FastWindowSwitcher: Alt-Tab alternative for Windows
FastWindowSwitcher is a free portable program for Microsoft Windows devices that you may use as an alternative to the Alt-Tab window switching mechanic of the operating system.
Windows users may use the shortcut Alt-Tab (and Shift-Alt-Tab) to quickly go through the list of open program windows to activate one and bring it to the front.
This works well with a low or medium number of open windows, but once you cross a certain threshold, its value diminishes as you have to activate the hotkey multiple times or use the mouse to pick one of the available windows.
FastWindowSwitcher is a portable open source program for Windows. You can run the program from any location without installation which means that you can put it on a USB Flash Drive as well to run it on systems that you work on.
The program does not open in its own window. It adds an icon to the system tray area instead which highlights that the program is active.
You may press the default hotkey Windows-Y to trigger its functionality. Unlike Alt-Tab, which shows a visual representation of all thumbnails, it shows hotkeys on the operating system's Taskbar instead.
You will notice right away that it does so for any icon on the taskbar, not only for programs that are open at the time.
A tap on the designated key brings the program window to the front, or, starts the program instead if it has not been started yet.
Note that you need to let go of the Windows-Y keys to activate one of the available program windows. This is different from Alt-Tab which requires that you hold down the Alt-key so that the interface remains visible on the screen.
You may right-click on the system tray icon and select settings from the context menu to bring up the preferences. There are only two right now: the first lets you change the hotkey that triggers FastWindowSwitcher's functionality, the second lets you change the font and font size of the markers on the screen when you invoke it.
The program used less than 10 Megabytes of memory on a Windows 10 Pro system while it was running (and no cpu until activated).
One downside to using the program is that you don't get visual previews of the windows, and that the selection process if multiple instances are opened is less than ideal.
If a single program instance is open, that window is activated. If multiple program instances are opened already, the list of available instances is displayed instead so that you need to select one from that listing to continue.
FastWindowSwitcher is a handy alternative for the default Alt-Tab functionality of the Windows operating system. You can use it to jump to an open window quickly, and launch any program pinned to the taskbar on top of that using the functionality it provides.
Now You: Alt-Tab or something else? How do you switch between open windows?