Flip 3D in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

Windows Vista introduced a graphical feature called Flip 3D for switching between open applications. The feature was located on the Taskbar. Flip 3D displays your open windows in a stack and allows you to preview all of your open windows without having to click the taskbar. Flip 3D is part of the Windows Aero experience. If you find your computer does not support Aero, or if you are using a color scheme other than Windows Aero, you can view the open programs and windows on your computer by pressing ALT+TAB. To move through the open windows quickly, you can press the TAB key, press the arrow keys, or use your mouse to get the job done.

However, for some reason that feature is no more to be seen on the Windows 7 Taskbar. The characteristic of Windows Flip 3D is that, you can quickly preview all of your open windows (for example, open files, folders, and documents) without having to click the taskbar. Flip 3D displays your open windows in a stack. At the top of the stack, you’ll see one open window. To see other windows, you can flip through the stack.

In this post we will see several features, see how to use Flip 3D and answer questions about Flip 3D.

flip 3d windows Flip 3D in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

Create a Flip 3D Shortcut

If you have accidentally deleted the Flip 3D icon on your taskbar, this tutorial will help create a shortcut on your Windows desktop in few simple steps. Microsoft has dropped the Flip 3D shortcut from Windows 7′s taskbar however, one can use Flip 3D by pressing Windows + Tab hotkey.

Right click on your desktop. Select New > Shortcut. Copy-Paste RunDll32 DwmApi #105 into the location box.

Flip 3D shortcut Flip 3D in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

Click Next.

In name enter Flip 3D, and click on Finish. Copy/Cut-Paste your new shortcut where ever you want. You can stop here if you would not like to change the appearance of the icon. To get the default Flip-3D icon, right-click on the new Flip-3D icon and select Properties. Then, under the Shortcut tab, open Change Icon.

Next, under the location box, type C:\windows\explorer.exe and click OK to get new icons. Select Flip-3D icon from the available icons and click OK and then Apply.

Finally, if you need, right-click on the icon and select Pin to taskbar to access the icon directly from the Taskbar.

Once you have Flip 3D shortcut on the taskbar, you can use the key combination to activate Flip 3D (Windows key + 1), if you have pinned Flip 3D shortcut towards extreme left.

Where is the Flip 3D Icon

A copy of the Flip 3D icon is present in each user profile, and also in the Default user profile. Follow these steps to restore the icon to your user account:

Click Start, type the following and press Enter :

%systemdrive%\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

Right-click the Switch between windows shortcut and choose Copy (Keyboard shortcut: CTRL+C)

Again, click Start, type the following and press Enter:

%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

Right-click an empty area in the folder, and choose Paste (Keyboard shortcut: CTRL+V).

Flip 3D Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows Key+Tab: Keep the Windows key pressed down and repeatedly hit on Tab to be able to flip through the windows. One can also use the arrow key, to move back and forth, through the open windows, along with the mouse scroll wheel.

Windows Key+CTRL+Tab: After clicking on all 3, you can take your fingers off Windows & Ctrl keys, and hit on tab only, to scroll the windows.

Alt+Tab : This will arrange your windows, horizontally in the following fashion. Was there in earlier versions of Windows too.

Get Flip 3D in all editions

The Flip3D Feature is available only in Windows 7 and Vista’s Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate versions. And, yes, you have to be running Aero to be able to use it.

But if your version does not have Flip3D, you can try the Flip 3D Alternative SmartFlip.

Limit number of windows displayed with Flip 3D

You  limit the number of windows displayed with Flip 3D in Windows by tweaking the registry. This will also speed up Flip 3D. You will have to tweak the registry, however.

Open Regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERS\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM

Here, create a new DWORD (32-bit) entry and name it as Max3DWindows. Then, set the Dword value to the maximum number of windows you would like to have open. For high-end computers, a figure of 8-10 is OK, whereas for low-end computers 4-5 could be considered.

Click OK and Exit. Reboot.

Activate Flip 3D from any corner

Wouldn’t you like to simply choose a corner of the screen and/or have the middle mouse button to activate Flip 3D. Once activated you can use the mouse to scroll through your open windows and select one. Yes, a utility called Vista Flip 3D activator just claims to do so. It is a tiny utility designed to enhance the Flip 3D feature of Windows Vista and Windows 7 by allowing you to control it with your mouse. with this utility, you can select a single corner or multiple ones and set up a mouse button to activate Flip 3D.

Windows Vista Flip 3d activator Flip 3D in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

After downloading and installing Windows Vista Flip 3D Activator, just move the cursor to a corner of the screen that you choose, and find the Flip 3D activated.

Disable Flip 3D

This article will tell you how to disable Flip 3D in Windows. Ultimate, Business, Professional or Enterprise users can do it through Group Policy. But editing the registry works for all.

Open Regedit and navigate to key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DWM

If the key DWM does not exist, rt click on Windows and create a new key. Name it as DWM. Next, in RHS panel, rt click on blank space and create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value by right-click on any blank space. Select New. Assign DisallowFlip3d as the value name, and set its value data as 1 (0×00000001).

Exit Regedit. This will disable Flip 3D. To re-enable it, simply delete this DWM key.

Flip 3D not working

If, for some unknown reason Flip 3D has stopped working on your computer, you can try the following. To flush and re-enable Aero, open Run, copy-paste the following command and hit Enter.

rundll32.exe Dwmapi.dll,DwmEnableComposition

This will re-enable Aero by flushing it.

Flip 3D in Windows 8

In Windows 8, Microsoft has discontinued Flip 3D feature. You can now use the Win+Tab combination for the new switcher or the Alt+Tab switcher.

Applies to:

  • Windows 7 – Home Premium, Professional. Ultimate. Enterprise editions
  • Windows Vista – Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, Enterprise editions.

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Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com. Please create a System Restore Point before trying out any software & be careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware. Add me on Google+.
  • Andrey de Oliveira

    I think after the creation of the Windows 7 taskbar, this feature is not as useful as in Windows Vista. I used it a few times in Windows 7, just to test. Rarely use the ALT + TAB too.

    Anyway, I think the Flip 3D and alt + tab should have become one thing only.

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