Skip to main content

How to tame the app switcher in Windows 8.1

how to turn off the upper left app switcher in windows 8 1
Image used with permission by copyright holder
It’s common knowledge that Windows 8 and 8.1 aren’t popular for multiple reasons.

Related: How to change the Start screen background in Windows 8 and 8.1

One of them is the introduction of features like the app switcher, which you can activate by mousing over to the upper left corner of your screen.

We’ve often done it accidentally when scrolling leftward through a long list of open browser tabs in Firefox. That scroll button is located right next to the area where you activate the app switcher with your mouse in the upper left corner of the screen. These accidents occur fairly often, and are just plain annoying.

This feature turned off a lot of Windows devotees when it debuted with Windows 8 in 2012. Many of its critics feel that it was an unnecessary addition that just made Windows 8 and 8.1 a bigger headache to use.

Related: Five things we learned about the Windows 9 Start menu

Thankfully, with the use of a simple program, there’s a way to disable this. However, keep in mind that you’ll still be able to activate it from the lower right corner of the screen. Unfortunately, there’s no way to disable activation from that area based on what we’ve seen.

Nevertheless, by disabling activation from the upper left corner of your screen, you’ll be running into it a lot less often.

By the way, if you think the site/author may be iffy, don’t worry. We scanned the folder and the app’s execute-able with Malwarebytes. They both came out clean.

How to turn off the Charms menu in Windows 8.1

Step 1. Click here and download the Winaero Charms Bar Killer by clicking the gray button labeled “download.”

Turn off Charms (3)
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2. Install the program once you finish downloading it. It should take less than a second to download, considering it’s less than a megabyte.

Turn off Charms (4)
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3. Once you install the Winaero Charms Bar Killer, it will take up residence in your System Tray. Find the green icon, and right-click on it.

Turn off Charms (5)
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 4. Click “Kill Top Left Corner” when you right-click on Winaero’s system tray icon. Also, click “Run at startup.”

How to turn off app switcher
Image used with permission by copyright holder

That’s it! From here on out, the app switcher should not pop up when you mouse over to the upper left corner of the screen.

No more upper left app switcher
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Editors' Recommendations

Konrad Krawczyk
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Konrad covers desktops, laptops, tablets, sports tech and subjects in between for Digital Trends. Prior to joining DT, he…
How to password protect a folder in Windows and macOS
A lock surrounded by keys.

Your computer probably has at least one or two files with sensitive information that you don’t want anyone getting their hands on. Maybe it’s a private work document or a digital file with all your passwords on it. Either way, you always want to take extra steps to ensure that your most crucial information is as safe as possible. Systems like Windows or macOS will let you password protect a folder so that anybody who uses your laptop can’t just sneak a peek at those sensitive files.

If you ever need help remembering passwords, consider these picks on our list of the best password managers.

Read more
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs. Surface Pro 8: here’s how they stack up
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 front view showing tablet and videoconferencing.

The Microsoft Surface Pro has spent years on our best laptops and best 2-in-1s lists. The Surface Pro 8, which represented the most significant revision to the tablet in years, maintained that spot.

Microsoft has introduced the Surface Pro 9, which retains the same basic design while updating the internals. Read on to find out if the newest Surface Pro is worth an upgrade.

Read more
How to use clipboard history in Windows
How to hide the taskbar in Windows 10

The Windows clipboard history is a useful tool for looking back on something you copied and pasted not too long ago. Operating systems like Windows use the clipboard to help store text and images that you have copied in the past, and the clipboard history stores everything you've been working with recently. The clipboard can hold up to 25 of your most recent copies in its history, but the latest versions of Windows don’t make it very clear how to enable and use the clipboard history.

Here's how to use the Windows clipboard history.

Read more