Minimizing all background windows using Windows 7's "Aero Shake"

Posted by Dan on Nov 5, 2008 @ 9:30 AM

Windows 7 is introducing a new feature called "Aero Shake." The concept is you simply drag and "shake" a window's title bar and all background windows will either be minimized or restored (based on their current status.) Here's a YouTube video of the feature in action:

While this feature looks cool, I'm wonder how useful it really will be and how intuitive it will be to the user. Since I tend to run most windows maximized, I'm not sure if this will provide much value to me.

Do you see this as be a good or bad UI design pattern?

Categories: Technology


  • I think it's just fluff. I've had gesture abilities before with my NVidia graphics card. I turned them on for a while, then off again after a few days. They're worthless extras. I'd MUCH rather the Windows team spend their efforts reducing memory usage, or giving me a REAL terminal window (at least one that can actually be resized), or other far more useful things.
  • @Andy:

    There are definitely times I've wanted the ability to make the background clutter go away, but I basically agree that this is going to be something that turns out to be basically useless. I'd think I'd rather just have a keyboard shortcut for this.
  • Pointless fluff.... also random waggling/shaking one thing to effect everything *but* that thing seems a bit...errr...random :)

    I'm also a maximized kinda guy, and one actually useful feature they should rip from Compiz is the ability to grab a maximized window's title bar and drag it away from the top and the window pops off to its umaximized state so you can move it between desktops... this just seems so logical and gets me every time when it doesn't work in windows.
  • There already is a shortcut for this. Windows key + M minimizes all windows, Windows key + SHIFT + M restores all windows.
  • @andy - as does win+d (show desktop)... ahhh, D.R.Y huh? :)

    However neither of them do exactly what this does, minimize everything but the window in focus, which is a handy function to have I'd say (saves an extra click or alt+tab), but waggling windows randomly is not the best way to go about it.

    In Gnome you can do this via the extra options buttons on each window, or a right click, or of course assign a shortcut or whatever.
  • Personally I almost never maximise windows :) I wish I could do something like this:

    There is a bunch of cool gestures and other stuff that you could do with window management to make things more usable, but I think the problem is covering so many bases and making it configurable to suit the user. It's hard to believe Windows is still missing native virtual desktops, and they haven't talked about it with Windows 7 either...
  • So ... instead of clicking Show Desktop and an item in the Taskbar, we're to waggle a window ...

    I don't really see the purpose in that. I hope they aren't planning any more Wii-type "features" in Windows 7.

    And I certainly don't get how shaking the title bar should make us think of bringing the windows back up.

    Then again, maybe I'm thinking too much as a developer, and I am still bitter about the whole ribbon thing in Office 2007. It'll be interesting to see what some less technical people think of this ...
  • @andy:

    As Adam stated, those shortcuts don't do the same thing (minimize all but the active window.)


    I agree, being able to drag a maximized title bar would make a lot of sense and I think would be an intuitive behavior--especially when you have multiple monitors.


    The shroud idea is interesting. Also, Windows does have support for Virtual Desktops--but it's just not exposed by default. You can use the PowerToys to manage up to 4 virtual desktops:

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