To maximize immersion and performance, most games are designed to launch on full screen mode. However, this could prove to be an issue if you want to multitask while playing or, do not have a “traditional” display and run a multi display setup.
The feature to minimize games or any application in the system, without the need to close them can be vital in saving time and increasing productivity. Operating systems nowadays are optimized to run multiple programs and allocate the required resources without sacrificing performance.
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Minimizing Games on PC
Minimizing the games on the system eliminates the need to launch the game again thus saving time for the user and resources for the system. The need for this arises when users need to perform multiple tasks on their device or when the games they are playing require multiple windows to open.
If you stream your games online, the minimize option is invaluable as this allows users to seamlessly transition between apps and games.
The methods listed below show the process to minimize games in a system running Windows operating system. The process is listed from simple key presses to keyboard key combinations.
Note: Not all games support the minimize feature and may even stop responding or crash entirely.
The first and the easiest method to minimize games on your device is to use the Esc key from the keyboard. The escape key, commonly abbreviated as the “Esc”, stops, cancels or quits any ongoing process in the operating system. Some games utilize this key to minimize itself to the system tray when pressed.
Simply pressing the Esc key can minimize some games. However, this depends on the games that you play as not all games can be minimized by this method. Some games even close entirely after pressing the Esc key.
Another easy method to minimize your games is to press the Windows key to open the Start menu and then clicking on the lower-right corner of the taskbar.
The “Show desktop” is an accessibility feature that allows users to quickly go back to the desktop without the need to input any key combinations. This is also useful when certain keys on the keyboard are disabled while playing.
If the option is not available in your system or if it is disabled,
- Right-click on an empty space on the taskbar to open Taskbar Settings
- Scroll down and click on the Taskbar behaviors option
- Click on the check box labeled “Select the far corner of the taskbar to show the desktop”
- The feature will now be enabled
Windows Key + D
The Windows Key + D when pressed together, will navigate the user to the desktop. This key combination toggles the desktop to show and when pressed again, restores the previously open window.
This command is handy when needing to quickly switch to the desktop and back to the application without needing to cycle through apps.
Windows Key + M
Pressing the Windows key + M minimizes the current active window on your device. This feature is necessary when you may need to minimize the current application on the desktop.
However, this key combination may not work with applications running on full screen.
Note: To enable this feature, you will need to run your application on windowed mode or borderless windowed mode. This can be managed from the in-game settings or by pressing the Alt + Enter keys.
Windows Key + ↓
The Windows key + ↓ (Down arrow) is used to resize the application window on your device. If you are running any game or application on borderless full screen mode, this method will first change the application to windowed mode and when pressed again, will minimize the game to the taskbar.
To restore the game to its original window state, press the Windows key + ↑(Up arrow) twice.
Alt + Tab
Alt + Tabbing, while not exactly minimizing the open application, lets you switch between applications while the game stays open in the background. Using this option however, may cause graphical glitching or scaling errors on the system.
This method is suitable if you have many applications open as this option shows an overview and gives the option to select from the current open applications on your device.
Alt + Esc
Alt + Esc is similar to Alt + Tab key command as this option also allows for multitasking. This option however, cycles through the apps in the order that they were opened.
Alt + Esc also does not show an overview of the currently open applications on the system and directly switches to the application that was opened afterwards or the first application.
This method is more suitable if you have only a few applications open in your device and need to quickly switch between them.