Windows 10 August Update Breaks Alt+Tab Task Switcher Functionality: Here’s How To Fix It

Microsoft pushed the August update for Windows 10 last week. It came as part of the “Patch Tuesday” set of updates which basically means it’s a mandatory security patch that comes with a whole bunch of, you guessed it, important security fixes. Unfortunately, Windows 10 KB5005033, while a necessary update, has been found to cause issues pertaining to the Task Switcher. The issue is quite frustrating in nature, but thankfully there are two handy-dandy solutions you can use to remedy the problem.

What exactly is the Task Switcher and what does it do?

Pressing Alt+Tab in Windows 10 (& 11) brings up the Task Switcher. The aptly-named feature allows you to cycle through application-level tasks, such as browser tabs and File Explorer windows, without having to manually click and open one. When you press Alt+Tab, the Task Switcher comes up in the center of your screen and displays all the tasks currently running your PC.

Whilst holding Alt, you can press Tab repeatedly to navigate through the tasks until the task you want to open is selected, then let go of the key and you’ll be greeted with the application. This way, you can basically switch through tasks without having to even touch your mouse. It’s a really useful feature that can come in really handy in certain situations. Most of us already know about this, but for those who don’t, take a look below at how Task Switcher looks in action.

See the Task Switcher switch between Forza Horizon 4, a browser window, Notepad, Spotify, and back to Forza again.

For instance, if you’re playing a game and it suddenly freezes out of nowhere becoming unresponsive. Here, pressing Alt+Tab can bring up the Task Switcher and enable you to easily come out of the unresponsive game and proceed accordingly. Similarly, if that game is running just fine but, let’s say you need to see how much a file has downloaded in the background, instead of pressing the Windows key and manually selecting the application, you can just press Alt+Tab and switch to said application, press Alt+Tab again and return to your game in no time.

What’s Happening In The Latest Update

Upon pressing Alt+Tab and switching to a new task, multiple users have reported almost immediately crashing to the desktop. Likewise, when an application or game is running in fullscreen mode, the app Alt+Tabs on its own, minimizes the app and crashes to the desktop resulting in abrupt pauses between your usage.

More alarmingly, though, a user mention whenever they switched to a game via the Task Switcher, a blank screen came up instead of the game they tried to switch to. That app becomes basically becomes part of the void as there is no way you can return to the game afterwards because each time you try to switch to the game, it just shows a black screen. Following are two different reports sourced from the Feedback Hub.

  1. It breaks Alt-Tab switching games that run in “full screen” mode. Switching to such games gives you a black screen and no way to return to the game. Again uninstalling this update reverts to normal working behavior.

  2. Furthermore, Windows 10 under this update sometimes Alt-Tabs out of the fullscreen game immediately after starting up the game from Steam. Basically, the fullscreen game now starts up minimized on my taskbar. If I try to click the game to go to its fullscreen mode, Win10 immediately alt-tabs from the fullscreen and I’m back to square one,

Obviously, all of these issues are pretty frustrating and raise some rather unsettling question marks, but, first, let’s see how you can fix these.

How To Fix The Task Switcher

The first method is rather simple. What you need to do is simply disable the new weather widget that Microsoft added back in June’s update.

  • Right-click anywhere on the Taskbar
  • Select “News and interests”
  • Click on “Turn off”
Turning off the News and interests widget.

This should fix the Alt+Tab issues, but if they still persist there’s a slightly more serious way you can potentially fix the problem. You’ll need to uninstall August’s update and roll back to the most recent one available before that. To learn how to uninstall an update in Windows 10, you can check out our detailed guide, or just follow along these steps:

  • Press the Windows key
  • Type “View update history
    Search “View update history” in the Start Menu.
  • Press enter or manually click on the first option
  • In the settings page just opened, click on “Uninstall updates
    Click on the “Uninstall updates” option right underneath the settings page title.
  • The Control Panel will now open, giving you the list of installed updates on your PC. Under “Microsoft Windows“, select the most recent update that has been installed (KB5005033) and click on the uninstall button.
    Uninstall the latest (KB5005033) update.
  • After you’ve rolled back to the previous update, restart your computer if the uninstall didn’t already and the issue should now be 100% fixed.

What This Means For The Future

Since the very launch of Windows 10, the OS has been plagued from bugs and annoying issues such as this one. And, while Microsoft has always tried its best to address these issues and fix most of them, it seems as if there’s 5 new ones for every single one they fix. Okay, that may be a bit exaggerated, but you get my point. Windows 10 updates have a reputation for breaking crucial functionality time and time again, along with introducing new problems that didn’t exist before. August’s update is no different.

Hilariously enough, it was the newly-added News and interests widget that supposedly broke the Alt+Tab functionality. If you remember, no one asked for this new widget and upon its addition, many were confused and even annoyed by its appearance on their Taskbars. So, a feature that was never wanted in the first place breaking a crucial utility that a lot of users love has got to make up for the worst possible debut of a new feature. You can already see how this can leave a very bad impression on users, but there’s more.

The scary part is that Microsoft is now working on Windows 11 and most of its resources have been likely shifted towards that process. This means that Windows 10 is likely going to get even less attention now as Microsoft simply won’t have the capacity to cater to two different audiences at the same time. Windows 10 is supported by Microsoft till 2025, so there’s still an extra 4 years left in the chamber. Let’s see if Microsoft can still polish its old OS after the new, shiny Windows 11 debuts later this year.

Huzaifa Haroon
Born and raised around computers, Huzaifa is an avid gamer and a Windows enthusiast. When he's not solving the mysteries of technology, you can find him writing about operating systems, striving to inform the curious.