System Use Classic Icons or Thumbnails on Alt+Tab in Windows 11


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Alt+Tab_banner.png

The tutorial no longer works starting with at least Windows 11 build 22000.856 and higher.


You can press the Alt + Tab or Ctrl + Alt + Tab keys to switch between open windows in Windows 11.

Pressing Alt+Tab will show open windows as thumbnails by default.

You can also press and hold the right Alt key, press and release the left Alt key, and press Tab to have Alt+Tab show open windows as classic icons instead of thumbnails.

This tutorial will show you how to always show classic icons or thumbnails on Alt+Tab by default for your account in Windows 10 and Windows 11.


EXAMPLE: ALT+TAB showing classic icons and thumbnails (default)

Alt+Tab_thumbnails.jpg
Alt+Tab_classic_icons.jpg



Here's How:

1 Do step 2 (classic icons) or step 3 (thumbnails) below for what you want.


2 Use Classic Icons on Alt+Tab

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the REG file below, and go to step 4 below.​

Use_classic_icons_on_Alt+Tab.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer]
"AltTabSettings"=dword:00000001

3 Use Thumbnails on Alt+Tab

This is the default setting.


A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the REG file below, and go to step 4 below.​

Use_thumbnails_on_Alt+Tab.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer]
"AltTabSettings"=dword:00000000

4 Save the REG file to your desktop.

5 Double click/tap on the downloaded REG file to merge it.

6 When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

7 Either restart explorer process, sign out and sign in, or restart the computer to apply.

8 You can now delete the downloaded REG file if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

Attachments

  • Use_classic_icons_on_Alt+Tab.reg
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  • Use_thumbnails_on_Alt+Tab.reg
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Last edited:
Doesn't work on build 22000.856. It just switches window as though I pressed alt+esc. Same goes for the right alt key trick. Is it possible to make this work in the latest version of Windows 11?

EDIT: I have found this problem only occurs with certain keyboard simulation software. It's fine when I press the keys on the keyboard at the computer physically.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Intel Celeron N5105
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel UHD Graphics (integrated)
Hello @Aenfa,

I'm seeing the same think in build 25179. It looks like Microsoft disabled it. :(
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    64 GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DDR4 3600 MHz (F4-3600C18D-32GTZR)
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING (11GB GDDR5X)
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    4TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S23 Plus phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Surface Laptop Copilot+ PC
    CPU
    Snapdragon X Elite (12 core) 3.42 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR5x-7467 MHz
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15" HDR
    Screen Resolution
    2496 x 1664
    Hard Drives
    1 TB SSD
    Internet Speed
    Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4
    Browser
    Chrome and Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
Windows 11 22H2 upgrade reset mine back. but I was able to revert it by adding the DWORD AltTabSettings with value 1 at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
PS: Don't forget to restart the explorer process.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    WIndows 11
On build 25267, using classic icons for Alt+Tab breaks it so it will no longer open, but still cycles between open windows. :(
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    64 GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DDR4 3600 MHz (F4-3600C18D-32GTZR)
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING (11GB GDDR5X)
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    4TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S23 Plus phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Surface Laptop Copilot+ PC
    CPU
    Snapdragon X Elite (12 core) 3.42 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR5x-7467 MHz
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15" HDR
    Screen Resolution
    2496 x 1664
    Hard Drives
    1 TB SSD
    Internet Speed
    Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4
    Browser
    Chrome and Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
FWIW, I'm in Win11 Pro, Version 10.0.22621 Build 22621, and this worked for me.
 

Attachments

  • 1679924716198.png
    1679924716198.png
    1.9 KB · Views: 85

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo
    CPU
    12th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-12700H 2.30 GHz
    Memory
    64.0 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA RTX A2000 8GB Laptop GPU
    Screen Resolution
    4k

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