How to customize Alt-Tab in Windows 10

Martin Brinkmann
May 24, 2017
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

You can use the keyboard shortcut Alt-Tab on modern Windows devices to display and switch between all open program windows.

While you have other options to switch to other programs, Alt-Tab may be faster than those. One reason for that is that it displays previews of those open windows on the desktop so that identification of the right one may be easier.

You can switch to any of the open windows using the mouse -- b

y clicking on the window -- or keyboard -- by tapping on the Tab-key to flip through the windows.

The only other option provided is to close any open program window by hovering the mouse cursor over the representation, and a click on the x-icon that appears when you do so.

Customize Alt-Tab in Windows 10

alt-tab windows

You can customize the Alt-Tab feature in Windows in several ways. Please note that this requires editing values in the Windows Registry, or using a third-party program that provides you with the options.

The three core options that you have in this regard are the following ones:

  1. Change the transparency level of the Alt-Tab interface border.
  2. Hide open Windows that may be displayed behind Alt-Tab.
  3. Dim the background of the desktop.

Change the transparency level of the Alt-Tab interface border


Do the following if you want to change the transparency of the Alt-Tab interface border.:

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit.exe, and hit the Enter-key.
  2. Confirm the UAC prompt.
  3. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
  4. Right-click on Explorer, and select New > Key.
  5. Name that key MultitaskingView.
  6. Right-click on MultitaskingView, and select New > Key.
  7. Name that key AltTabViewHost.
  8. Right-click on AltTabViewHost, and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
  9. Name that value Grid_backgroundPercent.
  10. Set the value in percent. 0 means 100% transparency and 100% no transparency.

Hide open Windows that may be displayed behind Alt-Tab

alt tab page wallpaper

  1. Use the instructions above to open the Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the Registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MultitaskingView\AltTabViewHost
  3. Right-click on AltTabViewHost, and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
  4. Name the value Wallpaper.
  5. Set the value to 0 to display windows behind Alt-Tab.
  6. Set the value to 1 to hide windows behind Alt-Tab.

Dim the background of the desktop

background dim

Do the following to dim the desktop background when you use Alt-Tab.

  1. Check the instructions above to open the Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MultitaskingView\AltTabViewHost
  3. Right-click on AltTabViewHost, and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
  4. Name it BackgroundDimmingLayer_percent.
  5. Set the value in percent, 100% is full dimming.

Use AltPlusTab for Windows

alt plus tab

If you don't like editing the Registry, or prefer a fast solution, then you may use the free Windows program AltPlusTab instead. It supports all three features described above, but is less flexible when it comes to the values that you can set.

Still, it offers a quick solution to change the Alt-Tab transparency, and background behavior.

So how does it look like if you enable all three features? It could look something like this

tab switching

I have created a Registry script that you can run to make the changes with a single double-click. You can download the script with a click on the following link:

Make sure you edit the values in the Registry file using a plain text editor such as Notepad before you run it.

Here is the full script:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

; Set transparency of Alt-Tab interface between 00000000 (full transparency) and 000000100 (no transparency)


; Set whether windows are shown behind the Alt-Tab interface. 00000000 is no, 00000001 is yes


; Sets the dim percentage of the background, 00000000 is no dimming, 00000100 is full dimming


Now You: How do you switch between windows in Windows? (thanks Deskmodder)

How to customize Alt-Tab in Windows 10
Article Name
How to customize Alt-Tab in Windows 10
The guide explains how you can customize the Alt-Tab switching interface of the Windows operating system by changing its transparency, dim value, or background window displays.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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