7 ways to minimize and maximize apps in Windows

Minimizing and maximizing apps in Windows is easy and intuitive. However, there are many ways to perform these tasks, and some work better than others, depending on your situation. Sometimes it might be as easy as clicking or tapping a button, but other times it may be simpler to use the keyboard. If you want to know all the ways of minimizing and maximizing apps and games in Windows, read this tutorial:

What does it mean to minimize or maximize an app in Windows?

Although most people probably know what minimizing and maximizing a window means, just to be sure, we would like to start this guide by saying that:

  • Minimizing an app means hiding its window from your desktop, without closing the app. When an app window is minimized, you can restore it to its former state, in other words, bring it back to view, by clicking or tapping on its button from the taskbar.
  • Maximizing an app means to make it as large as your desktop. A maximized app occupies the entire screen space available, except for the Windows taskbar.

To give you an example: here’s a maximized Microsoft Edge window, where we loaded our website. As you can see, it takes the whole screen, and it is front and center, for you to use.

When the Microsoft Edge app is minimized, it is no longer shown on the desktop. However, its icon is shown on the Windows taskbar. A click or tap on it will restore the Microsoft Edge window to its previous state.

Now, let’s see all the ways for minimizing and maximizing apps in Windows:

1. Minimize or maximize apps by clicking or tapping on their buttons on the top-right corner

The best known method for minimizing or maximizing an app is to click or tap on its Minimize or Maximize button, depending on what you want to do. The default apps from the Windows operating systems and most apps from third parties have the Minimize and Maximize buttons on the top-right corner of their app window. The Minimize button is usually depicted as an underscore symbol, while the Maximize button looks like an empty square.

When the app’s window is already maximized, the Maximize button changes to look like two squares one on top of each other. Clicking or tapping on the Maximize button returns the app’s window to its original shape before it was maximized.

To return the minimized app to its previous state, click or tap on its button from your taskbar.

2. Minimize apps by clicking or tapping on their taskbar icons

Another well-known method of minimizing apps is to click or tap on their icons from the taskbar. For instance, when you open an app like Microsoft Edge, Windows 10 shows an icon for it on the taskbar. When you click or tap on it, the Microsoft Edge app window minimizes. Clicking or tapping on the same icon again restores the app to its previous state, which may or may not be maximized.

3. Minimize or maximize apps by using their window menu

Another method that works in any situation is to use the app window menu. To open this menu, you have two options: right-click (or tap and hold) on the app’s window title bar, or to simultaneously press the Alt + Space keys on your keyboard. Choose the one you prefer - both methods display a menu like the one in the screenshot below. In this menu, click or tap on Minimize or Maximize, depending on what you want to do with the app’s window.

Note that if you use the Alt + Space keyboard shortcut, you can continue by pressing the N or the X keys next. If you press Alt + Space + N, you minimize the app window, and if you press Alt + Space + X, you maximize it.

If you are using Windows in another language than English, then you might have to use other keys instead of the N and X. You can find which by looking at the underlined letters from the Minimize and Maximize options in the Alt + Space menu.

4. Minimize or maximize apps from the right-click menu of their taskbar preview

In Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, you can minimize or maximize apps from the taskbar app preview. Hover your cursor over the app that you want to maximize or minimize. After a short while, you should get a preview of the app, just like in the screenshot below.

Right-click or tap and hold on the app preview. Then, in the contextual menu that opens, click/tap on Minimize or Maximize, depending on the current state of the app’s window and what you want to do.

If the app is already minimized, you only get the option to Maximize it. Also if the app is already maximized, you only get the option to minimize it.

5. Minimize or maximize the current app by using the keyboard

Some people prefer using the keyboard as much possible, rather than using the mouse or the touchscreen. If you are the same, you might like this method to minimize or maximize apps:

  • To minimize the current app that you are using, simultaneously press the Windows logo + Down arrow keys on your keyboard. If the present state of the app window that you want to minimize is maximized, this keyboard shortcut will have an intermediary step in which the app’s window takes its standard size on your desktop (neither minimized or maximized, just a regular window).

  • To maximize the current app that you are using, simultaneously press the Windows logo + Up arrow keys on your keyboard. If the present state of the app window that you want to maximize is minimized, this keyboard shortcut will have an intermediary step in which the app’s window takes its normal size on your desktop (neither minimized or maximized, just a regular window).

6. Minimize all the apps on your desktop by using the “Show desktop” button

If you do not want to minimize only a particular app window, but you would rather minimize everything that is opened on your desktop, you can do it by clicking or tapping on the Show desktop button. You can find this button at the right end of your taskbar.

Clicking or tapping on the Show desktop button again will restore all the apps windows to their initial size and place, on your desktop.

7. Minimize all the apps on your desktop by using your keyboard

Another way to minimize all the apps windows from your desktop at once is to simultaneously press the Windows logo + M keys on your keyboard.

To restore all the apps windows to their original state on your desktop, use the keyboard shortcut Windows logo + Shift + M.

Conclusion

Minimizing and maximizing apps windows are easy tasks that can be done in a variety of ways. Most of them work the same regardless of the Windows version that you use. Hopefully, we showed you some methods that you did not know. If you know of others, please share them in the comments below, and we will make sure to update this article.