by Barry Dysert
(last updated November 3, 2014)
Being able to minimize all open windows is quite helpful for a variety of reasons. For example, you may want to gain access to your desktop shortcuts, you may want to access the gadgets menu, you may want to personalize your desktop theme, etc. It's easy to minimize your windows by following one of the tips presented here.
The obvious way to minimize all of your open windows is to go to each window and minimize them one by one. (Minimizing windows is discussed in another tip.) This could prove somewhat inefficient, though, if you have several windows up at once. A better way to minimize all your windows with one click is to click on the Show Desktop button located at the extreme right side of the taskbar. (See Figure 1.) This button is actually a toggle because after you click it to minimize all of your windows, clicking it a second time will restore those windows to their former size and location. (This approach works only in Windows 7; it is not available in Windows 8.)
Figure 1. The Show Desktop button.
Another way to minimize all your windows at once is to right-click on the taskbar and select the Show the Desktop option. By the way, when you right-click the taskbar you may see a menu item named Show Open Windows. This allows you to restore the windows that you had previously minimized.
If you'd prefer to keep your hands on the keyboard instead of using the mouse to minimize your windows, you can use the key sequence Win+D. (The Win or Windows key is on most keyboards these days; it has the Windows logo on it.) Pressing Win+D a second time will restore the minimized windows.
This tip (12118) applies to Windows 7 and 8.
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