Based on that we are recommending you to uninstall application Lenovo Communication Utility from your Windows machine.

  1. Hold Windows logo + R
  2. Type appwiz.cpl and press Enter to open Programs and Features
    Type “appwiz.cpl” into the Run dialog and press Enter
  3. Navigate to Lenovo Communication Utility
  4. Right-click on Lenovo Communication Utility and choose Uninstall
  5. Wait until Windows is finished uninstalling the application
  6. Restart your Windows machine
  7. Open more application or documents and test Alt + Tab

 Method 11: Uninstall Real Player

Also, in this method, we will uninstall Real Player from the Windows machine. Maybe, there is a conflict between Real Player’s files and your system, and the best solution is to uninstall it. We will show you how to do it on Windows 10.

  1. Hold Windows logo and press R
  2. Type appwiz.cpl and press Enter to open Programs and Features
  3. Select Real Player
  4. Right-click on Real Player and choose Uninstall/Change
  5. Wait until Windows is finished uninstalling Real Player
  6. Restart your Windows machine
  7. Open more application or documents and test Alt + Tab

Method 12: Revert to old Alt + Tab

If you are using Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, but you are missing Windows XP Alt + Tab mode, you can revert it to the old style. Also, this procedure can solve the problem with Alt + Tab issue, so we are recommending you to revert to the old “ALT+TAB” view.

Method 13: Disconnect hubs and USB headset

Are you using USB hubs or headset on your computer or notebook? If yes, please try to unplug USB hub and headset from your machine, and after that try to use Alt + Tab. In more cases, the headset was a problem, and end-users solved the problem by unplugging headset from their machines. You can try to connect the headset on the back or front of your computer case.

Method 14: Change docking station cable between monitor and notebook

This is a little bit weird solution, but few users solved the problem by replacing cable which connected the docking station with the monitor. You will not lose anything, instead, you will know is this problem or not. If you are not using a docking station, please read the next method.

Method 15: Change BIOS version

If you tried these methods and you did not solve your problem, you should change a version of your BIOS or UEFI. At first, you should update your current BIOS or UEFI with the latest available version on vendor web site. If updating your BIOS is not the right solution, try to downgrade BIOS or UEFI version.

Method 16: Change game to use windowed mode

If you want to use Alt + Tab when playing games, you will need to change video settings. I guess you are playing games in Full-screen mode, which is recommended for a better user experience. I’ll show you how to change video settings on a game named Left 4 Dead 2 installed on Windows 10. The same should be compatible with other games.

  1. Run your game
  2. Choose Options and then Video
  3. Select Display mode
  4. Choose Windowed (No Border) and click Done
  5. Open more application or document and test Alt + Tab

Method 17: Disable Full-screen optimization on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

In this method, we will show you how to change fullscreen optimization on the game CS GO which is installed on Windows 10. The same should be compatible with other games.

  1. Locate shortcut of CS GO
  2. Right-click on CS GO shortcut and choose Properties
  3. Choose the Compatibility tab
  4. Select Disable fullscreen optimization
  5. Choose Apply and then OK
  6. Open more application or document and run CS GO and test Alt + Tab

Method 18: Change game properties

In this method, we will show you how to change game properties on the game World Of Warcraft which is installed on Windows 10. The same should be compatible with other games.

  1. Locate World Of Warcraft shortcut on your machine
  2. Right-click on the shortcut and choose Properties
  3. Choose Shortcut tab
  4. Under Target add -nativefullscr at the end of the line “C:\Program Files (x86)\Warcraft III\Frozen Throne.exe
Example: C:\Program Files (x86)\Warcraft III\Frozen Throne.exe" -nativefullscr

  1. Click Apply and then OK
  2. Open more application or document and run World Of Warcraft and test Alt + Tab

Jasmin Kahriman


Hi, I'm Jasmin. Thank you for reading the article below. I am a System Engineer and IT Trainer with over 10 years of experience. I am holding multiple IT certifications focused on IT Infrastructure, including CompTIA A+, Network+, Server +, CNIP, MTA, MCP, MCSA, MS, IT Academy and many others. I'm happy to share my knowledge and skills through addressing tech issues and writing how-to's in a way that it can be followed by everyone.

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Fix: Alt Tab Not Working on Windows 7,8 or 10

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