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Make Aero Peek Display Instantly (or Disable it) in Windows 7

Aero Peek is one of the more useful new features in Windows 7… just move your mouse to the taskbar for half a second, and everything else hides so you can see the desktop or application window. But why does it take half a second?

There’s a simple little registry hack that will change the amount of time between hovering your mouse over the show desktop button in the lower right-hand corner, and the Aero Peek display showing up. The same thing should work for when you hover over an application window on the taskbar.

Aero Peek is Great 

And of course, if you wanted to completely disable Aero Peek, we’ve got you covered for that too—just head into the taskbar properties (right-click the taskbar and use Properties), then remove the checkbox from “Use Aero Peek to preview the desktop”.

Taskbar Properties

If you want to disable Aero Peek on everything, including the taskbar thumbnails, you’ll need to head into System Properties in Control Panel (search for “View advanced system settings”), and then remove the checkbox from Aero Peek there:

image

Manual Registry Hack to Adjust Aero Peek Delay

If you want to change the amount of time to trigger Aero Peek and tweak it for your own preferences (maybe you don’t want instant, but you want it quicker), you’ll need to use the manual registry hack. The instant variety is downloadable below.

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Registry Editor Geeky Goodness

On the right-hand side, you’ll need to find the key for DesktopLivePreviewHoverTime (or create a new DWORD if it does not exist) and double-click to edit it—just make sure to flip the Base radio button over to Decimal before you make edits (unless you think in hex).

The value is in milliseconds, so if you wanted 1 second, you would use 1000, or 500 for half a second, etc. If you want to make it instant, just set to it 0 (which works fine in hex too). The default value is 500, or half a second.

Note that you’ll need to log off, and then log back on, for it to take effect.

Downloadable Registry Hack to Make Aero Peek Instant

So you went the easy route? I won’t hold it against you. Just download, extract, and double-click on the the InstantAeroPeek.reg file to enter the information into the registry. Use the other file to reverse it.

Note that you’ll need to log off, and then log back on, for it to take effect.

Download InstantAeroPeek Registry Hack

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/26/09

Comments (43)

  1. Dave

    I went to that registry area and didn’t have the DeskTopLiveHoverTime entry to edit. This is Windows 7 64bit.
    Any ideas?

  2. Dave

    Oops, I meant I don’t have DesktopLivePreviewHoverTime.
    Triple checked I was in the right location too. :(

  3. biesiad

    @Dave: Have you tried creating missing keys and entries? Worked for me with other tweak. I use 32bit vresion though.
    Cheers.

  4. Howard

    my AERO Peek box/checkoff is disabled/grayed in the taskbar properties dialog… stuck on ON

  5. The Geek

    @Dave

    If your copy doesn’t have that value, you can simply create a new DWORD with that name.

    Or just download the registry hack file, which handles all of it for you.

  6. Beau

    Have the same problem as Dave with 64 bit. Tried applying the hack and restarted, still no increase in aero peek speed. Have a solid system too so that shouldn’t be the problem.

  7. James

    You can also increase the speed of the taskbar thumbnails which are displayed for running apps.

    Add a DWORD at the same location as above (HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced) named: ExtendedUIHoverTime with a decimal value for the number of miliseconds.

  8. Jonathan

    If you’re expecting this registry change to speed up how fast thumbnails appear when you hover over an app icon, it won’t do that. James’ value (above) does that, this just speeds up how fast you can switch between thumbnails in the same stack, or the desktop preview.

  9. James White

    I would love a hack to increase the size of the taskbar peek windows. Since I’m focused there, it might as well take the whole screen to show the options.

  10. Sean

    Tip worked great for me, does anyone know if there is a registry key to do the same thing with alt-tabbing? I would love to remove the delay from the time I press alt-tab, to it hiding all but the current window.
    Thanks!

  11. InDiSent

    Works great :) Thanks.

  12. Beto

    Why not just press Windows-Button and Space?

  13. TheCount

    Nice. This is the first good win7 hack worth doing i’ve seen.

  14. 0zSpitt

    i went the lazy way and downloaded the hack. perfect…

  15. Xchange

    Note that you only have to restart explorer.exe for the changes to take effect.

  16. ben

    peek speed not increasing for me with new dword or hack. i’m in 64 bit.

  17. swild

    still doesn’t work with 64-bit. I feel left out…

  18. MikeyW

    For those with 64-bit Windows 7 unable to change the peek delay with DesktopLivePreviewHoverTime, there is a solution. In the same registry location, make a DWORD called ExtendedUIHoverTime and modify the value to the time, in milliseconds, you want.

  19. Brendan

    I used the downloadable registry tweak and that changes the show desktop to instant, but it still takes half a second for the taskbar previews to display. Are they supposed to change together or is there a separate tweak?

  20. Ryche

    I’m loving this! Except, the whole reason why I came here isn’t fixed.

    When you drag something from one window to another, it takes about 1 second or so to show the window (taskbar buttons grouped). This is absolutely frustrating! It’s so slow! While I like the preview stuff, is there any way to change the drag time?

  21. James

    None of the methods work. I unchecked the aero peek in any verision i’ve ever found and it’s still running. I want this thing turned off for good! Someone please help. This is rather obnxoious!

  22. kat

    My aero peek was a thumbnail before now it became a list. how can i bring it back? thanks

  23. lindsay

    I downloaded windows 7 and I want to have the aero peek but i can’t find it anywhere on my computer. HELP!

  24. BillyMac

    Thanks, I have a Windows 7 Ultimate x64 box and this worked perfectly. I had done this awhile back however recently I had to reformat and forgot how I did this before (I hate waiting for anything even if it’s only a split second and the aero peek is no exception…lol). Came back to see how to do it again, and again it worked flawlessly.
    AWESOME site and again a Big Thanks.

  25. jayem

    any way to just disable thumbnails?

  26. Pat

    Here is how I got Aero Peek to Work:
    Click Help & Support. Type “Why are some visual elements being automatically turned off?” Click Search. Click on “Why are some visual elements being automatically turned off? Click on – “Click to open the Aero troubleshooter. Now follow instructions.

  27. Phil

    Good tip, thank you. What about making aero peek on the applications disappear faster? Is there a registry hack for that?

    Thanks!

  28. John

    Love this hack, I like the sense that my computer is fast at everything and this helped

  29. Chazz

    When i try James’s method to reduce the thumbnail hover to pop up, it always switched back to Hexadecimal. How Do I get it to save?

  30. Joe Gibken

    Is there any way to disable the Windows Key + Spacebar entirely? I want it to be replaced by Launchy hotkey. Already disabled it using the first guide in Preferences but Launchy still says Meta+Spacebar is still in use.

    Any ideas? Thanks.

  31. Mes

    Thanks for the disabling tips!
    I’ve successfully disabled the aeropeek in the taskbar as long as I am in the administrator account, but I can’t disable it for the other user accounts… since to disable it I have to be logged on as administrator!… any advice how to get around that would be appreciated!!
    (When I go as another user into system etc, to disable it, a pop-up appears asking me to first enter the administrator password. When I do, it tells me aeropeek is already disabled, but it’s actually only disabled for the administrator account, and the user account I’m in still has aeropeek going strong. If I disable it via the start button and properties, it doesn’t disable for the taskbar in any accounts, just in the RHS corner!)
    Any help appreciated, I hate this function!! :)

  32. sadish

    My windows 7 home basic not even shows this aeropeek button in taskbar and start menu properties I even tried pressing windows button and spacebar it doesn’t work i don’t know why? I bought a genuine windows 7

  33. ACI

    I have followed the instruction to disable Aero Peek all together (System Properties in Control Panel then uncheck “enable aero peek” in performance options/visual effects). I have rebooted system and aero peek of task bar thumbnails is still functional although the box is unchecked. What can I do?

  34. AC

    Same here. I’ve disabled Aero Peek in the Taskbar Properties, Advanced Settings, Performance Setting, and in the REGEDIT (where I changed its value to 1, which should be OFF). Still, when I put my cursor over IE taskbar it gives me all the open windows. I hate it. Help.

  35. Jenny

    me too, I’ve un-enabled aero peek but the little windows still pop up. it drives me nuts. please h

  36. Tyler

    Reply to :
    Beto
    Why not just press Windows-Button and Space?

    Because it’s easier to just swing your mouse to the bottom corner of your screen for a second. Don’t get me wrong, I love keyboard commands just as much as the next nerd, but it’s so easy to just pull your mouse down for a second without aiming. Mine was disabled and I missed this feature until I found this page and got it back. Thanks a lot!

  37. ajmeer

    this aero peek is very useful…but this is only used for windows7 ultimate…but i m having d homke premium what can i do

  38. fbf

    thanks, instant peek reg file works perfect on win 7 professional.

  39. Umar

    @Dave

    Hello ,
    Ineed some help , i’m using windows 7 but my taskbar is not normal windows 7 taskbar ,it’s like normal windows taskbar ..

    i want normal windows 7 taskbar , what should i do ?

  40. Beaz007

    Now that we have that covered. How do we get rid of the taskbar thumbnails?

  41. Beaz007

    nvm just found what i was looking for.

  42. Patty

    Help, I am trying to change the view on the aero peek. I want to see the actual windows that are open not a word description. How can I do that?

  43. Barney

    I fail to see how this feature is “one of the more useful new features in Windows 7″ unless you have live desktop gadgets/widgets, but nobody that I know actually uses these. What’s the value in being able to see through to your desktop?

    Anyhow if you do need to do this, just press Win+D to show the desktop and then Win+D again to restore everything to where it was. That’s much easier than hunting to the bottom-right corner with the mouse.

    Also “move your mouse to the taskbar” should probably read “move your mouse to the bottom-right corner of the taskbar”. Aero peek is not engaged by moving the mouse to the taskbar, you have to hit the small rectangle that’s bottom-right.

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