Switch Between Metro and Desktop on Windows 8 Computer

Windows 8 is now offering Metro User Interface and traditional Desktop for Windows 8 Computers. Windows 8 users will have to learn new ways to use Metro User Interface of Windows 8 and simultaneously use Desktop and other applications running on Desktop. This post talks about how you can enjoy both Metro Applications of Windows 8 and simultaneously use Desktop Applications for maximum productivity. Switching between Metro User interface and Desktop of Windows 8 can be done using new keyboard shortcuts of Windows 8 and using Left and Right Clicks of Mouse Cursor on Windows 8 Computer. Given below are few desktop shortcuts that you can use to switch between Metro and Desktop Mode of Windows 8 Computer.

  • Windows Key on Keyboard can be pressed to switch between Desktop and Metro User interface mode. Pressing and Releasing the Windows Key (Either of Left Windows Key or Right Windows Key on Keyboard) switches from Desktop and Metro interface opens up and closes the Metro Interface.
  • Windows Key + Tab Key on Keyboard opens up Switch List. The Switch List in Windows 8 is a new bar on the left hand side containing list of Desktop Icon and Icons of Metro Applications running on your Windows 8 Computer. Similarly Alt + Tab Key can be used to switch between various desktop & metro applications. Switching between Metro Applications and Desktop Applications can be done using Alt + Tab or Win Key + Tab even when Metro Application or Start Menu of Windows 8 is currently active.
  • Windows Key + Q Key can be used as a Keyboard Shortcut to launch Windows 8’s Global Search Utility with a Metro Interface. From this Global Search Screen you can use Mouse or Keyboard to launch any selected application. Searching for Applications, Settings, etc can be done by typing in the name of the software you want to launch and use arrow keys to navigate to various application icons. In case you press Windows Key + Q Key when Desktop is active, you will get a full screen Global Search Utility of Windows 8 as a Metro Application.
  • Windows Key + M Key allows you to switch directly to Desktop’s Active Application from Metro and this Keyboard Shortcut (Windows Key + M) can also be used to minimize all the applications while in desktop mode.
  • Windows Key + C Key Combination opens up Windows 8’s Charms Bar which is a small toolbar with buttons like Search, Settings, Start Menu, etc.
The keyboard Shortcuts in Windows 8 as outlined above behave differently depending on whether Start Menu, A Metro Application or Desktop is Active. Windows 8 Tips and Tricks further outlines Mouse Shortcuts which can be used to navigate around Windows 8 Metro Applications and Desktop. Apart from various ways to switch between Metro and Desktop on a Windows 8 Computer, the Keyboard Shortcut Alt + Tab can be really traditional and easy way.