Classic Mode using the Alt+Tab - have to search for the active window

I'm running Win7 Ultimate in the classic mode (the aero mode was just TOO much visual noise) and for years I've used the Alt+Tab to switch between applications. Starting with Vista the contents of the pop-up Alt+Tab window sorts and does not retain the positions as it did in XP. Are there any settings that I can change to get the XP non-sorted window. With the darn sorting I find myself searching for the "the" window I want to bring to the foreground. I almost always have several applications running (10-20) and multiple windows within each application thus it is not uncommon that I will have 30-50 windows open when I'm researching a topic and attempting to create a document or presentation on the topic.

Question Info

Last updated December 9, 2018 Views 19,875 Applies to:

Hey jgt,
Here is a workaround to get the classic Alt + Tab bar.
1. Open Windows explorer & a few applications so that you can start using Alt + Tab feature.
2. Press Alt + Tab keys to view the Alt + Tab bar.
3. Without releasing the keys, press another Alt key once and release the second Alt key.

Note: Do not release Alt + Tab yet.
4. Now press the Tab button to see the classic Alt + Tab bar.
Note: You will have to repeat this procedure every time you want the feature back.
If you are comfortable with the registry, you can disable the Aero Alt Tab permanently. 

If you are comfortable with the registry, you can disable the Aero Alt Tab permanently.

Important: This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the windows help article below.

Back up the registry

To get the classic Alt Tab feature in Windows 7 from registry editor:

1. Go to start, type regedit and press Enter.
2. Navigate to the following path HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
3. In right-side pane, create a new DWORD value AltTabSettings and set its value to 1.
4. Now whenever you'll press "Alt+Tab" keys together, it'll show Windows XP styled classic "Alt+Tab" Switcher screen instead of the new screen.
5. To restore default Aero enabled "Alt+Tab" Switcher screen, simply delete the AltTabSettings DWORD value created in step 3. Log off and login again to take effect.

Hope this addresses your concern.


Shinmila H - Microsoft Support

Visit our Microsoft Answers Feedback Forum and let us know what you think.

5 people were helped by this reply


Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.