Alt-Tab is one of the most commonly used keyboard shortcuts for switching between tabs and is very useful when multitasking. However, in some cases, this feature stops working. If you experience this problem on your device, don’t panic. Alt-Tab not working is a common problem with the Windows user experience.
Fortunately, there are many solutions that can help Windows 11/10 users to fix Alt-Tab not working issue, and we will introduce them in this article. In this article, we will discuss the 9 best ways to fix Alt-Tab not working on Windows 11 and 10.
# Why is Alt-Tab not working in Windows 11/10?
Alt + Tab is a useful shortcut. It allows users to switch between different windows fairly skillfully. But some users have reported that the Alt + Tab shortcut doesn’t work in Windows 11/10. There are many reasons why this problem can occur. By knowing these potential causes, it will be easier to fix and prevent this problem.
Here are some common causes of this issue on Windows PCs:
- Hardware failure: If you’re having trouble using the Alt-Tab key, your keyboard may be damaged by dirt.
- Drivers: If your drivers are missing, outdated, or incompatible with your system, they can interfere with the functionality of Alt-Tab shortcuts.
- Peripheral issues: Alt-Tab shortcuts may stop working due to issues with peripherals such as headsets, mice, or USB keyboard devices
- Registry issues: If you see an Alt-Tab not working message on your screen, there is a good chance that there is an issue in the registry. Many times, existing applications can cause problems with newly installed applications.
- Issues with the Windows Explorer process: In most cases, it is an issue with the Windows Explorer process that prevents Alt-Tab from working on the laptop.
Now that you understand the causes of this problem, it’s time to move on to the below solutions to it.
Method 1: Check Hardware
The first thing you need to check is if there is anything wrong with the keyboard. To check if the keyboard is faulty, connect the keyboard to another computer and check that it works as expected.
If the keyboard is not working properly, the keyboard needs to be replaced.
Method 2: Disconnect Peripherals
Another major cause of Alt-Tab shortcut problems is peripherals.
Therefore, you must remove and reconnect the peripheral.
Unplug the monitor and CPU power cords from the electrical outlets.
Do not plug in other peripherals.
Turn on the computer and see if Alt+Tab is working.
If the problem is not resolved, go to the next solution.
Method 3: Restart Windows Explorer
The easiest way to fix Alt + Tab not working issue is to restart the Windows Explorer process. Windows Explorer may have encountered a bug or error that disables Alt + Tab functionality. Restart Windows Explorer to try and resolve this issue.
Follow the steps below:
Step 1: Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys together to open Task Manager.
Step 2: Locate Windows Explorer.
Step 3: Right-click on Windows Explorer and select Restart.
Method 4: Update Your Keyboard Driver
Drivers are used to operate the hardware connected to the computer. Outdated keyboard drivers can also prevent your Alt-tab from working properly.
Therefore, it is a good idea to update the keyboard drivers on your computer, especially if you are upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11. You can do this manually.
To do this, it takes time, patience and computer skills. If you want it to be quick and easy, let Driver Booster help you easily.
Driver Booster quickly identifies outdated drivers and finds the right match for your system and device. Driver Booster supports more than 12 million devices and drivers from 6+ brands. Driver Booster’s driver source is also the official source of the original hardware manufacturer and has passed Microsoft WHQL and IObit testing. So you can relax while choosing which updates to apply. Even without the internet, Driver Booster can install missing drivers offline.
For your peace of mind when updating drivers, Driver Booster includes a backup feature. Before updating any drivers, the backup feature allows you to save a copy of your current drivers, or you can simply rely on the automatic backup option to save a copy of the drivers being updated.
This way, if you run into any issues with the updated drivers, you can choose to restore one or more of the backed-up drivers via the restore feature.
Step 1: Download and install the IObit Driver Booster on your system.
Step 2: Run Driver Booster so that it can scan your system deeply for driver updates.
Open Driver Booster on your PC and click the central “Scan” button. Wait for the scan to complete and you will receive a list of all outdated drivers.
Step 3: Update your outdated keyboard driver.
In general, it’s not just the keyboard drivers on your device that are outdated. So you can select the “Update Now” option to update all outdated drivers in one click without any hassle. There is also an “Update” button if you just want to update the keyboard driver. You just have to find your keyboard device and click the update button next to it.
Method 5: Change the AltTabSettings Registry Values
As mentioned earlier, one of the important reasons for Alt-Tab shortcuts not working is registry issues. Registry values change when you install new applications or change Windows settings. You need to make sure that the AltTabSettings registry values are fine and that they are not causing the problem.
To check this, follow what the following tutorial shows.
Step 1: Press Windows + R to launch the Run Command Box.
Step 2: Type regedit and hit Enter.
Step 3: On the Registry window, navigate to the path below:
Step 4: Look for AltTabSettings.
Tips: If you can not find AltTabSettings, you need to create it. To do that, simply right-click the right pane and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Then name it as AltTabSettings.
Step 5: Double-click on AltTabSettings and change its value data to 1, then click OK.
Method 6: Enable Hotkeys
Sometimes “Alt-Tab not working” can be attributed to disabled hotkeys. Windows hotkeys are essentially certain key combinations such as Alt+Tab, Windows+R, Windows+I, etc.
If hotkeys are disabled on your computer, the Alt-Tab keys will have no effect. So you have to make sure it’s enabled.
Step 1: On your keyboard, press Windows + R, and type gpedit.msc and click OK to open Group Policy Editor.
Step 2: Once get the Group Policy Editor window, navigate the following path:
Local Computer Policy > User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer
Step 3: Find the Turn off Windows Key hotkeys option. Double-click this option and then select the Enable option.
Step 4: Click Apply, and then OK.
Method 7: Enable Peek
Some individuals facing issues with Alt-Tab not working have claimed that the Alt+Tab shortcut also relies on Peek to work properly. If Peek is not enabled on your computer, the Alt+Tab shortcut may not work as expected.
Follow the steps below to enable it:
Step 1: Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run tool and type sysdm.cpl. Then press Enter.
Step 2: Switch to the Advanced tab then click on the Settings button under Performance.
Step 3: Ensure that enable peek option is checked and if not, click the small box on the left side of the option enable peek.
Method 8: Run Keyboard Troubleshooter
If the Alt+Tab shortcut doesn’t work, you should run the built-in troubleshooter. Windows 10/11 comes pre-equipped with a number of troubleshooters that allow you to diagnose and fix specific issues. Keyboard Troubleshooting automatically identifies and fixed problems that prevent your system and keyboard from working effectively.
Here’s how to run the keyboard troubleshooter on a Windows PC:
Step 1: Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app.
Step 2: Navigate to the System tab.
Step 3: Scroll down to the Troubleshoot section.
Step 4: Click on Other troubleshooters.
Step 5: Locate the Keyboard troubleshooter, and click on the Run button next to it.
Method 9: Disable Sticky Keys
Sticky Keys is a useful feature on Windows computers that makes keyboard shortcuts easier. But it also causes Alt-tab to not work.
Therefore, you should disable it:
Step 1: Press Windows + I to open Settings on your computer.
Step 2: Select Accessibility on the left pane and tap on Keyboard.
Step 3: Turn off the toggle for Sticky keys.
Hope this article helps you. In most cases, the Alt+Tab not working issue will be resolved by one of the nine solutions given in this article.