How-To Geek

Disable Flip3D in Windows Vista or Windows 7

Flip3D is pretty much the most useless feature in Windows Vista (and 7). It’s slower than Alt+Tab and pretty much completely worthless in every way. You’d be much better off using one of the Expose clones out there (Switcher, MyExpose, SmartFlip, etc) or you can completely disable this feature with a simple registry patch.

Note: For those of you unaware of what it is, you can use Win+Tab to bring up Flip3D to see what the fuss is about. It looks like this:

Windows Vista Flip 3D

Disable Flip 3D

Extract the zip file to your hard drive and then double-click on DisableFlip3D.reg to enter the information into the registry.

Next, you will have to open an Administrator mode command prompt by right-clicking on the command prompt and selecting Run as Administrator. Run these commands, which will restart the desktop window manager service.

net stop uxsms

net start uxsms


Re-Enable Flip 3D

Extract the zip file to your hard drive and then double-click on EnableFlip3D.reg to enter the information into the registry.

Follow the steps above to restart the desktop window manager service.



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 06/14/07

Comments (48)

  1. rovex

    To complain about its speed it really silly. Its not really slower at all, and its GPU based, so low on resources.

  2. Danny

    Quit telling people what is completely worthless. You obviously don’t know how to use it and what is the point of disabling it? Just don’t use it.

  3. The Geek

    I had to laugh at your comment…

    so…. You’re saying that I don’t know how to hit the Win+Tab key combination… but I do know how to hack the registry to turn it off… funny.

  4. kord

    Paired with a Logitech MX Revolution, the Flip-3D is a great feature. But I probably wouldn’t use it if I didn’t have the Revolution.

  5. DDuncan

    Wow, I love comments like these..

    “Quit telling people what is completely worthless. You obviously don’t know how to use it and what is the point of disabling it? Just don’t use it.”

    How is it completely useless to disable something you don’t like and have no plans to ever use? Only thing I see completely useless is your comment on this page.

    Don’t like a tweak? Don’t use it, pretty simple concept. Your time would be used better by creating helpful comments to add to the article.. or maybe argue that there’s no real resource benefit to disabling it. Something like that would be respected.. but simply voicing your threatening opinion makes you look.. well.. dumb.

  6. rocky

    shut up…you all are dumb and jsut know how to argue….this page gives the options of how to use the system to the fullest,not that you have to follow it and try and each and everything provided on the all have a lot of time to write these comments,but not a brain to utilise the usefull “suggestions”…dumbos!

  7. dilettante

    Instead of disabling Flip 3D, why not try assigning it to an auxiliary mouse button? – the following procedure is for a Microsoft Intellipoint mouse:

    1) Right-click on the ‘Switch between windows’ Quick Launch icon, select ‘Properties’ and then copy the ‘Location’ path from the ‘General’ tab.
    2) open the ‘Control Panel’, open ‘Mouse’, click on the ‘Buttons’ tab, click on the drop-down selector of an auxiliary button eg. ‘Wheel’ or ‘Magnify’ and choose ‘Start… (custom)’.
    3) Paste the path into the dialog’s text field and click ‘Browse…’
    4) Double-click the ‘Quick Launch’ folder, select the ‘Switch between windows’ shortcut and click the ‘Open’ button.
    5) Click ‘Finish’, then ‘Apply’ or ‘OK’. phew!

    – Sorry for the rigmarole, but for most users it will not be possible to navigate directly to their ‘Quick Launch’ folder because Microsoft in their wisdom have chosen for it to be hidden by default.

  8. MkFly

    Thanks for this. I wanted to assign Switcher to WinKey+Tab, but it wasn’t working quite right, and I assumed it was because of Flip3D … I was right. Disabled it and Switcher is good to go. ^_^

  9. Ronald Vista Lover

    OR……………………..——>just dont use it. IT ROCKS!!!!

  10. Joshua

    The thing I like most about Flip 3D is I can use my mouse and look through them visually, it’s like a rightbrain version of alt + tab. But if you can deal without it you can save quite a bit of ram by disabling aero effects completely.

  11. Espen

    isnt is just to disable Windows Aero? then it automaticly turns off Flip3D…

  12. KoolDudeBoy

    Help me!!!!!! I delete Flip 3d shortcut from task bar in my Utimate, I already search in system32 folder but cant find,,plz help……

  13. thommango

    I’m wondering why you’d bother disabling this. I agree it’s a useless feature, but do you reduce memory demands or anything by disabling. If so, great tip. If not, I think it’s not one of the better tips on your site.

  14. The Geek

    Deleting this doesn’t free up any resources… personally I find Flip3d useless, and I have Win+Tab mapped to Switcher instead.

    Switcher works much better if you disable Flip3D first.

  15. Ozzyfan

    I too find this feature quite pointless and Im glad i found this tweak to disable it. It may not free up a lot of resources, but the less I have to load the better.

    IMHO, even though this feature may have been one of the major selling points for Vista, they should have knocked out the current ALT+TAB and replace it with Flip3D at least. Not have both.

  16. MasterChief

    Well your all very lucky as I can’t even get my Vista Home Premium to do the damn 3D flip!
    I press the windows key + Tab…nothing happens.
    any ideas??

  17. Crash

    What are your system specs? Can you run Aero? Is Aero turned on? I dont think you can run Flip3D without having Aero turned on.

  18. Ronald


    you have to have the Aero Theme inabled, Desktop windows manager service started and windows theme service enabled as well. unless you have made a tweak someother way it should function. It could always be a bad install. good luck have fun

  19. MasterChief

    yeh thanks i was running the windows vista theme not the windows Aero theme. So it works great now!
    Thanks very much.
    I think it is quite useful, nd if you don’t like it, THEN SIMPLY DON’T USE IT!
    but its there if you want it


  20. Ronald

    @ MasterChief I had the same problem as well. But places like this site and others similar are a well of knowledge. drink deep. I am glad it was nothing serious

    i am sure that those wishing to disable this flip 3d but wish to keep the other desktop composition funtions will find this article very handy. if they dont need the fancy functions and are just looking to minimize cpu ram usage then disabling DWM and Theme in the services,msc is a fast simply tweak with no harm associated.

  21. Ian

    I’m not a fan of Flip3D either, I might try this and monitor the resource usage before/after.

  22. Bill

    Why are you even reading the tips if you don’t like them, go look at somthing else you wining idiots.

  23. RetroGamer

    I was wondering if you could put up a screen of the “Switcher” as well. Maybe it would help convince others to disable it properly.

  24. Evan

    okay can some one help me. My Mom bought Vista hoem premium like 11 months ago and i like it but i noticed lately that my theme isnt aero and when i went to personalize and then cliked themes i did not see windows aero theme what do i do? help ploxx


  25. Crash


    Do you have a dedicated video card or do you have onboard? Is your video card good enough to run Aero? Because if not, then the option wont be available to you. If your video card is good enough, then make sure you have the latest updates installed for your video card. If you have onboard, then you might not be able to use Aero.

  26. Rhywun

    I’m just trying out “Switcher” and it’s extremely impressive. Though I have to disagree that Flip 3D is “useless”. It’s quite nice actually (and mine looks nothing like your screenshot–in mine, you can see most of each window). But Switcher is great too (and since I just moved back to Windows from the Mac, it feels like home…). A little more polish and Switcher will be hard to beat. It’s such an obvious way to switch windows that one has to think that the only reason Microsoft didn’t do it is because Jobs would have had a fit.

  27. ultramagnetic_commuter

    Some useful tips on this site but this one is just pointless!
    “Flip3D is pretty much the most useless feature in Windows Vista” is just a plain wrong statement. It’s an enhancement to ALT-TAB which we’ve used for years. It’s no slower than ALT-TAB either (unless you have a poor pc). It’s useful.

    Disabling it is just pointless.

    If it was put on an Apple system everyone would say it was amazing.

  28. MasterChief

    Is 3D Flip easy to reenable if it is disabled??

  29. James

    ROTFL – can’t imagine why anyone would go to so much trouble to disable this feature. If you don’t like it then don’t use it. Personally, I think it’s much faster than the old Alt-TAB. If you system can’t handle Aero then don’t use it. SIMPLE

  30. Plasma

    @James: Flip3D is one of those features that uses up computer recourses. If someone doesn’t use or rarely uses this feature, and has a slow computer, they should consider removing it for extra speed.
    Of course, those who do have a good computer and are more interested in saving recourses for things like games should look at the “disabling Aero while starting programs” section, as Flip3D is a part of Aero.

  31. Tewan

    Nice registry hack, finally I can use that key binding for something less worthless.

  32. Jihan

    Ok I am a not a big fan about the Flip 3D and I just found out how it came up no long ago, I accidentally hit Windows + Tab instead of Alt + Tab. I get why people disable it, but at the same time I do agree with a person who said if it was on an Apple system, everyone would think it’s wonderful.

    It’s pretty obvious that if you can’t run Vista smoothly, then what was the point of getting it? If you got a new computer with Vista then simply install XP or upgrade memory. Why am I saying this? Sorry to be extremely rude but I remember when I asked everywhere, where can I remove Windows Mail and such everyone said “Just don’t use it. Simple as that.”

  33. Spacegold

    Heh, heh, I’m so computer literate that I don’t even know what Aero and Flip3D are. But it sounds like they are more Vista gimmicks that are more flash than substance.

  34. Merlinhoot

    I appreciate this fix because I have found it turns on sometimes when I don’t want it. I never use it either by the way.

  35. efreak1

    Flip 3D is awesome! Why would you want to disable it?

  36. GoS-ExiGo

    rofl, I might not be a geek, but at least I’m not that stupid to post all these useless comments.. -.-”

    1. * Note *: This is a geek forum which helps/gives you solutions & alternatives: Either you use them or not.. Your choice !

    2. If I prefer to use winzip than winrar, I would uninstall winrar. Same goes for all the games that I didn’t even launched for 1 year. R u guys telling that I should keep them & simply don’t use them lol..

    3. I bought a new Laptop (Vista Business) 1 year ago: I was so excited about the New ‘Flip 3D’ Option & just used/played with it times to times.. Ohh now I realise that it has been about ‘9 months’ that I did not activated it even once :pl, it seems that I kept using ‘Alt-Tab’ instead of ‘Flip-3D’.

    Quote (Danny): “what is the point of disabling it? Just don’t use it”

    By the way, that’s why I’m here, I wanted to Disable Flip-3D: So I typed in Google search and it forwarded me here. Thx that someone had already provided a way to disable it.

    So, plz stop saying “Just dont use it”.. All people (like me) who wanted to Disable it came to this ‘Helpful Topic’:
    – You use it if it helps you, else u don’t use it !
    – So, I really don’t understand what you are doing here if u r not gonna use it.. -.-“

  37. Dan

    Well what can you say really? Windows tried to emulate a the greatness which is Mac OSX Exposé and failed big time! I’ve used flip3d and its more frustrating than helpful, at least with Mac OSX Exposé BAM and all the windows are there to click on, you’re not constantly scrolling through windows until you get to the one you were looking for. Aero is ugly anyway in my opinion so just disable the whole theme would be a better solution.

  38. AnonymousAKAMP

    Seriously, though, if you don’t like it then don’t do this. I for one oohed and ahhed at Vista when it first came out for two reasons:
    This exact function looked cool and a great way to waste time
    and The Gaussian blur window transparency.
    Of course, both of these features would not work on my laptop. So I didn’t buy it. But now I just ordered a new laptop (read the forums to find my first post about it) and can’t wait for it to arrive. I will be sure to use this and the transparency.

  39. jim d

    Many thanks for these instructions. I personally can’t stand Flip3D and much prefer Switcher. Now I can map Switcher to Win-Tab without it competing w/ Flip (previously it would sometimes invoke Switcher, other times not).

  40. Dave

    Thanks for this tip. I use a program called ‘switcher’- it mimics macs expose and far exceeds flip3d but I wanted to give switcher win&tab without triggering flip3d. This here is the solution I needed =)

  41. dogboy

    The above ‘disable” technique did not work on my HP system. Instead what it did was when the Window Switcher icon is clicked from the taskbar it brings up a rectangular window mid-screen showing all other open or running windows. I can’t seem to disable this bastard (Vista home premium).

  42. Nix

    Well I’ll be different and say if you don’t like Flip 3D and love Switcher so much then go and use a MAC so you can use Expose which Switcher supposedly mimics according to Dave 2 posts above me.

    Not a case of “If you don’t like it don’t use it” but more of if you don’t llike Windows use something else.

  43. To-mos

    I’ve never had a performance decrease from the built in windows 7 one. It runs fine for me and I use it most of the time. With my experiences, switch and flip3d have been actually slower than the built in one. I’m running a core 2 quad Q9650 with 4GB of ram so maybe that might be a factor but its smooth as can be for me.

  44. To-mos

    If its GPU driven I have 2 Quadro 3700 Professional rendering cards SLi’ed together so that also might be a reason now that I think about it.

  45. MainTrane

    It’s beyond me why MS decided to add the desktop as one of the items in it’s Win7 task switchers, with so many readily available methods for showing the desktop it really isn’t necessary. I find that it only gets in the way and takes up a valuable slot.

    Is it possible to remove the desktop from the list of windows in Flip3D and Alt+Tab?

    P.S. I believe that I located an article with instructions on doing so a while back, but can’t track it down in my browsing history or through Google searches. To be specific, I think the article described how to prevent the desktop from registering an icon in DWM.

  46. phosphoer

    Awesome, really helpful because I needed to map win-tab to an alternate program and can’t do that with flip 3d enabled. Thanks!

  47. uqan

    Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to work in Windows 7 Enterprise. It’s a shame, I’ve gotten so used to using Win+Tab to bring the auto-hide taskbar to the front without opening the Start menu. Now I still press it all the time and get Flip3D instead when I don’t want it :-(

    Ah the joys of closed-source software…

  48. paul

    Thanks man, this disabled it and made the wasted ram (20 + mb I wasn’t even using) available to me now. I’d never even made much use of this stupid feature.

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