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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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The Two Task Switchers

As mentioned in Chapter 1, there’s a quick way to jump back to the last app you had open: Swipe inward from the left border of the screen, or press Alt+Tab.

But what if you have six programs open and you want to jump to the third one?

This, of course, is why the beloved Alt+Tab keystroke was born (Figure 3-6, top).

Alt+Tab still works in Windows 8. It displays the icons of all open programs, both TileWorld apps and desktop programs. But now there’s a second app switcher, a vertical one, that’s limited to displaying TileWorld apps.

The Traditional Task Switcher (Shows All Apps)

To view the traditional app switcher—a horizontal row of icons, depicting both TileWorld apps and traditional Windows programs—proceed like this:

  • Touchscreen: There’s no touchscreen gesture to open the old task switcher. Use the new one (described next) to switch among open TileWorld apps.

    If you want to jump to a Windows desktop program, tap the Desktop tile on the Start screen. (Unless you’ve moved it, Desktop is the lower-left tile.) You jump back to the traditional Windows desktop, where the icons of all open programs appear on the taskbar (Taskbar 2.0).

  • Mouse: There’s no mousey way to open this task switcher, either.

  • Keyboard: If you press Tab while holding down the Alt key, a floating palette displays the icons of all running programs, as shown at top in Figure 3-6. Each time you press Tab again (still keeping the Alt key down), you highlight the next icon; when you release the keys, the ...

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