This shortcut is useful when the user simultaneously working on multiple programs. It allows the user to switch between the applications that are currently running on the windows. Suppose you wish to switch between the active windows of the current program, then you can use Ctrl+Tab shortcut.
To use this shortcut, the user must press both Alt and tab keys simultaneously. The user can also press the arrow key to decide which application he/she wants to open.
Using the shortcut in Microsoft Windows
The shortcut switches windows in the available program from the left to the right direction. It moves the application from right to left. If you want to go in the reverse direction, you can press shift along with Alt+tab.
If the user is working on two-three windows, the user can only use the Alt+key shortcut as it makes switching even faster.
What if the shortcut is not working?
It is a useful shortcut used by developers when working on multiple programs. It saves time and makes simple to switch between applications than with a mouse.
There is a possibility that it may not work. The possible reason can be that if one of the keys is not working properly. So, the shortcut may also fail to register. These can be the reason for preventing changes between the applications.
Fixing these Issues
1. Rule Out Hardware Issues
The first thing the user should do is to ensure that the keyboard is working properly. Check that the connection is correct and all other keys are functioning properly.
In case of such errors, there are very few things that you can do. First, try to attach the keyboard using another port. If it still does not work, check the cable is not damaged, and if that's not the case either, you should make them checked by a technician or replace it with a new one.
2. Check if both keys are Registered
Once you have checked that all keys are functioning properly, you should confirm that they are registering. You can visit the keyboard testing website to check whether the keys register and work properly.
If the Alt key is not working, you may try using the other Alt key on the keyboard. If that also does not work, perform the rest of the fixes.
3. Reinstall the keyboard Drivers
If the key is registered properly, then also it is possible that the input does not properly inserted into the system. It may be because the keyboard drivers are not up-to-date. It can lead to improper functioning of certain keyboard shortcuts. The solution of this problem is that the user is required to reinstall the keyboard driver.
You can follow the given steps to reinstall the drivers:
- Right Click on ‘This PC’ and then click on ‘Manage’.
- Check the left sidebar for Device Manager and click on the keyboard from the right pane.
- From there, you can uninstall the device.
- And after that, reinstall the device again.
Check if the shortcut is working properly. If not, proceed with other fixes.
4. Restart Windows Explorer
Window Explorer commands the navigation across all the folders and files in your system by providing various graphical user interfaces. So it may be the case that if the Window Explorer is not responding properly, that may also cause failure. So, restart the Windows Explorer to overcome this possibility too.
Steps to restart Windows Explorer:
- Right-click the Start button.
- In the Start Menu, open the Task Manager, where you can find the Windows Explorer from the list.
- Right-click on the Explorer from the list, and click on Restart.
- Restart the system so that the changes can be accommodated. If the shortcut is not working, then follow the next method.
5. Enable Peek
If the Peek is disabled in your system, then it can cause the shortcut to failure to register.
It enables the user to navigate through the desktop in your system by using the mouse when you hover around the rectangles on the lower-left corner at the time of working on another Window.
So, if you performed all the fixes and still the shortcut is not working, then the user must ensure that this function is enabled.
Follow the steps to check and enable the peek option in the System.
- From the Start Menu, open the windows Setting.
- From Settings, open Personalization.
- Click on the taskbar located in the left-sidebar of the Menu.
- To enable the Peek option, turn on the toggle for Using Peek to preview the desktop.
- The option will allow the user to preview the desktop when moving the mouse at the Show desktop button. It is located at the left end of the taskbar.
What to do if Peek is not turned on even after changing the settings. Then, the user must also ensure that the option is enabled from the Performance option.
Perform the given steps to check this setting:
- Open Windows Settings.
- From the Settings, click on System.
- Open the About option for the System. It is on the left sidebar of the Menu.
- In the About Section, click on Advanced System Settings.
- Click on Setting in the Advance option in the System Properties.
- From the option, enable the Peek function, Apply the changes and save them.
- After performing all these steps, try to use the shortcut.
Now the user will be able to register the shortcut. But if it is still not working, you should try the next fix on the list.
6. Install/Uninstall Alt+Tab Terminator
The terminator is used to enable the user by simplifying the process of previewing different opened windows. It allows the user to navigate between the opened applications.
It may perform all these functions, but it may also prevent the working of the default Alt-Tab shortcut. So, if you want to use the shortcut, you might have to consider uninstalling the terminator.
The steps of uninstalling the Alt-Tab Terminator are the same as any other application. The Steps are mentioned below:
- From the Start Menu, Search and open the Control Panel.
- Select the Programs and Feature from the Panel.
- It will contain a list of all the programs installed in your system.
- You can drag the list down or search the Alt-Tab Terminator using the search tab in the top-right corner.
- Click on the program and Uninstall the program.
This fix can work both ways. The Alt-Tab Terminator perform the same function as the shortcut. So, even when the shortcut is not working properly. You can install the terminator that will allow you to easily navigate between the opened applications. There is a possibility that both the shortcut and terminator work perfectly fine. So, it will be best if you use the shortcut with the installed terminator.
The least preferred method will be enabling the shortcut in the Windows registry. However, making changes in the registry is not advised, and must be used as a last resort only.
If the above methods fail, the user should try modifying the registry. Various issues can be resolved by changing the registry file settings. The user can create a new registry. But at the same time, it is risky as it may cause trouble in the working of other operations if you have not worked with the registry. So, if you have not tweaked the registry settings, then you should not use this method.
If you still want to proceed, then you can perform the fix and open the Run command. You can use the shortcut Win+R. It will open the Run Command Prompt. In the Prompt, type "Regedit" and click on “Ok”.
The next step is to enter the path in the Registry Editor. Ensure that you type the exact path mentioned below or paste the given path directly into the editor.
- It will provide you with two possibilities. In the best case, the Alt-Tab Setting option will be already visible, and if it is not there yet, then you have to follow the below steps:
- Find the AltTabSettings. Click the option to open the Settings, where you have to change the Value data to 1.
- If the Data Value is not available, you can add it. You can create data value by creating them. Right Click in the File Explorer and Click New in the Menu. Add a new DWORD (32-bit) Value. Then, change the name of the file which is created to AltTabSettings.
- Once it is created, you can add the Value Data and assign 1 as a value.
- Once you have implemented all the steps and have created a registry file for your use, you should be able to use the Alt-Tab. You should refrain from making other modifications as it may cause trouble working of other shortcuts or operations.
What to do if the shortcut is still not working?
After performing all these fixes in the list, the shortcut should start working properly. If it is not working, you may try some general fix for the issue. These may include recovery on the system, updating the OS or replacing the keyboard. You can also perform a malware check on the system. You should try using the default keyboard settings and uninstall all the keyboard applications. You may also want to turn on the hotkeys. You should remove the additional devices. There is very little chance that it won't work. You should visit the service centre if the problem still occurs.