Are you stuck in the full screen of an app on a Windows computer and don’t know how to minimize it? Find below some effortless ways to exit the full screen on Windows computers.
The full-screen mode for apps on Windows enables you to use it in a distraction-less way. You can get a good view of the elements of the software you’re using.
Alternatively, if it’s a video player, you can see the movie in full screen, where characters appear bigger than in the small screen mode.
However, escaping full screen on Windows could be more complicated than it sounds. Hence, we’ve compiled all the methods to get out of fullscreen on Windows below.
Reasons to Exit Full Screen on Windows
Find below some scenarios when you might need to exit the full screen on Windows for a specific app:
- If it’s YouTube, you want to find the video settings, closed caption, chat box, comment box, etc.
- You require the bookmarks bar or web browser plugins on Google Chrome or other browsers.
- You need to access writing tools on word processing apps like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
- Malware or ransomware has infected your computer and only shows a warning banner to pay a ransom, and you need to close this.
- A malicious pop-up has somehow escaped the pop-up blocker system of the web browser and covered the whole screen with humiliating content in full screen.
To escape full screen on Windows, you can use the following methods. Mostly, all the methods are compatible with various Windows operating systems (OSs) like Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows Server, etc.
What Key Is Exit Full Screen?
The F11 is the universal key to enter and exit the full screen on Windows PCs. However, all apps don’t respond to this key. Alternatives are the Esc, Alt+D, Alt+M, F, etc., keys.
How to Exit Full Screen on Windows: Using Keyboard Shortcuts
1. The F11 Key
F11 is the universal key to enter and exit the full screen on Windows. Most web browsers, like Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, etc., respond to this key for full-screen mode on and off.
You’ll find F11 in the functions key series above the number keys. If you’re on a laptop, you might need to press the Fn + F11 key to exit the full screen. Usually, you’ll find the Fn key near the Ctrl key at the bottom left corner of the keyboard.
How Do I Exit Full Screen Without F11?
You can use other hotkeys like Esc, F, Alt+Tab, Windows+D, and Windows+M.
2. The Esc Key
You can press the Esc key to exit full-screen mode on certain web-based media players like YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
3. The F Key
Web and standalone media players like YouTube and VLC respond to the F key to enter and exit full-screen media playback mode.
Besides the above keyboard shortcuts, you can also use the following hotkeys to exit full screen indirectly by hiding the apps:
- Press Alt+Tab to cycle through open windows on a PC.
- Hit Alt+Enter on Command Prompt and emulator apps to open and close full-screen mode.
- Press Windows+D to go to the Desktop.
- Hit Windows+M to minimize an app window to the Taskbar.
How to Exit Full Screen on Windows: Using Mouse
4. Right-Click on a Full-Screen Web Browser
- Right-click using your mouse when you’re in Chrome full-screen mode.
- For Mozilla Firefox, you need to hover the cursor over the top portion of the screen and wait until the Firefox menu bar shows up.
- On the context menu that follows, click Exit full screen.
5. Exit Full-Screen Button on YouTube
- YouTube media player has a dedicated Exit full-screen button.
- When viewing YouTube in full-screen mode, shake the mouse cursor to unhide the progress bar.
- Click the Exit full-screen button at the bottom right corner to escape full-screen on the Windows YouTube player.
6. Use the On-Screen X Button
When the Chrome browser is in full-screen mode, hover the mouse cursor over the top portion of the window. A dark circle with a white X icon will show up. Click it to get out of fullscreen on the Windows Chrome browser.
How to Exit Full Screen on Windows: Using System Tools
7. Window Square Button
You may activate the full screen or the maximize mode of any software to clearly see user interface (UI) elements. Alternatively, you may take an app to full screen for more space to work.
Apps like Adobe Photoshop, Foxit PDF, etc., don’t respond to the universal F11 key for full-screen entry and exit. Instead, you need to click the Square button at the top right corner of the application window.
8. Windows Application Menu
If you maximized a software screen on Windows before and now want to exit the full screen, follow these steps:
- Click the top-left corner of the app.
- The Application menu will show up with options like Restore, Minimize, Maximize, Close, etc.
- In the context menu, select Minimize.
The hotkey for Application Menu is Alt+ Spacebar.
9. Force Close Using Task Manager
Sometimes non-responding apps and malicious pop-ups may not exit full screen easily. For such instances, follow these effortless steps:
- Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager.
- From the Apps or Background processes list, find the app or popup in question.
- Right-click on the app and then select End task.
Doing this will close the app so that you don’t need to worry about the full screen anymore.
How to Exit Full Screen on Windows Start Menu (Bonus Tip)
Are you looking for ways to get out of fullscreen on the Windows Start menu in Windows 10 or Windows 11 PCs? Follow these steps instead:
- Click the Start icon on the bottom left corner of the Windows PC.
- You probably see the Start menu on the whole screen, which could be annoying sometimes.
- Click the Settings or Cogwheel icon on the bottom left corner of the Start menu.
- Choose Personalization from the Settings screen.
- Click Start from the left-side navigation panel.
- Disable the Use Start full-screen feature.
How to Exit Full Screen on macOS (Bonus Tip)
Handling app windows and screens on a Mac is intuitive and effortless. Here are some tips to close full-screen mode for apps on macOS:
- While using any application in its full-screen mode, move the cursor to the upper left corner of your Mac. The macOS’ commands bar will become active. There, you’ll see a green button. Click the green button to escape full screen on Mac.
- Alternatively, take your mouse cursor on the top portion of the screen to find the Mac menu bar. Now, select View and then click Exit Full Screen.
- The easiest method, however, is using the keyboard hotkeys Command + Control + F to exit or enter full screen for all the compatible apps on a Mac.
These are all possible methods to escape full screen on Windows software, video players, and web browsers. You’ve also discovered the best way to exit the full screen on macOS.
Give the above methods a try, and comment below about your experience. If you know any additional methods to get out of fullscreen on Windows, don’t forget to mention those in the comment section.
Next, ways to lock the screen and bring off-screen window back onto screen.
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