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Windows 7 tips and tweaks

Add the missing Flip 3D icon to the taskbar

Windows Vista has a handy feature called Flip 3D that cycles through the windows that are open. This makes it easy to choose the one you want when the desktop is full and windows are hidden beneath windows. There's an icon in the taskbar that you can click and this brings up Flip 3D. Pressing the Tab key cycles through the 3D stack of windows and when the one you want is at the top you can click it to select it. But where's the Flip 3D icon in Windows 7? It's gone! However, there's a secret tweak to make it visible again.

Windows 7 doesn't have a Flip 3D icon in the taskbar, but you can still use the keyboard to access the feature. Hold down the Windows key and press Tab to bring up Flip 3D, then keep holding the Windows key down and keep pressing Tab to cycle through the windows. When you let go, the top window at the top of the stack is selected. If you hold down Ctrl and then press Windows+Tab, you can then let go of the keys and Flip 3D stays on the screen. You can then click the window you want or tap the Tab key to bring it to the front.

You may find it more convenient to have a Flip 3D icon in the taskbar, just as you did with Windows Vista. Here's how to do it. Right click the desktop and select New, Shortcut. You'll be prompted to enter the location of the item and you need to enter RunDll32 DwmApi #105 and then click Next. Now you'll be prompted for the name of the shortcut and we'll simply call it Flip 3D. Click Finish. That's it. Try double clicking it and you'll see that Flip 3D appears on the screen.

Before we add it to the taskbar though, we'll choose a more interesting icon because the default one is deadly boring. Right click the shortcut and select Properties from the menu that is displayed. Make sure the Shortcut tab is selected and then click the Change Icon button. There aren't any alternatives displayed, but there are files in Windows that contain lots of icons. For example, click the Browse button and select moreicons.dll in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. You can choose any of the icons it contains. However, the the real Flip 3D icon, or something very similar, can be found in Explorer. Click the Browse button and select explorer.exe in the C:\Windows folder. Select the Flip 3D icon and click OK, OK to close the dialogs. Now right click the shortcut and choose Pin to taskbar.

Now that you have a Flip 3D icon in the taskbar, you just need to click it to activate it. Use tab to flip between windows and Enter to select the one you want. The original shortcut that we created on the desktop is no longer needed and it can be deleted.

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