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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Windows 7 Tips

Make the Taskbar Buttons Switch to the Last Active Window in Windows 7

The new Windows 7 taskbar's Aero Peek feature, with the live thumbnails of every window, is awesome. But sometimes you just want to be able to click the taskbar button and have the last open window show up instead. Here’s a quick hack to make it work better.

To better understand the problem, imagine having nine windows of the same type open on your screen, but you are primarily working in just one of the windows at a time. So every time you want to switch back, you have to click the taskbar button, and then choose the one you are using from the list, which can be pretty annoying.

Now if you know your Windows 7 shortcuts, you’d know that you can simply hold down the Ctrl key while clicking on the taskbar button, and the last window will show up. In fact, you can keep holding down the Ctrl key and keep clicking, and Windows will cycle through the open windows. It’s a useful shortcut, but hardly something you want to do every single time.

Instead, we’ll use a quick registry hack to make the normal click switch to the last open window—if you still want to see the thumbnail list, just hover your mouse over the button for half a second to see the full list.

Registry Hack for Last Active Window

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then head down to the following registry key:


Once you’re there, create a new 32-bit DWORD value on the right hand side, give it the name LastActiveClick, and set the value to 1. Once you are done, it should look something like this:

Once you are done, you’ll have to log off and back on, or you can kill Explorer.exe through Task Manager and re-open it.

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