Playing games in full-screen mode provides an immersive experience by removing distractions and utilizing your entire display. However, sometimes you may want to switch out of full-screen mode quickly to access other programs or menus. But some games are quite challenging to exit instantly when in full-screen mode.
Here are some common ways to exit full-screen mode in most games on Windows PCs. Please note that we are going to close the games “by force”. Make sure to save the game progress before doing any of these.
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Use Alt + F4
The Alt + F4 keyboard shortcut is universally accepted to be used as the quickest way to exit a full-screen game. This shortcut is also used to close a program, even in a windowed mode. The technique can sometimes work when the game is not responding.
Press the Escape Key
The Escape (Esc) key in the top-left corner of your keyboard can also be used to exit full-screen mode in some games. This doesn’t work universally, but is worth trying if the other methods do not work. The Esc key is commonly used to pause or bring up in-game menus which then can lead to an option to exit the game.
Use Alt + Enter
A keyboard shortcut that works in many games and applications is Alt + Enter. Press and hold the Alt key, then tap Enter to toggle between full screen and windowed mode. This shortcut is especially useful in emulators and older games.
Click the Exit Full-Screen Icon
Some games have a full-screen icon located in the top or bottom corners of the screen when in full-screen mode. Moving your mouse to the edge of the screen will make the icons appear. Click the icon to exit the full screen. This works in games like Minecraft and web browsers like Google Chrome.
Use the F11 Key
The F11 key on your keyboard is a quick shortcut to toggle in and out of full-screen mode in many games and applications. Simply press F11 while in full-screen mode to restore the game window. Press it again to return to full screen. On some laptops, you may need to hold the Fn key while pressing F11 for this shortcut to work. The F11 key is usually located along the top row of the keyboard.
Use Task Manager
If a game is frozen in full-screen mode, you can open Task Manager to force close the game. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager over the frozen full-screen window. Then select the game process and click End task. This will terminate the game and return you to the desktop.
- Press the Windows key + D to minimize all windows and show the desktop.
- Use Alt + Tab to switch to a different running program.
- Right-click the game’s icon on the taskbar and select Close window.
- Use Windows key + M to minimize all windows.
Knowing these keyboard shortcuts and methods can help you quickly switch out of an unresponsive full-screen game so you can regain access to your desktop and taskbar. Test them out next time you need to exit a game stuck in full-screen mode.