What Is Aero Shake and How Do I Use It?

Bring a single window to the forefront in Windows

There are tons of little tricks in Windows including a handy companion to the show desktop feature called Aero Shake, which turns a cluttered desktop into a model of organization.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7.

Windows 10 Desktop
How do I get rid of all those program windows but one in a single go?.

What Is Aero Shake?

First introduced with the Windows 7 operating system and available on all versions of the operating system since then, Aero Shake minimizes all open windows on your desktop except one. As the feature's name implies, the one you want to remain visible is the window you "shake." 

Get Shakin'

Aero Shake is easy to use: grab the window you want to isolate by selecting its title bar at the top of the window, which usually has a red "X" in the upper right corner. Grab it by clicking and holding the left mouse button.

Shake the mouse back and forth quickly, while continuing to hold down the button. After a few quick shakes, all the other open windows on your desktop minimize to the taskbar where they are available to use when you're ready to reintroduce chaos to your newfound order.

To bring those windows up again and restore your desktop, repeat the same shake routine. 

Aero Shake takes some practice to get used to, but after you do it a few times, you'll get the hang of it. The secret is not to move the shaken window too far across the desktop lest you trigger a hot corner feature like the one that occurs when you touch the upper right corner of your desktop with a program window to maximize it. If you do something like that, your shaking is for naught.

Why Use Aero Shake

If you are wondering why you'd use such a feature, the answer is simple. Sometimes you need to focus on a single window when you have tons of program windows open.

Although you could go through each window on your desktop and close or minimize it, that's not efficient. As an alternative, you could select Show Desktop and then reopen the window you want, but that takes longer than a little shake of your mouse.

Disabling Aero Shake (Windows 10 only)

Even if Aero Shake seems like a feature that would (or does) annoy the heck out of you, there's no easy way for the casual Windows user to dismantle it. The only way to turn it off it is to dive deep into a section of Windows reserved for power users known as the registry. The registry isn't something you should mess around with unless you're an experienced user. If that's you, however, see the steps below on how to disable it.

  1. Before you start any tweaking in the registry, back it up.

  2. In the Search bar, begin entering regedit and select Registry Editor when it appears in the search results.

    Searching for the registry editor in Windows 10.
  3. Under the registry hive HKEY_CURRENT_USER go to \SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ Advanced.

    Navigating through the registry.
  4. Right-click on Advanced and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value to create a new entry.

    Creating a new DWORD.
  5. Name the new DWORD exactly (no spaces) DisallowShaking.

    Naming the new entry DisallowShaking.
  6. Double-click the new DWORD. This will open up the value. Under Value data, change it from a 0 to 1.

    Changing the DWORD value.
  7. Select OK. This will immediately disable the Aero Shake feature.

Bonus Tips

If Aero Shake feels like a handy trick you'd like to use, there are a few others worth knowing about that similarly control open windows and their appearance, such as the upper right corner trick to automatically maximize a window. 

Another hot corner is in the lower right of your desktop. Unfortunately, these hot corners do not work in Windows 8 because Microsoft added different functionality to that version of Windows. However, when you drag a window to the lower right corner in Windows 7 or Windows 10, it automatically snaps to exactly half of your screen on the right side. 

Drag a window to the lower left side to snap it to the left half of your display.

Aero Shake and other tricks for manipulating your open program windows aren't for everyone, but if you need an efficient way to deal with all the various programs you use in a day they can help.

  • How do I use Aero Snap?

    Aero Snap, first introduced with Windows 7, is a tool for resizing and creating split-screen views in Windows. In Windows 10 and 11, this feature is called Snap Assist. In addition to using a mouse, you can also use these keyboard shortcuts: Windows+Left arrow, Windows+Right arrow, Windows+Up arrow, or Windows+Down arrow.

  • What is Aero Peek?

    Aero Peek was one of several Windows 7 features that allowed users to hover over the Aero Peek icon in the taskbar to view the desktop. In later Windows versions, this feature is Show Desktop. You can activate the peek feature from Taskbar Settings or use the Windows+D or Windows+M keyboard shortcut to minimize active windows and show the desktop.

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