How to Switch Tasks Faster in Windows 8

If you do even a little bit of multitasking, Windows 8's Switcher menu -- its preferred way of changing tasks --  can be extremely confusing. While the menu of thumbnails that appears on the left side of the screen shows separate tiles for each of your Metro-style Windows  8 apps, it lumps all of your desktop windows into a single thumbnail, no matter how many applications you have open.

If you use Switcher and  want to switch to a program that's running on the desktop, you must navigate back to the desktop and find it there, an extra unnecessary step. Fortunately, you don't need to use Switcher at all, because there are a couple of other ways to change tasks that are much quicker.

ALT + Tab

The good old ALT + Tab keyboard shortcut will show you a menu with every desktop and Windows 8 app on it. You can keep hitting ALT + Tab to select the app you want, but after you've switched apps, the menu disappears.

Dock  the Desktop

 If you are in the Modern UI and you dock the desktop, the dock will contain a list of thumbnails that show all your open desktop apps. Unfortunately, if you want to see a list of open Windows 8 apps, you'll need to open the Switcher so this method still doesn't give you a single unified task menu.

More Windows 8 Tips

Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.