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If you’ve played PC games, you know that most of them run in borderless full screen mode. And that means that you can’t simply click the minimize button at the top of the window like other programs in order to minimize them.
That’s great for immersion into the game. But if you need to momentarily minimize your game for any reason, it can be a bit of a pain. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can minimize your game, and we’ll show you how to do it.
Set the Game to Run in Windowed Mode
If you tend to game with background windows open, such as YouTube or Discord, then you may consider setting your game to run in windowed mode. This will cause your game to launch in a normal window with the minimize, maximize, and exit buttons at the top, allowing you to quickly minimize the screen, so you can easily multitask.
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Many newer games are made with a native windowed mode function available in the settings. However, for older games, this isn’t usually an option. That is, unless you can find a workaround.
The original release of Age of Empires 2 is one such example. Normally, you can only play the game in full screen mode. But thanks to the active community, there are mods available that allow you to configure the game to run in windowed mode.
Of course, not every game has a native windowed mode or an active community developing quality of life mods like this. But not to worry! You have other options.
Windows Keyboard Shortcuts
If you’re looking to quickly minimize nearly any PC game, then you have a ton of options to choose from. Not every keyboard shortcut will work, but one of the following is almost guaranteed to work for whichever game you’re playing.
Alt + Tab
One of the most recognizable hotkeys on the list is Alt + Tab. Pressing the Alt + Tab key will switch to the last active window. However, if you hold down the Alt key, it brings up an overlay that contains all the open windows you currently have running on your computer. You can then use your mouse to click on the Window you want to bring to focus, or cycle through them by pressing the Tab key.
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With a different window focused, you can then see and access the Start menu and taskbar (as long as the new focused window is maximized).
Alt + Enter
If you’re looking to minimize a full screen game on your PC, then you might try Alt + Enter. This shortcut often allows you to switch from full screen to windowed mode in games and applications, where you can then minimize the game.
However, this doesn’t always work with all games. And sometimes, even when in windowed mode, a game might not allow your mouse cursor to traverse the window’s internal boundaries. This means you might not be able to click the minimize button at the top of the window or click on another window in the taskbar.
If Alt + Tab doesn’t do the trick for you, you can always press the Windows key. This will bring up the Start menu and taskbar, allowing you to change over to a different window.
Windows Key + M
Another option for minimizing your games is to press the Windows key + M. This will completely minimize your game, along with any other windows you have running, and return you to the desktop.
Windows Key + D
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Much like the Windows key + M shortcut, the Windows key + D shortcut will also minimize your game and all other open windows. However, unlike the Windows key + M, you can actually use Windows key + D to not only minimize your game, but also maximize it by using the shortcut after you’ve used it to minimize your game.
Windows Key + G
If you have the Game bar enabled on your computer, then you can also use the Windows key + G shortcut to bring up the Game Bar. This can allow you to minimize the game.
Ctrl + Alt + Del
If all else fails, there’s always the good old Ctrl + Alt + Delete shortcut. This will bring up a simple screen with a few options, with one of them allowing you to launch the Task Manager.
By clicking the Task Manager option, it will launch the Task Manager, making the Start menu and taskbar visible, and allows you to then select a different window.
Ctrl + Shift + Esc
An alternative way to bring up the Task Manager directly is with Ctrl + Shift + Esc. If you don’t want the interrupt screen coming up before launching Task Manager, you can try this shortcut.