Hidden Thumbnail Switch to Toggle Between Windows 8 Start Screen and Desktop Applications

Now that's an interesting find in Windows 8 Developer Preview. Did you know Windows 8 comes with a hidden switch to toggle between Start Screen and Desktop?

We found it accidentally. Actually when you move your mouse cursor at the left-side of screen, Windows 8 shows a small thumbnail of the previously visited application. You can click on the thumbnail to go to that application window.

In fact there is no need to click on the thumbnail, simply click on the left-side of the screen and Windows 8 will switch to the previously visited application with a cool animation.

You can also drag the small thumbnail in the middle of screen to make that app active.

To enjoy this trick, one Metro app must be running for example Control Panel, Metro IE, etc.

For example, when you are at Start Screen, click on Control Panel tile. Now go back to Start Screen using "Ctrl+Esc" key combination or using tiny start menu. Now click on Desktop tile to start Windows Desktop.

Now time to reveal hidden secret switch! Move your mouse cursor at the left-side of screen and you'll see a small thumbnail of Control Panel.


Click on it and it'll let you go to Control Panel. Again move mouse cursor at the left-side of screen and it'll show thumbnail of Desktop.


Its really fun to use feature. What do you think about this new feature?


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Posted in: Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Also if you pull it out to the right side of the screen and you have a screen resolution supported by the new version of Aero Snap, it snaps the metro application.

  • how to turn this option off .......??????pls help

  • VG

    ^^ Currently not possible. May be in future, we'll find a way to disable it.

  • I want to be able to toggle Desktop and Start modes via a SINGLE KEYBOARD COMMAND, not mouse about in "hidden" parts of the screen... This should be THE most clear and obvious thing about the interface, to navigate back and forwards between these modes.

    A bit irritated by this workflow roadblock.

  • i just got my new laptop on black friday waited outside for 6 hours... anyways you can slide your finger on your touch pad from the left and it takes you to the previous application, and if you do the opposite the charm bar appears

  • can anyone tell me if it possible to keep two tiles open simultaneously? i am used to having two programs running i.e a game and movie so i can watch in between plays without having to switch screens...so far the tiles all expand to full screen!

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