Vista Annoyance #2: Turning on Flip and Flip / Window Switcher

March 23, 2007

Flip and FlipYou may’ve seen an ad showing Windows Vista’s cool Flip and Flip / Window Switcher feature where you can see your currently open programs shown side-by-side in full 3-D — see the picture below to see what I mean. I was positively salivating at this feature, even though I almost never use Alt-Tab to switch from program to program. Now this was one real cool feature!

Imagine my surprise when I got my new HP laptop with Vista Home Basic, and saw the old-fashioned Windows XP-esque Alt-Tab program switcher window instead of the cool 3-D Flip and Flip feature. And then when I installed Vista Home Premium onto another laptop, I still saw the same old-type Alt-Tab window. Same goes for the “Windows Switcher” icon in the Quick Launch area of the taskbar along the bottom of the screen.

I want my Flip and Flip 3-D feature! So what am I to do?

A check of the Microsoft webpage said that this feature was only available for Vista Home Premium and up, so that meant it wasn’t available for Vista Home Basic. What?! Also, Windows Aero had to be selected in the classic view of the “Window Color and Appearance” option of the Personalization control panel module.

So, if you’re lucky enough to have Vista Home Premium or Ultimate or better, then here’s how you can turn it on. (To find out what Vista version you have, click on the Windows logo at the lower left corner, right-click on “Computer,” and select Properties. Under “Windows Edition,” it’d tell you which Vista version you have, along with a link to “Upgrade Vista.”)

1) Click on the Windows logo at the lower left corner

2) Select Control Panel, and then select Personalization

3) Click on “Window Color and Appearance”

4) If you then see a row of 8 colors, you need to click on the last link, “Open classic appearance properties for more color options”

5) In the “Appearance Settings” window, under “Color Scheme,” select “Windows Aero”

6) Click on “OK”

7) Windows will then update the display properties of, well, everything.

8 ) If you’ve got a “Flip and Flip” icon in the Quick Launch area of the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, next to the Windows icon, click on it to see a neat sideways 3-D representation of all of your open windows. OR, hold down the “Start-Tab” keys in order (where Start is the key with the Windows logo) and then (still holding the Start key), hit the Tab key to 3-D’ly scroll through each of the open windows. Uber-cool.

Another Windows Aero feature I found: hovering the mouse over a program icon in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen pulls up a small thumbnail showing what that program window looks like. Useful if you’ve got numerous Firefox or Internet Explorer windows open. But again, this is only available when “Windows Aero” is selected in the “Appearance Settings.”

Now, please excuse me while I go flip flip flip flip …


24 Responses to “Vista Annoyance #2: Turning on Flip and Flip / Window Switcher”

  1. […] like asking for directions on Google unless I’m really stuck.) As I mentioned before and before, despite its benefits, I’ve quickly discovered several “annoyances” with the […]

  2. […] I sorta discussed this topic when I explained how to turn on Windows Flip-and-Flip.  But I thought that actually turning on Windows Aero was […]

  3. M. Pegues Says:

    I am grateful to you for posting this article. I had to format C my computer after receiving a virus/shutdown. I thought I purchased Vista Business. And so I did thanks to your article. I was lost as to what to do to enable or verify I has Windows Aero.

    Thanks for your help.


  4. TED RUND Says:



    Vista Annoyance #2: Turning on Flip and Flip / Window Switcher

    4) If you then see a row of 8 colors, you need to click on the last link, “Open classic appearance properties for more color options”

  5. proudgeek Says:

    Ted — If you don’t see that row of 8 colors, it may be that you’re already looking at the “Classic appearance properties” screen anyway. Do you see an “Appearance setting” where you can set the “Color Scheme” to “Windows Aero”?

    It may be that the Ultimate is set up differently than the set-up I have (Premium) on one of my laptops …

  6. […] Vista Annoyance #2: Turning on Flip and Flip / Window Switcher « Proud Geek flip flip flip seems clunky compared to the mac window switcher (tags: mac vista) […]

  7. […] 10, 2007 (See also my other Vista Annoyance posts – turning off User Account Control, turning on Flip and Flip / Window Switcher, sharing files on a network between two Vista computers, getting an older program to work with […]

  8. aditya Says:

    i by mistake deleted it .. so hw am i supposed to get it back or from where am i supposed to download it from??

  9. kris Says:

    just use winkey + tab

  10. kristopher Says:

    thanks for the help! i had that problem,a dn just by reading that post, i fixed the windows switcher!!!1 thanks soooo much!

  11. Eric greer Says:

    it was off by default because your pc did not rank high enough on the performance index to switch vista over to the aero interface

  12. David McLean Says:

    Thanks for your help. This had me stumped for a while.

  13. Rita Says:

    Hey, Thanks for posting this article!
    I’ve been using my Vista computer for a year now and never find out about this feature!

  14. Elliott Morgan Says:

    Thanks for this info i was so confused when my window switcher changed style i was like wtf?. also take note everyone that even after everything i realised that my resoultion colours has been changed so i put it on 32 bit and i found that the aero choice came back. to check ur still on 32bit colour res go to control panel, display settings nxt to the resoultion bar is a little section called colours, make sure its on highest 32-bit otherwise u wont get aero option, you’ll be left with 7 not 8 options.

  15. Adam Parton Says:

    Ahh! Been looking for this feature, I’ve got a new Vista Home Premium laptop from Asus (F5 Entertainment System series) and wanted to use it xD


  16. Bill Says:

    I have restore the Windows switcher mode, but my task bar icon disappeared, how do I restore my icon

  17. locky Says:

    thanks alot for tht for i had it in befor but just forgot how to do it once again thanks m8

  18. Michelle Says:

    I followed those instructions, but it did not work….my system keeps defaulting back to ‘Windows Vista Basic’ color scheme!

    AHHHH….I am seriously starting to hate Vista…getting this feature to work again should not be a mammoth project just because updates were installed.

    Plus, to top it off, hovering over a program no longer brings up a small thumbnail as it did before either!

    Next computer I buy will definitely be an Apple!

    Can anyone help me fix these two functions?

  19. Michelle Says:

    Whew….ok, it’s finally working now. The instructions DID work, but only after I closed a program which was using the video card. My god, 2 hours of BS to solve this issue! Thank you for this blog, it’s a lifesaver;)

  20. D. Harold Says:

    Got my window switcher working again- it’s really cool. I don’t understand how it became deconfigured. Thanks a bunch for your guidance.

  21. prafull Says:

    my windows 2007 scree reverse 180 degree but i am unable to reverse that however we can do this by ctrl+Alt+arrow key in windows Xp.

  22. Perry Says:

    what exactly … IS… windows switcher good for? Why do I need this shortcut on my desktop?
    I click it and it does nothing. Should I just delete it or what?

    • proudgeek Says:

      If it’s not doing anything, then it’s not working correctly! But I never use it myself – I rely on changing via the tabs at the bottom.

  23. Ann Huckin. Says:

    I have Vista Home Premium and had the flipflip but after my computer has been in ‘hospital’ I found it wasn’t there. I had the icon which brought up a panel with the name of whatever was open. With your help I have now got my flip flip back. Thank you for making it so easy to do.

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