What is 'Aero Shake' and How Do I Use It?

Bring a window to the fore in Windows 7 with Aero Shake

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

There are tons of little tricks in Windows including a handy companion to the show desktop feature called Aero Shake.

So what is 'Aero Shake'?

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

Get Shakin'

Aero Shake is easy to use: just grab the window you want to isolate by clicking its title bar -- that's the bar at the very top of the window, which will normally have a red "X" in the upper right-hand corner. Grab it by clicking and holding the left mouse button.

Now shake your 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 should automatically minimize to the taskbar. That way they'll still be available to use when you're ready to introduce chaos to your newfound order.

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

Aero Shake takes a bit of practice to get used to, but if you do it a few times you'll quickly get the hang of it. The key is not to move the shaken window to far across the desktop lest you trigger a hot corner feature like when you touch the upper right corner of your desktop with a program window to maximize it. If you do something like that, all your shaking will be for naught.

You may be asking yourself, "why would I want to use such a feature in the first place?" The answer is simple. Sometimes you just need to focus on a single window when you've got tons of program windows open.

You could simply go through each window on your desktop and either close or minimize them but that's not very efficient, is it? Alternatively, you could click Show Desktop and then re-open the window you want, but again that's a waste of time when only a little shake of your mouse will do.

If Aero Shake seems like something that would (or does) annoy the heck out of you, unfortunately, there's no easy solution. The only way to turn it off it is to dive deep into a section of Windows reserved mostly for power users known as the registry. It's not a hard issue to solve, but disabling Aero Shake is beyond the aims of this article. Besides the registry isn't really something you should mess around with unless you're an experienced user. If that's you, however, this tutorial on how to turn off Aero Shake in Windows 7 will help.

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 your open windows and their appearance. We already talked about the upper right corner trick to automatically maximize a window. 

Another hot corner is in the lower right of your desktop--sadly these hot corners do not work in Windows 8 as Microsoft added different functionality to that version of Windows. Drag a window to the lower right in Windows 7 or Windows 10, and it will automatically snap to exactly half of your screen on the right-hand side. 

Drag a window to the lower left side and you will snap it ​in the left half of your display.

Aero Shake and other little 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 definitely help.

Updated by Ian Paul.