Switch through open apps and windows in style using Winflip


WinFlip is a free program that brings to Windows XP the ALT-Tab 3D task-switching flipping function that’s featured on Windows Vista.

It allows you to press a hotkey and flip through all open windows using a cascading, isometric visual representation.

Adding to the long list of apps that have copied all manner of bells and whistles featured in Vista, WinFlip brings to you one of the nicest ones, in my opinion, the quirky 3D application switching interface.

There are multiple programs that deliver this functionality to XP, including “Shock Aero“, previously reviewed on Freewaregenius, and “Shock Aero 3D”, designed for PCs with good graphics cards.

Winflip has the distinction of very competently delivering this functionality while using very low system resources to do so. Here are some more notes on this program:

  • How to start Winflip: press the keyboard shortcut (Alt-Q by default) will launch Winflip, while pressing it again will return to your normal desktop display. You can optionally click on one of the sides of the screen to invoke (this is switched off by default), or use a circular mouse gesture (an interesting function, but not my cup of tea).
  • How to Flip: once inside the Winflip task switching screen you can use the arrow buttons or the mousewheel to switch apps. Each window also has a little letter labeling it (A,B,C,D,etc), and you can simply press the letter on the keyboard to jump to that window.
  • Memory use: slightly over 1-meg (about 1.5). Compare this to the 15 megs that the non-3D version of Shock Aero uses.
  • No install: simply unzip to your desired location. You will need to drop the exe into the startup folder to get it to start with Windows.
  • Desktop window: by default the desktop is displayed as one of the windows to flip through, which I didn’t like very much, but thankfully it can be disabled.
  • Options: you can change the program hotkey, use large or small display windows, pick from a range of different texture quality, etc.
  • What it can and cannot do: Winflip will flip through normal windows applications and open windows; it will not recognize floating windows, desktop widgets or sticky notes, etc., even when the Windows Alt-Tab might.

The verdict: a rather nice, lightweight application that works very well. Eye candy that doesn’t slow the system down, and free, what more could one ask for?

Version Tested: 0.42

Compatibility: Windows XP.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 422K).

  • Prabhakar Goud

    I always like something that adds vista-like look to my computer and acts low on my system resources. Nice find Samer.

  • Pedro

    Great little app, great find, thanks. It’s not really up my alley (i found it cute, but i know i wont use it on a day to day basis) but it’s a great proof of concept (3d thingie low footprint).
    Anyways, a couple of thing to consider, though, as a wishlist…
    1) i would prefer to be able to have the option of having q w e r t y as the keys to use, not a b c d e.
    2) It would be nice that, clicking with the mouse on the desktop (being the desktop one of the “sheets” available) it would be selected – that happens to all other windows i’ve tried, except the desktop.

    Your site is really great, thanks again!

  • This post, and many of the other posts in your blog have made it official, this is the best freeware blog on the on the internet.

    Count me in as a regular reader, from now on.

  • sniping_dreamer

    I’ve seen other Vista-like tab switching, but those require high system requirements; this doesn’t. Amazing find, keep up the good work in the blog!

  • flamand

    I was amused to find this works in Vista as well. Does anyone know the memory savings of WinFlip vs Aero3D?

  • Great find there 😀

  • Wow, I thought I’d get a big shrug out of this, but now that I try it… I like it! Definitely worth trying out for a while. And 1824K footprint… nice find indeed.

  • pitzelberger

    I also like it, but I experienced some display problems with some of my programs while running it.
    (e.g. the toolbar in acrobat reader and my thinkpad build in “productivity center”. not that I am using the latter one; but anyway)

  • Jayendran

    Real nifty program, given its size and a non-install option

  • dragonone

    thanks a lot

  • BagLady

    I downloaded it to my PC [Windows XP]but it didn’t work properly, then, it disappeared altogether after I shut down and restarted my computer. I’m guessing it disappeared because it wasn’t set up correctly and mayn’t worked properly because I set up the options or preferences incorrectly. I’ll try again tomorrow because I know I’m going to like it very much.

    Accolades to the wonderful people here at freewaregenius.com for all the wonderful free software you keep bringing to us.

  • BagLady

    One large beer coming up soon!

  • clive

    really nice…worked well on my celeron laptop…highly recommended

  • kus

    Seems pretty cool, I especially like that it’s low in resource use. I might have to give this a try!

  • gsal

    Well, I just learn about WinFlip and Shock Aero 3D and quickly tried both of them:

    WinFlip will cause my screen to not refresh after coming back from picking an application and will mess up my toolbar and the tray. Also, it seems to have only one flip mode…so, I guess it just does not work for me.

    Shock Aero 3D works just fine for me. The display comes right back to normal after flipping apps. It does have 3 flipping modes…I like Grid. While not as reponsive to the Win Tab shortcut, and contrary to popular believe, Shock Aero does response to Win Tab but in a slighty different manner…you actually press Win, then press and release Tab, then you choose the application to switch to via Tab or mouse click, and THEN release Win.

    My 2 cents.


  • Peter

    I tried it and found that it has problem with Outlook 2003. When I run Outlook first then Winflip, everything’s ok. But if I run Winflip first then Outlook, Outlook freezes.

  • modano

    worked great until i installed visual studio 2007 and that damn debugger keep saying winflip did something wrong and crashes it. too bad…

  • Anonymous

    I really like this one, except that it flags in Comodo Firewall as a global hook or something, and it seems to introduce some bugs of its own with screen refreshing/redrawing and random crashes for no apparent reason. It’s a shame, because this app is awesome. I’m going to try Shock Aero 3D and see if I get any better results, though.

  • olly

    Real nice program but there are too many glitches with this software at present. Same problems on my desktop and laptop and I am certain this program is responsible for them not coming out of sleep sometimes (yes I know this is a windows thing :P).
    Come back later when matured a little?

  • OAlexander

    Seems, for some it works, for some not so wonderfully. For me it works. I am actually quite infatuated ;). Only 580k download, no installer, but convenient zip file – everybody with a slightly playful nature should try it out and toy a bit around with it. There is definitely something cool about it!

  • OAlexander

    I actually also would like this also for Firefox tabs – am I getting a bit carried away here?

  • W Macaulay

    I also can confirm that running WinFlip prior to Outlook 2003 will cause Outlook to crash.

  • rhysborg

    how do you turn it off its really annoying when im in game and id do a spin and winflip would pop up and f**k me up?

  • rhysborg

    Don’t worry i figured it out haha