Minimize

Updated: 01/31/2019 by Computer Hope

Minimize IconAlternatively referred to as a collapse box, minimize box, and minimize button, minimize is an action in GUI operating systems to hide a window but keep the program running in the background.

How to minimize

In all recent versions of Microsoft Windows, the minimize button is represented by an underscore or 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 corner of the window.

Minimize button on a 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.

Windows taskbars

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.

Tip: Apple computers a minimized window goes to the Dock.

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

Users with a Windows keyboard can press the Windows key+M at the same time to minimize all open windows. To undo the minimize all windows, press Shift+Windows Key+M.

With Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 to resize the active window press the Windows key+down arrow on the keyboard, and if pressed again it is minimized.

In Windows XP and earlier versions of Windows, 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 its window. If you want to minimize all open windows at the same time, there are two methods:

Method One - Press the Windows key+D on your keyboard.

Method Two - Right-click the time and date in the lower-right corner of the screen (above A) and select Show the desktop (B) from the menu that appears. Or, you can click the very small tab on the far right side (just left of C).

The methods by which a user may access their Windows desktop quickly.

How to minimize on an Apple computer

The buttons used to close, minimize, and maximize a window in macOS.In Apple macOS, the minimize action can be done by pressing the green circle button in the upper-right or left corner of the window. The picture to the right shows a window with the red, yellow, and green circle.

When a program is minimized on an Apple computer, it is sent back down to the Dock.

Close, Desktop, Maximize, Operating system terms, Restore, Shake, Window