Alternatively referred to as the Minimize box or Minimize button, Minimize is an action in all GUI operating systems that hide a window but keeps the application running and accessible in the background.
- How to minimize
- Where do minimized programs go?
- Minimize vs. resize
- Minimize keyboard shortcut
- How to minimize all windows and get to the Desktop
- How to minimize on an Apple computer
How to minimize
In all recent versions of Microsoft Windows, the minimize button is represented by an underscore (dash) in the top-right corner of the window. When minimized, the program will remain on the taskbar, but not visible. In the early versions of Windows 3.x and other operating systems and software programs, the minimize button may be represented by a small down arrow.
The image below shows an example of a window in Microsoft Windows with the minimize button in the top right-hand corner of the window.
Where do minimized programs go?
In Windows when a program is minimized it may seem as though it has disappeared. Fortunately, that is not the case. Minimized programs may be located and accessed from the Windows taskbar, which is located at the bottom of any Windows desktop. The following image shows examples of various Windows Taskbars containing minimized programs.
Tip: Clicking on any program icon on the taskbar that is minimized will restore the window.
Note: Some programs may be minimized to the Windows Notification Area.
Minimize vs. resize
If you want to keep the window open but not have it fullscreen use the resize button to make it a window instead of fullscreen. Once set as a window you can resize the window to make it as big or small as you want on the screen.
Minimize keyboard shortcut
With Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 you can minimize an individual window by pressing the Windows key+down arrow on the keyboard to resize the current window, and if pressed again it will be minimized.
In Windows XP and earlier you can minimize windows only using the keyboard by pressing Alt+Spacebar. And in the window properties drop-down menu press N to minimize the window.
How to minimize all windows and get to the Desktop
When you minimize a program, it shows any other open program that was behind the window. If there are no other open windows, the Desktop is shown which cannot be minimized. Only open program windows and open files can be minimized. If you want to minimize all open windows, you can use the shortcut key Windows key+D to get to the Desktop. In the link below we go through all methods of getting to the Desktop.
How to minimize on an Apple computer
In Apple macOS, the minimize action can be done by pressing the green circle button in the upper right or left-hand corner of the window. The picture to the right shows a window with the red, yellow, and green circle.