Tutorial Thursday

I hang out over in the Donation Coder forum from time to time because there are a lot of people over there who have discovered some extremely useful apps. One example of this just happened a few weeks ago when Nighted, a member of the forum, pointed out a great freeware utility called ThumbWin (Google Translation to English).

Seeing that all of the screenshots were in Japanese, I decided to try the program out myself so that I could fully understand what it was capable of doing. I was rather impressed after I got it installed (English is the default language of the program), and it took me no time at all to get the gist of the program. With it, anytime a window is minimized there is a thumbnail generated for it on your desktop:


Note: This program works with both Windows XP and Vista.


I’m sure I have your attention now because it isn’t everyday that you see a program do something like this. I’ve got a video demonstration posted below, but before I get into that I thought I would walk through some of the features. Most of the things I’m about to mention can be enabled/disabled in the settings, which will also be covered later on.

  • Drag-and-drop arranging – This could be a lot of fun if you have a dozen or so windows open. ;)
    ThumbWin Arranging
  • Close and Restore buttons – You’ll notice in the corner of all the thumbnails are two buttons for closing and restoring that specific window.
  • Exclusion list – Pick and choose which programs you don’t want to show up in the thumbnails. There’s a screenshot of this below in the Settings section.
  • Customizable thumbnail size – Choose what size you want the thumbnails to be, ranging from 64 pixels up to 300 pixels.
  • “Bring to Front” – This will overlay a transparent background on top of your entire desktop. On top of the background will be every window that you have open, not just the ones that are minimized.
    ThumbWin Bring to Front
  • Multi-monitor support – The thumbnails can be set to show up on a secondary monitor that is connected to the computer.
  • Pick a shortcut, any shortcut – You can designate keyboard shortcuts to do a variety of things, such as thumbnail (a.k.a. minimize) all open windows.


There are a lot of different settings that you can configure, including keyboard shortcuts, thumbnail size, and which programs should be excluded from the thumbnails. It’s all in the options:

ThumbWin Settings 1 ThumbWin Settings 2 ThumbWin Settings 3

–Video Demonstration–

The best way to demonstrate the features of ThumbWin is with a video, so before you head on over and get it setup checkout what it really has to offer. The thumbnails may appear a little jumpy in the video, but I attribute that to the low frame rate.

ThumbWin Homepage (Google Translation to English)