How to quickly view your desktop on Windows 11

If you want to get to the desktop on your Windows 11 PC but have tons of open applications getting in the way, you can use the Show Desktop button on the taskbar or use one of several handy keyboard shortcuts to get the job done.

Minimizing each window one by one to view your desktop is a waste of time. Instead, Windows 11 offers the Show Desktop button, which allows you to quickly take a look at your desktop. There are also several keyboard shortcuts that you can use to view your desktop or even minimize all those windows quickly.

Click the Show Desktop icon on the Windows 11 taskbar

If you’re from an earlier version of Windows (like Windows 10), you probably already know about the Show desktop button. Microsoft may have made radical design changes to the Windows 11 user interface, but the handy taskbar button is still there. It’s just not that clear.

To use the Show Desktop button, move the pointer to the lower-right corner of the screen, where you’ll see a thin vertical line. Click or tap that button once to hide all open windows.

If you change your mind and want to restore any window, click or tap the Show desktop button again. Note that you will not be able to automatically redisplay all your windows if you perform additional activities after you get to the desktop (eg open the Start menu, open a folder, use Windows Search, or launch another application).

Unlike previous Windows versions, Windows 11 does not allow you to look at the desktop by hovering the cursor over the Show desktop button. But you do have a system keyboard shortcut that accomplishes the same thing (we’ll cover how to do that in a moment).

Activate Show Desktop button in Windows 11

The Show Desktop button is active by default. But if nothing happens when you click or tap the right side of the Windows 11 taskbar (or if you don’t see the thin vertical line when you hover the pointer over the area), you’ll need to enable it through the Settings app. Alternatively, you can use the Registry Editor to activate it.

1. Open the Get started menu and start the Windows Settings app. If you don’t see it among your pinned apps, select All appsscroll through the list of programs and choose Settings† You can also press Windowsl to open the Settings window directly.

2. Click Personalization on the sidebar.

3. Scroll down and select Taskbar to reveal Windows 11 taskbar settings.

4. Select Taskbar Behavior

5. Check the box next to Select the far corner of the taskbar to display the desktop

Use Show Desktop Keyboard Shortcut in Windows 11

Want an even easier way to display your desktop? Just press Windows d to hide all open windows immediately. Use the same keyboard shortcut again if you want to restore them. Note that as with the Show desktop button, if you make changes after hiding your windows, you won’t be able to automatically show them again.

Remark: You do not need to have the Show desktop button enabled on the taskbar to use the Windowsd shortcut.

Use Minimize Windows Shortcut in Windows 11

Another way to quickly get to the Windows 11 desktop is to use the Minimize Windows shortcut. Just press Windows m to minimize all open application windows. You can also use the Windows Shiftm shortcut to maximize all minimized windows.

While the Show Desktop and Minimalize Windows shortcuts seem to do the same thing, there is a subtle difference. The Show Desktop shortcut hides all open windows (including dialog boxes and property windows), while the Minimize Windows shortcut hides only windows that support minimize.

Use Desktop Peek Shortcut in Windows 11

In Windows 10 and earlier, you can hover over the Show Desktop button and look at the desktop. This is very useful if you want to quickly look at your desktop background, for example. That functionality is missing in Windows 11, but there is a keyboard shortcut you can use.

Just hold Windows comma and you will immediately see your desktop. When you release the keys, all open windows are restored.

Tip: Learn how to get the best Windows 11 wallpapers for your desktop.

Quickly go to the Windows 11 desktop

To summarize, using the taskbar Show desktop button (or the Windowsd shortcut) is a quick way to get to your PC’s desktop in Windows 11. You can also use the Windowsm key combination to minimize all open windows that support minimize (and WindowsShiftm to maximize all minimized windows). Finally, you can press Windowscomma if you just want a quick look at your desktop.

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