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10 Ways To Minimize A Game On PC [All Controls]

Different ways and methods on how to minimize a game on PC so you don't have to quit playing the game and have access to your computer too.

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If you need to acquire the rest of your PC’s functions such as browsing something or using any other app while you are playing a game, but you can’t do that while your game’s running on the fullscreen. If you exit your game, you’ll have to wait for it to reopen, and some of your progress may also get lost. In that case, you only have one choice, which is to minimize the game on your PC.

Key Takeaways

  • To minimize games and switch between apps or go to the desktop without closing the game, use keyboard shortcuts such as Alt + Tab or Alt + Esc. These shortcuts help in the management of gaming interruptions.
  • Some games have windowed or borderless windowed modes that allow for simple minimizing. It enables smoother transitions between games and other tasks.
  • To customize game behaviour in terms of minimizing, use system settings or third-party applications. Adjusting game settings will let you multitask on your PC.

Alt + Tab

Alt + Tab is a shortcut for minimizing games on a PC.
Keyboard Keys: ALT + Tab (Image by Tech4gamers)

Alt + Tab is the go-to shortcut for minimizing games on a PC. Hold Alt and press Tab to open a menu with all open apps on the taskbar. While holding Alt, use Tab to cycle through apps. It’s an easy way to switch from your game to another open app, and you can also click with your mouse to select the app you want to switch to.

You can quickly minimize your game by clicking the Show Desktop button at the bottom right of your screen. This takes you to the desktop, allowing you to use your computer while your game runs in the background, paused. You can return to your game using the same method, making it a convenient way to switch between applications and minimize specific games.

Windows Key

Another method for minimizing games on your PC is using the Windows Key. Simply pressing the Windows Key opens the Start Menu on Windows. This method is widely used for minimizing games and other applications on PCs. Windows Key is also combined with other keys to produce different types of results. Here are a few of its variations:

  • Windows Key + Down/Up Arrow Key: Can resize an application or game that’s opened in Windowed mode or Windowed Fullscreen mode. 

Keep in mind that this doesn’t work with Full-Screen mode on games. Moreover, the Windows Key might not function in some apps or if assigned a different function within the game. In such cases, this method may not work. If that happens, you can continue with the next methods.

Windows Key + Tab

Windows key + Tab is a shortcut for minimizing games on a PC.
Keyboard Keys: Windows Key + Tab (Image by Tech4gamers)

Windows Key + Tab, similar to Alt + Tab, opens Task View, displaying app thumbnails for switching. It also creates separate desktops for different apps/games. Use Ctrl + Windows Key + Right/Left Arrow to switch between these desktops, but it might slow your PC and use more memory to run multiple desktops simultaneously.

You can also view a timeline of applications that you’ve opened up in recent times and quickly access them from this Task View Interface. To exit the interface, use the same Windows Key + Tab shortcut. This is also a great method of switching and minimizing applications and games.

Windows Key + G

Windows Key + G is a shortcut for minimizing games on a PC.
Keyboard Keys: Windows Key + G (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Another great shortcut that can be used for minimizing games is Windows Key + G. Once you press these keys, an overlay will open from where you can navigate to your desktop and minimize the game. This shortcut opens up the Xbox Game Bar Overlay which is pre-installed on Windows 10. 

Alt + Esc

Alt+ Esc is a shortcut for minimizing games on a PC.
Keyboard Keys: Alt + Esc (Image by Tech4gamers)

Alt + Esc minimizes one app at a time, moving to the next below it. It requires multiple open apps and doesn’t directly go to the desktop or minimize all. It only minimizes the currently displayed app, followed by others in sequence. To return to the first app/game, cycle through open apps by restoring and minimizing them individually until you reach the desired one.

This unknown shortcut minimizes one app at a time but only works if multiple apps are open. It won’t show the desktop but is handy for minimizing full-screen games. If you have a windowed app open, you can switch to it, letting your game pause in the background while you use your PC. It’s a bit technical but a useful way to minimize apps, especially for gaming.

Windows Key + D

Windows Key + D is a shortcut for minimizing games on a PC.
Keyboard Keys: Windows Key + D (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Pressing Windows Key + D minimizes the game and all open apps, displaying the desktop. Reusing it brings back all apps. It’s known as the Show Desktop shortcut, similar to Alt + Esc but minimizes all open apps, not just one, showing the desktop.

Press the same keys again to bring back the minimized game or apps. It’s a quick way to restore them without interrupting your progress while using your PC. Great for full-screen gaming without pausing your game.

Windows Key + M

Windows Key + M is a shortcut for minimizing games on a PC.
Keyboard Keys: Windows Key + M (Image by Tech4gamers)

Windows Key + M minimizes all windows to show the desktop, like Windows Key + D. But unlike Windows Key + D, it doesn’t restore minimized windows with the same keys. You’ll need Windows Key + Shift + M to restore them. It’s a quick way to minimize windows and games, offering speedy access to the desktop. This shortcut has been around since Windows 7, serving as an alternative if other methods fail to minimize games on a PC.

Ctrl + Alt + Delete 

Ctrl + Alt + Delete is a shortcut for minimizing games on a PC.
Keyboard Keys: Ctrl +Alt + Delete (Image by Tech4gamers)

Ctrl + Alt + Delete is an old shortcut with various functions across Windows versions. In Windows 7, it opens Task Manager; in Windows 10 and Windows 11, it displays a menu with options like Lock, Sign Out, and Task Manager. Task Manager helps minimize the current game/app and other open apps.

Ctrl + Alt + Delete open Task Manager, enabling you to switch between and close apps, including games. It’s useful for managing unresponsive apps and checking CPU, Memory, and Disk usage. It’s a solid option for minimizing or closing fullscreen games efficiently.

Ctrl+ Shift + Esc

Ctrl + Shift + Esc is a shortcut for minimizing games on a PC.
Keyboard Keys: Ctrl + Shift + Esc (Image by Tech4gamers)

Ctrl + Shift + Esc, similar to Ctrl + Alt + Delete, uses Task Manager to minimize apps. Unlike Ctrl + Alt + Delete, it directly opens Task Manager. When gaming in fullscreen, pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc minimizes the game, pauses it, and opens Task Manager. From there, you can close the game, switch apps, or perform tasks, enabling multitasking without losing game progress.

Esc

Esc is a shortcut for minimizing games on a PC.
Keyboard Key: Esc (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The last one on our list is the simple Escape key. Pressing it will pause most games and may even exit out of fullscreen mode on some games. Moreover, many games allow the option to minimize or quit to desktop in the pause menus, which can be accessed by pressing the Escape key. But it might also not work in games that don’t allow you to pause games like online FPS games and battle royale games.

Conclusion

Minimizing games on a PC streamlines multitasking. Shortcuts like Alt + Tab or Windows Key + D swiftly minimize games, letting you access other apps or the desktop without closing the game entirely. Keys like Ctrl + Shift + Esc open Task Manager instantly for fast game minimization and task handling. Mastering these shortcuts ensures seamless shifts between gaming and other tasks, maintaining progress without disrupting gameplay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Alt + Tab minimize my game?

Pressing Alt + Tab switches to different applications running on the computer. It minimizes the game to the next open application. However, if no other application is open, the game restores automatically after minimizing.

Why does my game minimize when I click on my second monitor?

That’s because your game is running in fullscreen mode. Any game or application running on the fullscreen mode will automatically minimize when they are not running as the active window. That’s why when you click on your second monitor, the activity shifts from the game in fullscreen mode to the other application or the desktop on your second monitor.

Why can’t I bring back the game that is minimized?

Sometimes, games get minimized and don’t restore when you click on the tabs. Some of these games include Call of Duty and Elder Scrolls. To restore them, you can use the Alt + Esc shortcut or the Task Manager. If it still doesn’t restore.

Why are the fullscreen games randomly minimized?

This could depend on several factors such as faulty GPU drivers, hindering background apps, notifications, and a potential virus. You can update drivers, exit all background apps turn off their notifications, and check for viruses to fix this issue.


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