Quick Screen Clear

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 12, 2015)


I often have a whole bunch of windows open on the screen at the same time. This is great, as it allows me to easily move between programs and transfer information. (I often transfer information between browser windows, Word, and Excel.) However, all the open windows can be a bit overwhelming at times, and sometimes it would be nice to work with only a single window.

The normal way to deal with this is to activate each program window and either close it or minimize it to the Taskbar. This can take a lot of time, however. A great shortcut in Windows is to use what is called "Aero Shake." (Cheesy name, I know.) Even though Aero was supposedly only a Windows 7 feature, this shortcut still works in later versions of Windows as well.

To see how it works, activate the single window you want to work on. Point to the window's title bar, click your mouse, and shake the mouse back and forth. What should happen is that all the other windows are automatically minimized, leaving only the single window open on the screen.

You'll probably have to play with this technique just a bit—it takes some finesse to get the shaking just right. When you do, it can be a real timesaver to quickly clear your desktop and focus on a single window.

 This tip (12561) applies to Windows 7 and 8.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 2 + 8?

2015-10-13 07:12:21


Barry, I think I agree with you it is not really useful on Windows 7 Pro - there is an AeroPeek button in the notification area that does the same as <Windows>+<D>.

By the way, Shift+AeroPeek will restore all the windows previously minimized.

2015-10-13 06:23:36

Shreepad S M Gandhi, India

secondly I use Win+M to minimize all Windows...added to my knowledge base about Win+D (as mentioned by you) achieving the same action.

2015-10-13 06:20:38

Shreepad S M Gandhi

I won't be able to use Aero Shake as it is Administrator protected feature to enable or disable. But shall try for sure on my home PC. But again, I will have to learn Registry hack since I have Win 7 Home.

2015-10-12 19:54:08


To be honest, I don't think you're missing much. I have never used Aero Shake. Too much bother. If, for some reason, I want to have only one window up, I just press <Windows>+<D> to minimize them all; then I click the icon on the taskbar of the one I want up. Yeah, I can't restore them all easily, but the fact is it's very rare that I'd want to minimize all but one window in the first place.

2015-10-12 19:32:44


Barry, I managed to get there. The policy option was shown in its default state as not configured but enabled. So I DISabled the "Turn OFF"; but shaking would still not work. I went back into gpedit, check that the policy was still disabled, exited, and tried shaking again. Still nothing!

Clearly my criticism of Microsoft has annoyed the upper levels who have arranged that nothing I do will have the desired effect. Only joking??

2015-10-12 19:03:56


Ok, BHershman, I'll do my best. Here's the procedure on Win7. Go to Start | Run... and type 'gpedit.msc' (without the quotes) into the Run box. Press Enter. When the window comes up, on the left, expand User Configuration. Then expand Administrative Templates. Then click on Desktop. You may need to scroll, but in the right pane you'll see "Turn off Aero Shake minimizing mouse gesture".

If you single click that "Turn off..." line you'll get a good description of what it does and how you can configure it. If you double-click the line You'll be taken to a window where you can do the configuration. It can be confusing, so read the stuff carefully to be sure you're doing what you intend to do. (I wish we could upload attachments here.)

Good luck.

2015-10-12 18:51:31


Love it!

2015-10-12 12:51:55


Barry, the Shake does not work for me (Windows 7 Pro).Could you be more precise about editing Group Policy, please? I have never had occasion to use Gpedit and I cannot find anything there referring to Aero Shake.

2015-10-12 11:49:28


You should add that once you've hidden the other windows, you can bring them all back by again shaking the single open window the same way.

2015-10-12 11:27:40


Cool tip. Works for me!

2015-10-12 08:09:29


Brilliant. Never knew this. Thanks

2015-10-12 07:52:44


Hi Shreepad,

It's possible that Aero Shake is disabled on your machine. Also, if you have Windows Home edition, you can't find it at all without a Registry hack. You can enable/disable Aero Shake via the Group Policy editor, gpedit.msc.

2015-10-12 07:19:23

Shreepad S M Gandhi

Sounds interesting.
Tried it but have not got that still. Is there a chance that it is disabled? In that case, how do I enable it so that I can use that?
Thanks in advance.

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