How to Fix the Alt+Tab Bug in Windows 10

A hand presses alt+tab on a Windows keyboard

Photo: Jasni (Shutterstock)

Alt+Tab is one of Windows 10’s best shortcuts. It allows you to not only switch between apps, but to see a preview of all your open windows so you can choose exactly which one you want to switch to. It’s so good, there’s even a third-party plug-in for macOS to replicate it. Unfortunately, it’s also broken right now. But here’s how to fix it.

Why is the Alt+Tab shortcut broken?

For some reason, the August 2021 update KB5005033 (as well as the July 2021 preview KB5004296) for Windows 10 put Alt+Tab out of commission. There’s no explanation why, but something in the update is interfering with Alt+Tab’s ability to function.

Now, that doesn’t mean that Windows will outright ignore you when you press Alt+Tab. The system still tries to perform the shortcut, but it fails in different ways. Normally when you press Alt+Tab, it moves through your various app windows, then opens the one selected when you release the keys. With this bug, Alt+Tab will often just send you back to your desktop. If the app in question is in full-screen, you get a black screen when attempting to switch back to it, with no way to actually return to that app.

It even has a mind of its own: One user reports that when launching a full-screen game from Steam, Windows Alt-Tabs out of the game and back to the desktop.

How to solve Windows 10’s Alt+Tab problem

Luckily, we do have a workaround for this glitch, albeit a strange one. To return Alt+Tab to working order, you just need to disable the News and Interest feed. To do so, just right-click on your taskbar, scroll over to “News and interests,” then choose “Turn Off.”

Alternatively, you can uninstall the update that’s causing the bug to begin with. We don’t recommend this method, however, since you’ll be missing out on the crucial security patches the August 2021 update provides. Reverting to a previous version of Windows will leave you open to those vulnerabilities.

Still, if you’d like to uninstall the update, here’s how: Head over to “Update & Security,” click “View update history,” then click “Uninstall updates.” Now, from the Control Panel, choose the KB5004296 (July 2021 preview) or KB5005033 (August 2021) update, and click on the uninstall button.

 

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