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 BAT file below, and go to step 4 below.​

Use_classic_icons_on_Alt+Tab.bat


(Contents of BAT file for reference)
Code:
@echo off

REG ADD "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer" /V AltTabSettings /T REG_DWORD /D 1 /F

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
start explorer.exe

3 Use Thumbnails on Alt+Tab

This is the default setting.


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

Use_thumbnails_on_Alt+Tab.bat


(Contents of BAT file for reference)
Code:
@echo off

REG ADD "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer" /V AltTabSettings /T REG_DWORD /D 0 /F

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
start explorer.exe

4 Save the .bat file to your desktop.

5 Unblock the .bat file.

6 Run the .bat file.

7 You will now notice your screen flicker and a command prompt quickly open and close as the explorer process is restarted to apply the registry changes.

8 When finished, you can delete the downloaded .bat file if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

Attachments

  • Alt+Tab.png
    Alt+Tab.png
    15.6 KB · Views: 57
  • Use_classic_icons_on_Alt+Tab.bat
    340 bytes · Views: 139
  • Use_thumbnails_on_Alt+Tab.bat
    340 bytes · Views: 121
Last edited:

Aenfa

New member
Local time
8:56 PM
Posts
5
Location
UK
OS
Windows 11
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
    Computer type
    Laptop

Brink

Administrator
Staff member
MVP
Thread Starter
Local time
2:56 PM
Posts
4,902
OS
Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
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
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
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    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 980 PRO M.2,
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
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    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
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    Corsair Hydro H115i
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    Logitech wireless K800
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    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
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    Google Chrome
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    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
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    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
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    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Motorola MB8611 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1
    CPU
    i7-1065G7 3.9 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR4-3200
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Sound Card
    Intel SST
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3" 4K UWVA AMOLED multitouch
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    3840 x 2160
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    512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
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    Google Chrome
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    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
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