Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Alt+Spacebar, N: Minimize an application

Posted in Applications,Menus,Windows by estephen on March 21st, 2007

If you click on the icon in the upper left of an application (at the beginning of the title bar), a little menu opens, which is called the System menu:

[Image: Application system menu]

The keyboard method of opening this menu is Alt+Spacebar. Then you can press N to Minimize the application, or X to Maximize, or any of the other underlined letters.

So, to minimize any application: Press Alt+Spacebar then N.

17 Responses to 'Alt+Spacebar, N: Minimize an application'

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  1. Jim said,

    on March 22nd, 2007 at 7:55 am

    I just discovered that on my terminal running XP Home, Cntrl + Alt + an arrow key will change the orientation of the display. (e.g. Cntrl + Alt + the down arrow will cause the screen to display upside down)

    But, this does not work on my terminals running XP Pro. Is this a legitimate shortcut, a quirk of XP Home or a setting?

  2. estephen said,

    on March 22nd, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    It’s not an official Windows shortcut. My bet is that on your machine running XP Home, you have some software installed that came with either your monitor or your video card (or such software was preinstalled by the vendor of your computer). Check to see if you have an icon in the system tray (in the lower right) that has a name such as “Rotate” or “Orientation” and if you right-click on it, you can learn more about it. Then you can either change the shortcut keys or disable them (if that’s what yhou want to do), or have that same software installed on your XP Pro terminals if you want them to support the same shortcuts.

  3. Amanjeev said,

    on April 17th, 2007 at 5:20 am

    I am working on linux right now and this works here too. I always used to wonder how the hell one accesses that part. ALT + Spacebar – good to know.


  4. Jackson said,

    on September 5th, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Oh gosh, now it’s not such a pain to minimize Windows update!

    Thanks so much.

  5. kay said,

    on May 22nd, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    it doesn’t always work

  6. estephen said,

    on June 19th, 2008 at 12:30 am

    kay, can you let me know where it hasn’t worked for you? It really should work for every Windows application that has an icon in the title bar.

  7. George said,

    on July 8th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    I tried with an appl. calls Glovia and did not work.
    Pressing Atl+Space Bar shows an small screen. Then holding still Alt+Space bar I pressed N. Nothing happen. If I do the same in Firefox it works. Thnks

  8. estephen said,

    on July 10th, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Sorry George — never heard of Glovia, but apparently it uses non-standard keys. Contact the folks who make Glovia and tell them to get with the program!

  9. Alan said,

    on November 5th, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    I like your office raises)

  10. adamoerikom said,

    on September 19th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Stunning blog and good article. High 5 for u man !

  11. farid said,

    on November 5th, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Hi, so I’ve recently discovered the shortcut Alt Spacebar N to minimize an active window but I doesn’t seem to work every time on winamp.
    Can anyone please help me on that xD

  12. NomeDemon said,

    on January 18th, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    hey…is there anyway how can i disable it? i mean the alt+spacebar shortcut?

  13. Moo7aa said,

    on January 31st, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    hey … a better way … windows logo key + down arrow twice …. try it

  14. estephen said,

    on February 11th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Moo7aa, that’s great for Windows 7! When I get around to updating this blog for Windows 7, I’ll post this, thanks!

  15. estephen said,

    on February 11th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    NomeDemon, nope, none of the standard Windows shortcuts like this are easy to disable. (Unless you write the app, then you can trap that key as an event.)

  16. trinity devine said,

    on August 13th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    When I did the Windows Key + down arrow (on my Windows 7 pro Machine), it did not minimize firefox. It just made the window take up last space on the desktop. Maybe Im confused but I thought minimize was to retire the window to the task bar (to hide things quickly from prying eyes).

  17. Freethought said,

    on January 12th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Trinity, you have to press down the down arrow twice. Or, with windows 7, by pressing Windows Key + Left, or +Right arrow, you can move the Window to split screen viewing. ….Very handy shortcut.

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