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Posted January 14, 2009

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Vista's Flip3D and XP's WinFlip

Vista's Flip 3D

what is windows flip 3dIf you're using the Home Premium, Business, Enterprise or the Ultimate version of Windows Vista, there's a cool little feature installed on your computer that you may not know about. It's called Windows Flip 3D

If you're using the Home Premium, Business, Enterprise or the Ultimate version of Windows Vista, there's a cool little feature installed on your computer that you may not know about. It's called Windows Flip 3D.

To try it out real quick, load three or four pages at once. Now, on your keyboard hold down Ctrl, the Windows Key and Tab. Cool, huh! And if you're like me and are still hanging on for dear life to XP on one or more of your computers, there is a Flip 3D for our XP machines as well. More about that later.

Windows Flip 3D is a cool utility that you can use to quickly preview all of your open windows. You can see them all at once in what Microsoft calls a Stack. This way you don't have to click programs on the Taskbar to open and close them. Using Flip 3D, you can just flip through the Stack until the one you want to work with is the first one in the Stack and then hit your Enter key and there it is. Or better yet, click any window in the Stack to bring it up to be viewed or worked on.

vista flip 3d

Vista's Flip 3D

You can use your Arrow Keys to shuffle backward and forward through the Stack. Or you can use your mouse's wheel to go forward or backward through the Stack. You can also use the Tab key to go forward through the Stack. Shift + Tab will take you backward through the Stack.

There is an add-on to this neat little utility that you might be interested in called Vista Flip 3D Activator. You can read about it and download it here from Softpedia. What this add-on does is allow you to choose a corner of your Desktop to click to activate Flip 3D. I don't have this add-on installed on my Vista machine so I can't vouch for it or tell you much about it other than what it purports to do. I can't see how it would make the activation of Flip 3D much easier than it is using the keyboard combination: Ctrl, Windows Key and Tab but maybe there's more to Vista Flip 3D Activator than I'm aware of.

This video is not very instructive but it will show you what Flip 3D looks like cycling through tons of open windows. Gee, whoever made this video must have had every program on his computer plus tons of browser windows open. Don't try this at home unless you've got at least 4 Gigs of RAM.


There's a much more powerful program called Switcher that you can check out and download here that is sort of like Flip 3D on steroids. Switcher is very twenty first century-looking and highly customizable. But it only works on Windows Vista machines that are Aero capable. I've got it installed on my Vista laptop, but I don't use it much for anything other than playing around with. You might fall in love with it. But, so far I haven't.

WinFlip for XP

Windows XP users can duplicate the cool Vista Flip 3D effect by downloading and installing WinFlip. It's free. You can check it out and download it here and there's really no installation necessary. All I had to do was unzip the downloaded file and click it open and it was done. Pretty simple.

xp winflip is like vista flip 3d

Vista's Flip 3D

It looks fantastic and it's easy to use. Once you have a bunch of windows open, instead of using Alt + Tab to switch between them, type the Windows key + Tab and every open window will be displayed very much like in Vista Flip 3D. You can flip through the cascade of open windows using the Tab key. Click on one and it will come to full screen. Another cool feature is that by quickly drawing a circle with your mouse, you can the use the mouse's wheel to navigate through the open pages just like with Vista's Flip 3D.

Here's a video demonstrating WinFlip. Like the Video above about Flip 3D, it isn't very instructive but at least this one has a pretty cool sound tract.

Vista Flip 3D and Windows XP WinFlip are very similar. The primary difference is that if you are running Vista (except for Home Basic) you already have Flip 3D installed and if you are like me and hanging on to XP for dear life on one or more of your older machines, you'll have to download a free copy of WinFlip. Either way, you could use this cool software to impress your friends/enemies, co-workers and bosses. And not only is it cool to look at, it's also very useful. If you often have several pages loaded at any one time and they are all bunched up on the bottom of your screen on Windows tiny little Systems Trey, hold down Ctrl, the Windows Key and Tab and show the world that you're a Web 2.0 geek.

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