What Is Aero Shake and How Do I Use It?

Bring a single window to the forefront in Windows

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, which turns a cluttered desktop into a model of organization.

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 clicking 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 click Show Desktop and then reopen the window you want, but that takes longer than a little shake of your mouse.

Disabling Aero Shake

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, an online tutorial on how to turn off Aero Shake can walk you through it.

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.