Alt-Tab taking forever while playing games? Borderless Gaming comes to the rescue

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 30, 2014

Apps and games can run in three different modes on a desktop computer system. They can run in fullscreen mode, windowed mode or borderless mode.

All of these modes have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. Some modes get priority access to system hardware while others may offer faster Alt-Tab switching or improve streaming.

If Alt-Tab takes forever to leave the game or app, or if a streaming application does not support fullscreen mode, then you may not want to run a game in fullscreen mode after all.

Borderless Gaming is a free open source program for the Windows operating system that you can use to force games to run in borderless mode even if that is not supported by default by it.

While it won't work for all games just yet, the list of tested games include popular games such as Terraria, DayZ, Fallout 3 or Skyrim.

The program itself is easy to use. When you start it up -- it is portable and does not require installation -- it displays a list of processes in its interface.

The list of processes is updated automatically whenever you open a new window. It needs to be noted that it is limited to processes that spawn windows or run in fullscreen mode and not all processes running on the system.

Processes that you want to run in borderless mode need to be moved to the right side. Once there, it will always be resized for that mode automatically when the process is recognized by Borderless Gaming. While designed with games in mind, it is possible to run apps in a similar fashion on the system.

One of the positive effects of running games in a window is that using Alt-Tab to switch to another window is not slowed down anymore. While this may work fine in some games and systems, the Internet is full with user complaints about Alt-Tab taking forever to switch. In addition, it may also cause frequent game crashes or slow downs in the game once you return to it.

Some games may also run smoother in windows while others may offer better performance when run in fullscreen. This comes down to each game individually which means that you need to test it on your system to find out which mode is beneficial on it for you.

Closing Words

Borderless Gaming is not the first application to offer this functionality. There are Shift Window, Full Screen Resizer or this Autohotkey script for example which offer more or less the same.

Still, the program is open source, portable, and regularly updated by its author. If you experience issues while trying to alt-tab out of games, streaming, or smoothness issues, you could give this a try to see if it resolves those issues on your system.

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  1. naveed said on October 2, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    This works well, but takes up too much memory – about 134MB on my system. Fullscreenizer works differently and is a little less intuitive but takes up only 3MB RAM. Shift Window seemed overly complicated, so I didn’t even try it. I’m yet to try the Autohotkey script.

  2. BBB said on October 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm


    did you test this with Steam games ?
    one of the 2 most irritations of lots of steam games for me is that :
    1. you can not alt-tab and leave the Game screen open (comes in handy when remapping keys on my G13 overlay to match the game default key bindings.)
    2. a lot of games do still render on low res and then upscale to the desired resolution. notiacle on the 2nd screen beeing displayed in different resolution.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Should work for Steam games such as Half-life.

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