Home > Computers and Internet > The tabs are different now

The tabs are different now

Visually showing off a new OS can be pretty difficult. For Windows Vista pressing the Win key + tab brought up a “3D” program switcher. It was visual eye candy and a way to show off the new OS, but given that it took more effort to use than alt + tab, nobody really uses it. Win + tab and alt + tab did the same thing in Windows Vista and Windows 7. In Windows 8 they now behave differently. Alt + tab behaves exactly like how one would think it would. It brings up a window showing all of the processes with window handles and you can keep hitting tab to cycle to the next one, or if you’re still holding down alt, you can use the mouse to pick the one you want. All running Win32 processes are listed and all running WinRT processes are listed.

Win + tab behaves differently in Windows 8. They gave up on the visual eye candy of a rolling list of windows and what happens is a panel appears on the left of the screen, with a preview of each running app. Note, not processes, but apps. Or another way to think of it, all running Metro Apps plus the Desktop and Start Screen. Not that switching to the Start Screen is difficult, one just needs to press the Windows key on their keyboard.

So, after the introduction of the visually pleasing, functionally pointless Win key + tab shortcut, in Windows 8 it finally has differentiated itself functionally from alt + tab, in such a way I might actually end up using it. There are lots of things to discover in Windows 8 and I find What are the hotkey shortcuts in Windows 8 to be a good starting point.

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