Suppose you’ve been gaming for a while, and you need to search up something on your browser. To do that, you need to acquire the rest of your PC’s functions, 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. Minimizing your game will allow you to have access to the rest of your PC without the hurdle of opening and to load the game again. But how do you do that? In this article, we’ll be exploring different methods on how to minimize a game on PC and answering questions regarding this topic in detail.
Quickest Methods of Minimizing a game on PC
In the following paragraphs, we’ve provided the 8 easiest keyboard shortcuts on how to minimize a game on a PC. Some of these features may differ depending on the Windows version you’re using, but it’s worth it to test them all out to see which one’s most suitable for you. Also, a number of these shortcuts do more than just minimize your game, so be on the lookout for that. With that said, here are the 10 simple methods on how to minimize a game on PC.
Alt + Tab
Alt + Tab is the easiest and most efficient keyboard shortcut if you’re wondering how to minimize a game on PC. You have to hold the Alt key down and press the Tab key to use this. This opens a menu that features all opened applications on the taskbar. Then, with the Alt key pressed down, you can switch between all open applications by pressing the Tab key any number of times. In this way, you can switch from your game to another open application. Instead of pressing the Tab key, you can also use your mouse to click on the application you want to switch to. But if you have no other applications opened except your game, you can use your mouse to click on the Show Desktop button placed right around the bottom right corner of your screen. Clicking on that will minimize your game and bring you to the desktop, from where you can continue to use your computer freely while your game runs in the background while being paused. You can also switch back to your game using this same shortcut. This is a cool method for switching between applications and minimizing certain games.
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 PC. Windows Key is also combined with other keys to produce different types of results. For example, Windows Key + Down Arrow Key can be used for resizing an application or game that’s opened in Windowed mode or Windowed Fullscreen mode. However, this doesn’t work with Full-Screen mode on games. Likewise, the Windows Key + Up Arrow Key does the opposite.
But it is also worth noting that the Windows Key may not work on some games and certain applications. This could be because the game has assigned another function to it inside the game. If that’s the case, this method might not be useful to you, and if it doesn’t work, you can try using the other methods we’ve mentioned here.
Windows Key + Tab
Windows Key + Tab is also a popular choice like the Alt + Tab shortcut and serves the same function. It opens a Task View Interface which presents a thumbnail view of all open applications. You can use it for switching between different applications and games. You can also create a separate desktop with this feature and open different applications on that new desktop. And multiple desktops can be switched between using Ctrl + Windows Key + Right/Left Arrow Key shortcut. Although, running multiple desktops at the same time can cause your PC to slow down a bit and use a bit more memory. 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
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. The Xbox Game Bar allows you to take screenshots, record gameplay footage, change system settings and see the system’s resource usage. It also comes with some shortcuts such as the Windows Key + Alt + Print Screen, which is used for taking a screenshot, Windows Key + Alt + R for start recording your screen and gameplay, and Windows Key + Alt + G for recording clips of the last 30 seconds you’ve spent on your PC. You can also change the mic and sound settings by using the widgets in the overlay. The Xbox Game Bar overlay is a great feature that allows different widgets and easy access to many features of Windows. In general, you can use the Xbox Game Bar feature for a lot of things and minimize your game as well. Lastly, we’d like to add that this function might not always work because Windows turn off the Xbox Game Bar on occasions to save resources so you’ll have to go to its settings and repair the app.
Alt + Esc
Alt + Esc allows you to minimize any given application and switch to the one right below it. But this feature only works when you have more than one application open at a time. It cannot directly skip to the desktop and minimize all open applications. Instead, it only minimizes the app that is currently being displayed on the screen. This window is minimized first, then the one after it, and so on. To switch back to the first app or game, you will need to cycle through the rest of the open applications by restoring and minimizing them one by one until you reach the first app. Not many people know about this shortcut which isn’t surprising since it doesn’t work when there aren’t any apps open other than the one being displayed. It minimizes one application one at a time and doesn’t display the desktop but can still be used to minimize full-screen games. If you have another application opened in windowed mode, you can switch to that and then continue using your PC while your game is paused in the background. A little more technical than the rest but still a great method for minimizing applications.
Windows Key + D
Holding the Windows Key down and pressing the D key will minimize the game as well as all other open applications. It will hide all the apps that are on the screen and display the desktop. Reusing this shortcut will bring all the apps back to your screen. Windows + D key is also called the Show Desktop shortcut because it minimizes all apps and brings you to the desktop. This shortcut works in the same way the Alt key + Esc key shortcut works. But unlike Alt + Esc, the Windows + D shortcut minimizes all the applications that are open at the time and shows the desktop. Also, if you want your game or application to re-appear, you can press the same keys again and all the applications that were minimized will reappear on the screen. This is also a quick and efficient method of minimizing your game if you’re playing on full screen and don’t wanna stop your progress while having access to your PC.
Windows Key + M
Windows Key + M is the same as the Windows Key + D shortcut. It minimizes all open windows and applications and brings the user to the desktop. But unlike the Windows Key + D shortcut, the Windows Key + M shortcut doesn’t restore the minimized windows on pressing these keys again. Instead, you’ll have to press the Windows Key + Shift + M to restore the minimized applications. It is also a very fast method of minimizing windows and games and having quick access to the desktop. It is a fairly old shortcut that’s been available since the release of Windows 7. If the other shortcuts fail, you can try out this one for how to minimize a game on PC.
Ctrl + Alt + Delete
Ctrl + Alt + Delete is a very old keyboard shortcut that performs different tasks in different versions of Windows. For example, in Windows 7 it opens the task manager whereas, in Windows 10 and Windows 11, it opens and covers the screen with a menu that provides you with different options. These include different functions like Lock, Sign Out, Switch User, Change a password, and Task Manager. The main one we’re focusing on is the Task Manager. Clicking on the Task Manager option opens it up and allows the option to minimize the game or application that was running before pressing the shortcut, as well as all other open applications. Ctrl + Alt + Delete allows you to perform different options and minimize games and applications using the Task Manager. The Task Manager allows you to switch to, and close applications and is widely used for handling unresponsive apps and games. It is also used for checking CPU, Memory, and Disk usage of a PC and some other features which we’re not going to go over. Overall, the Ctrl + Alt + Delete is another great option to minimize and close games that are running on fullscreen mode.
Ctrl + Shift + Esc
While not built for it like other shortcuts here, Ctrl + Shift + Esc can also be used for minimizing games and applications that are open on the screen at a time. Ctrl + Shift + Esc is much like the Ctrl + Alt + Delete in that they both rely on the Task Manager for minimizing the application. But unlike the Ctrl + Alt + Delete, the Ctrl + Shift + Esc allows you to directly open the Task Manager instead of going through the menu first. When you’re playing a game on fullscreen, pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys will minimize the game and open up the task manager, and the game will also automatically be paused. From the Task Manager, you can close the game, switch to a different application or perform other tasks. Ctrl + Shift + Esc is also a great way for multi-tasking without losing the continuous progress of your game.
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.
In this section, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about problems regarding how to minimize a game on PC on fullscreen mode as well as minimizing other applications on PC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Alt + Tab is a keyboard shortcut used to switch to different applications running on the computer. Pressing it will minimize the game to the next open application. However, if there isn’t any other open application, the game will restore automatically after it is minimized.
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.
D key doesn’t usually minimize games but if this is happening to you, the Windows + D keyboard shortcut has something to do with it. Sometimes the Windows key doesn’t open the start menu if you want and instead gets automatically pushed down. Make sure that the Windows key isn’t automatically held down, which may be causing the Windows + D shortcut to function unintentionally when you press the D key. If this is the case then to fix this, you can press the Windows key again to keep it from being pressed down. That should fix the problem.
iCloud can cause your games to minimize randomly because of a notification. To fix this, you can exit the iCloud app entirely so that it doesn’t run in the background and annoy you with notifications. You can reopen it and check the notifications afterward when you’ve stopped playing the game.
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.
This could depend on a number of factors such as faulty GPU drivers, hindering background apps, notifications, and a potential virus. You can update drivers, exit all background apps and turn off their notifications, and check for viruses to fix this issue.
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[How To’s & Guides Editor]
Haddi has been in the Gaming and tech Space for over 10 Years Now; he has worked on notable websites like eXputer, Gamepur, Gear Siege, Gearnuke, and plenty more. He is an expert at Games & PC Hardware; you can expect him to solve any problem. People often joke, that if there is any problem anyone can solve, Haddi can solve it faster. Currently, Haddi writes and manages a Team of Experts at Tech4Gamers.
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