Categories
Device

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

You’re playing a game and you Alt+Tab to use another program, but there’s a problem. The Alt+Tab process may be extremely slow, the game may crash or freeze, or you may see graphical corruption.

If you’ve played games on Windows, this is probably familiar. Even when Alt+Tab works properly, it may take several seconds to move back and forth — something which can be frustrating if you want to quickly switch between applications.

Why is Alt+Tabbing Out of a Full-Screen Game So Problematic?

It’s not just pressing Alt+Tab that’s a problem — pressing the Windows key may do the same thing, as it takes you out of the game and back to the Windows desktop. This isn’t a problem when you play a game in windowed mode, where you can Alt+Tab easily. But full-screen mode seems to be different — full-screen games can’t be Alt+Tabbed out of as easily.

The real question here is why games run in this full-screen mode in the first place, if the full-screen mode itself is a problem.

When a game runs in full-screen mode, it can gain exclusive access to your graphics hardware — this is known as running in “Exclusive Mode.” Windows won’t render your desktop in the background, which saves on hardware resources. This means you can squeeze the most gaming performance out of your graphics hardware by running the game in full-screen mode, and that’s why games run in full-screen mode by default.

Windows doesn’t just have to switch from one window to another when you press Alt+Tab. It has to minimize the game and start rendering the desktop again. When you switch back to the game, the game has to restore itself and take control away from Windows. For a variety of reasons — especially problems with the way some games are coded — the game may encounter a problem while doing this.

You can see this in action when you have a game running in full-screen, exclusive mode. If you Alt+Tab out of it, you can hover over the game’s taskbar icon or press Alt+Tab again. You won’t see a preview of the game’s display area like you would for other windows. The game running in full-screen exclusive mode doesn’t redirect its output through the desktop’s display manager, so the desktop display manager can’t display a preview.

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

How to Quickly and Safely Alt+Tab Out of a Game

Let’s say you want to play a game but you also want to Alt+Tab and use other windows without the risk of crashes or delays while switching. There are several ways you can make this happen:

  • Play in Windowed Mode: Games often have a windowed mode, where they render themselves in a window on your desktop. Games running in a window won’t have exclusive access to your graphics hardware, so they won’t perform quite as well as they would in full-screen mode. However, you can more easily switch between windows. A windowed game probably runs at a lower resolution than a full-screen game, so you’re gaining some more performance there — at the cost of a smaller game screen with less graphical quality, of course.
  • Use Full-Screen Windowed Mode: Full-screen windowed mode, also referred to as “Full screen (Windowed)” or “Windowed (Fullscreen)” mode, compromises between the two. When you select this mode, the game will take up your entire screen, making it appear as if you were using Full-screen mode. However, the game is actually being rendered as a window — without title bars and above your task bar, but a window nonetheless. This means that Alt+Tabbing out of the game will be very quick — you can even have other desktop windows appear above the game. The game will run a bit slower as it doesn’t have exclusive access to your hardware, but this setting is often ideal if you have enough graphics power and want to easily Alt+Tab.

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

  • Disable Windows Key and Alt+Tab: You can also disable the Windows key so you won’t accidentally press it while playing a game. If you find yourself pressing Alt+Tab accidentally while playing a game, you may want to try changing the game’s hotkeys or even consider disabling the Alt+Tab keyboard shortcut.

Recovering From a Crash

If you ever find yourself staring at a frozen game or an empty black screen after pressing Alt+Tab or the Windows key, don’t panic! Pressing Alt+Tab or the Windows key again may not help you if the game is misbehaving. Instead, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete — this keyboard shortcut is special, and Windows will respond to it even if other keyboard shortcuts aren’t working. Click Start Task Manager when the menu screen appears, select the frozen application in the Applications list, and end it. If this doesn’t work, visit the Processes tab, locate the game’s running .exe file, and end the process.

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

Full-screen windowed mode offers a great compromise and is often the ideal setting if your hardware is fast enough and you want the freedom to Alt+Tab. Not every game offers full-screen windowed mode — it’s more common on newer games, so older games especially may not offer it.

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

Geoffrey_Carr

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

Hráte hru a pomocou Alt + Tab používate iný program, ale je tu problém. Proces Alt + Tab môže byť extrémne pomalý, hra môže zlyhať alebo zmraziť, alebo sa môže zobraziť grafická korupcia.

Ak ste hrali hry v systéme Windows, je to pravdepodobne známe. Dokonca aj keď Alt + Tab funguje správne, môže trvať niekoľko sekúnd, kým sa pohybujete tam a späť – čo môže byť frustrujúce, ak chcete rýchlo prepínať medzi aplikáciami.

Prečo je Alt + Tabbing z hry na celú obrazovku tak problematické?

Nie je to len stlačením klávesu Alt + Tab, čo je problém – stlačenie klávesu Windows môže robiť to isté, ako to vyvedie z hry a späť na pracovnú plochu systému Windows. To nie je problém, keď hráte hru v okne režime, kde môžete Alt + Tab ľahko. Režim na celú obrazovku sa však javí ako iný – hry na plnej obrazovke nemôžu byť Alt + Tabbed tak ľahko.

Skutočnou otázkou je, prečo hry v tomto celoobrazovkovom režime fungujú v prvom rade, ak je samotný režim na celú obrazovku problémom.

Ak sa hra spustí v režime celej obrazovky, môže získať exkluzívny prístup k vášmu grafickému hardvéru – toto je známe ako spustenie v “Exkluzívnom režime”. Systém Windows nebude vykresľovať vašu plochu na pozadí, čo šetrí na hardvérových zdrojoch. To znamená, že môžete vytlačiť najvýkonnejší výkon z vášho grafického hardvéru tým, že spustíte hru v režime celej obrazovky, a preto sa hry štandardne zobrazujú v režime celej obrazovky.

Systém Windows nemusia jednoducho prepínať z jedného okna na druhé, keď stlačíte Alt + Tab. Musí minimalizovať hru a začať znova zobrazovať plochu. Keď sa vrátite späť do hry, hra sa musí obnoviť a prevziať kontrolu nad systémom Windows. Z rôznych dôvodov – najmä problémov s tým, ako sú niektoré hry zakódované – môže hra naraziť na problém pri tom.

Môžete to vidieť v akcii, keď máte hru v režime celoobrazovkového exkluzívneho režimu. Ak z neho zmeníte Alt + Tab, môžete prejsť na ikonu na hlavnej lište hry alebo stlačiť znova kláves Alt + Tab. Neuvidíte ukážku oblasti zobrazenia hry, ako by ste pri iných oknách. Hra spustená v exkluzívnom režime na celú obrazovku neosmerňuje svoj výstup cez správcu displejov na ploche, takže správca obrazovky stolného počítača nemôže zobraziť ukážku.

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

Ako rýchlo a bezpečne Alt + Tab mimo hru

Povedzme, že chcete hrať hru, ale tiež chcete Alt + Tab a používať iné okná bez rizika zrážok alebo oneskorení pri prepínaní. Existuje niekoľko spôsobov, ako to dosiahnuť:

  • Prehrať v režime Windowed: Hry často majú okenný režim, kde sa zobrazujú v okne na pracovnej ploche. Hry prebiehajúce v okne nebudú mať exkluzívny prístup k vášmu grafickému hardvéru, takže nebudú fungovať úplne rovnako ako v režime celej obrazovky. Môžete však ľahšie prepínať medzi oknami. Okenná hra pravdepodobne beží s nižším rozlíšením ako hra na celú obrazovku, takže si získate ešte väčší výkon – samozrejme za cenu malej hernej obrazovky s menšou grafickou kvalitou.
  • Použite Režim Windowed na celej obrazovke: Režim s oknami na plnej obrazovke, tiež nazývaný režim “Celá obrazovka (Okná)” alebo “Okná (Celá obrazovka)”, kompromisy medzi týmito dvoma. Keď vyberiete tento režim, hra bude prebiehať po celej obrazovke, takže sa zobrazí tak, akoby ste používali režim celej obrazovky. Hra sa však v skutočnosti vykresľuje ako okno – bez záhlavia a nad hlavným panelom, ale napriek tomu okno. Znamená to, že Alt + Tabbing z hry bude veľmi rýchle – dokonca môžete mať aj iné okná pracovnej plochy. Hra bude bežať trochu pomalšie, pretože nemá exkluzívny prístup k vášmu hardvéru, ale toto nastavenie je často ideálne, ak máte dostatočnú grafickú silu a chcete ľahko Alt + Tab.

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

  • Zakázať klávesy Windows a Alt + Tab: Kľúč systému Windows môžete tiež deaktivovať, aby ste ho pri hraní hry nestiskli stlačiť. Ak sa počas prehrávania hry ocitnete stlačením klávesu Alt + Tab, môžete skúsiť zmeniť klávesové skratky hry alebo dokonca zvážiť vypnutie klávesovej skratky Alt + Tab.

Obnovenie z havárie

Ak sa niekedy ocitnete pozerať na zamrznutú hru alebo na prázdnu čiernu obrazovku po stlačení Alt + Tab alebo klávesu Windows, nemusíte paniku! Stlačenie klávesu Alt + Tab alebo klávesu Windows znova vám nemusí pomôcť, ak je hra nesprávna. Namiesto toho stlačte kombináciu klávesov Ctrl + Alt + Odstrániť – táto klávesová skratka je špeciálna a systém Windows na ňu reaguje, aj keď iné klávesové skratky nefungujú. Kliknite na položku Spustiť Správcu úloh, keď sa objaví obrazovka ponuky, v zozname aplikácií zvoľte zamrznutú aplikáciu a zatvorte ju. Ak to nefunguje, prejdite na kartu Procesy, vyhľadať spustený súbor .exe hry a proces ukončíte.

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

Režim okna na plnej obrazovke ponúka skvelý kompromis a je často ideálnym nastavením, ak je váš hardvér dostatočne rýchly a chcete slobodu na Alt + Tab. Nie každá hra ponúka celoobrazovkový okenný režim – je to bežnejšie v novších hrách, takže staršie hry nemusia ponúkať.

If you are a regular gamer on Windows 10, playing your favorite game in full-screen mode, then it’s reasonable to assume that you would want to jump into another running program every now and then using the Alt+Tab button combination.

However, as simple as this feature sounds, it seems to be causing people a lot of issues on the latest Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here; this problem isn’t uniquely related to the latest Windows 10 1803 update, which was seeded by Microsoft over the last few days. Windows users have been struggling with this feature for a long time but it appears to have been a lot better and more responsive and reliable recently. Until 1803 dropped, that is. Thankfully, where there is a problem there is genuinely someone who has overcome the issue and found solace at the other end, which, in this instance, means that we can fix the problem.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at the solution:

Step 1: Sometimes, when the steps to fix a specific problem are extremely simple and involve hardly any legwork, it’s the most satisfying. So, with that in mind, prepare yourself for immediate satisfaction. On your Windows 10 machine launch the Settings app (Windows Key + I) select System > Focus assist.

Step 2: Once you get there, make sure that you disable all of the features that are linked to it. The end result should be that all features within this section are entirely disabled/non-functional/not working.

You should now be able to skip out of the Windows 10 configuration/settings menu and start going about your business as normal without any lag or slowness when it comes to using the Alt+Tab combination when gaming on the latest Windows 10 update. It should also mean that you don’t experience any horrible crashing or other issues which have generally been attributed to using this keyboard combination when leaving a gaming context.

Once you get over these niggles and issues which appear, you actually have a really great update from Microsoft as far as build 1803 goes. Stick with it, persevere, and enjoy all of the hard work that Microsoft has put into this build.

You may also like to check out:

  • iOS 11.3.1 Jailbreak: iOS 11.3 Exploit POC By Ian Beer Has Been Released
  • Download: iOS 11.4 Beta 3 IPSW, OTA Seeded For Testing
  • Fortnite 4.0 Season 4 With Patch Notes Released, Here’s What Is New
  • Force Upgrade Windows 10 April 2018 Update Manually, Here’s How
  • Download Windows 10 April 2018 Update 1803 ISO
  • Jailbreak iOS 11.3 / 11.3.1 / 11.2.6 On iPhone And iPad [Status Update]
  • Download iOS 11.3.1 IPSW Links, OTA Update With Fix For Third-Party Screen Repair Issue

Report abuse

Replies (2) 

Hi Gavin, thanks for your question. Hopefully I can help!

One thing you can try to improve alt-tabbing time is disabling Focus Assist:

Go to Settings > System > Focus Assist and toggle the switch off. You can also set a time range for it to automatically be disabled.

Hopefully this helps reduce your alt-tab lag! Please let me know if you need more help. Thanks!

Report abuse

6 people found this reply helpful

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

1) Use Windows Defender Offline to run a scan for malware
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17466/.

2) Use Autoruns to configure the programs to not run at startup
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals.

3) Run Troubleshooter
Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshooter

5) Periodically ensure you clear browser cache including forms/passwords.

6) Computer Hope website has an extensive list of options for “fixing” a sluggish computer
https://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000179.htm

Note: This is a non-Microsoft website. The page appears to be providing accurate, safe information. Watch out for ads on the site that may advertise products frequently classified as a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Products). Thoroughly research any product advertised on the site before you decide to download and install it.

Report abuse

Replies (2) 

Thank you for posting your question on Microsoft Community!

After going through your post, it appears that you have an issue with computer performance while playing games. However, in order to guide you in the right direction; I will need some more information. Please help me by answering the questions mentioned below.

1. What is the make and model of the computer?

2. Do you get any error message?

In-order to fix the computer crashes while playing games; you can try these methods and check the issue status.

Run the hardware troubleshooter and check the issue status.

Follow the steps:

a. Press “Windows key + W”.

b. Type “Troubleshooter” in the Search box and hit enter.

c. Select “Hardware and Sound” from the Troubleshooter Window.

d. Select “Hardware and Devices” under Devices option.

e. Follow the On Screen instructions.

Update the display adapter driver and check the issue status.

Microsoft has released several updated display drivers via Windows Update for Windows 8. These updates may resolve a variety of known graphics issues. Please check Windows Update to make sure that you have downloaded and installed all of the latest updates, including optional updates.

To check for driver updates:

a. At the Start screen, type Windows Update.

b. Click or tap Settings on the right side of the screen, and then select Install optional updates from the left results.

c. When the Windows Update control panel opens, click on “Check for Updates” on the top left corner to receive a fresh list of updates.

Download and install the latest display adapter from the computer manufacturer’s website.

Hope this information helps you. Please do let us know if you need any assistance with Windows, we’ll be glad to assist you.

Report abuse

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

The game tends to force itself on top, so it’s hard to ALT-TAB to a different program to e.g. change the video/audiobook playing in the background. Anyone with the same problem? Any solutions?

EDIT:
Some more information. It *may* have something to do with Win10 in-game overlay (the one for capturing footage). Its message announcing its activation only shows after I successfully ALT-TAB out of the game the first time. Also, subsequent ALT-TABs within the same session work fine.

I have Nvidia and with DX11 I can rarely alt-tab. So I’m forcing DX9, the visual difference on my system is nil.

I have Nvidia and with DX11 I can rarely alt-tab. So I’m forcing DX9, the visual difference on my system is nil.

That’s entirely normal and expected. Adding DX11 support doesn’t magically make the game look better – it simply adds the tools that will allow SCS to utilise more modern rendering techniques and hardware.

The immediate benefit is generally improved performance. The long term benefit is that SCS now have access to a huge range of options for improving the visual quality of the game.

New OS feature seems to cause more harm than good

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

Windows 10 April 2018 Update is now available for users who want to manually download it ahead of the automatic rollout that Microsoft will begin on May 8.

Users can download and install the April 2018 Update either using the standalone ISO images or via Windows Update, with the latter requiring less interaction and taking care of the upgrade process from the beginning to the end.

But the more systems install the new OS version, the bigger the number of discovered bugs, and one of the most widespread appears to impact gaming.

Even though each Windows 10 feature update is specifically focused on delivering a refined gaming experience, it looks like one of the improvements that Microsoft included in the April 2018 Update has exactly the opposite effect.

Specifically, the bug causes desktop app switching (Alt + Tab) to be particularly slow when playing games on a system running the April 2018 Update. Pressing Alt + Tab allows gamers to switch to a different screen when running a game in full screen, and using the same hotkey allows them to return to the game easily. And while this whole process was supposed to take place blazing fast in order to have a minimum impact on gaming, this isn’t the case on many systems already upgraded to the Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

The one to blame for this is Focus Assist, a new feature that Microsoft added in this Windows 10 Update and based on Quiet Hours, previously introduced with the Fall Creators Update.

As you could guess by reading its name, Focus Assist is supposed to help you focus on what’s running on the screen, so it blocks notifications that would normally show up occasionally. This particular feature comes with pre-configured rules that automatically silent notifications when playing games in full screen, so Windows 10 users can thus run a game without being interrupted by notifications.

On paper, this sounds pretty handy because notifications showing up in the lower right corner can cover certain parts of the screen critical for the gaming experience. They often cause performance issues or could even contribute to the game eventually crashing altogether.

But as it turns out, Focus Assist doesn’t help much either, as it makes app switching very slow in April 2018 Update. This means the only way to remove the bug and benefit from the expected gaming performance is to turn it off completely. To do this, open the Settings app and navigate to the following path:

Settings > System > Focus Assist Scroll down to the lower section of the Focus Assist configuration UI and in the Automatic rules category, toggle the switch for When I’m playing games to off. If you are duplicating the system or configured Focus Assist to kick it at a certain time, you need to turn these rules off as well.

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

In other words, what you need to do is completely turn off Focus Assist. For some reason or another, this feature is still a bit buggy at this point, despite thorough testing from Microsoft as part of the Windows Insider program.

It’s not clear if there’s a pattern and only certain configurations or video cards are impacted, but right now, the bug does not exist on all systems upgraded to the April 2018 Update. On the other hand, the good news is that a cumulative update with fixes is projected to land on May 8, the same day when Microsoft ships Patch Tuesday security fixes, so it shouldn’t take too long before the company addresses this problem.

In the meantime, turning off Focus Assist appears to be the only way to go, even though this obviously means that the feature would no longer be enabled and notifications can still go through on your PC, even when playing games.

Has this ever been addressed? I just got the game and am having this very annoying (and frankly game crippling problem, as I need to TAB OUT on a regular basis). Here is what I can add to the info:

1) I am running Windows 7, 64-bit. 64gigs of RAM, GTX 660 ti,
2) Tri-monitors, but ONLY dual 1280×1024 Smansung Syncmasters hen playing
3) TABBING OUT (ALT-TAB) at *ANY TIME* (could have just loaded the game and main screen is there) causes the issue. Doesn’t matter when.
4) Game stays minimized and won’t restore. When you have selected the game again (either by taskbar or other methods) the screen stays the same, but you can NOT click on anything in Windows at all . as if the game is there and running. But TM shows it as “Not responding”

I hope that helps. Please try to fix this ASAP, as it makes the game virtually unplayable for me 90% of the time. Thanks!

Do you think the program “Borderless Gaming” can help resolve this issue? I don’t have the program, but here’s a description:

“Games are best when played full screen, but many won’t play nice with Alt+Tab in full screen mode—which means you can’t look at your browser for a guide or change the music playing in the background. Borderless Gaming fixes that problem.”

It’s available on Steam, but I also read somewhere that you can get it for free directly from the developer’s website.

By Darragh Murphy 04 February 2021

New Microsoft update fixes system crashes, bug issues and more

Why pc games struggle with alttab and how to fix it

Microsoft has released a new optional update for Windows 10 that will fix a bug affecting some users when they play games in full-screen mode or tablet mode. It also resolves other annoying performance issues.

The update, KB4598291, fixes a bug that causes crashes when PC games are being played on full-screen mode (so, a lot of the time) or when a device is in tablet mode. This only happened to a few Windows 10 users, so those who aren’t affected don’t need to bother with the update.

  • How to Use Windows 10
  • How to make a GIF on Windows 10
  • Best PC games 2021: What we’re playing right now

The patch update also fixes an issue that changes the Alt+Tab feature, causing users to switch to a random window instead of the one they wanted. That’s pretty annoying behavior as it defeats the ease and convenience of the shortcut.

Other issues now fixed include a problem that prevented users from opening a document on the Windows desktop, along with a blank lock screen being displayed after a device wakes up from “Hibernate.”

As spotted on Windows Latest, the update also fixes an issue that caused users to be automatically signed out of their apps when restarting their system, which meant having to sign back in on all their applications every time. Thankfully, that should now be patched up.

How to get the optional update

Since the update isn’t installed by default, users will need to find the update themselves to fix the issues. This can be done via Windows Update or Windows Update. Just head to Settings, then click on Update & Security and click Windows Update.

From there, navigate to optional updates where you’ll find the KB4598291 link to install the update. Hopefully, a few users can finally play in full-screen mode without a worry. What games, you ask? You may want to try some of the best PC games that we’re playing right now.