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What is Tablet Mode?

Tablet Mode is a Windows 10 interface mode designed for use on touchscreens. In essence, this mode provides Windows 8.x style interface with new elements from Windows 10 added, including Task View, Cortana, Start menu and so on.

Toggling between desktop and tablet mode

There are two ways to toggle this mode:

  • Automatic: If you have a 2-in-1 device such as Microsoft Surface Pro and similar devices, the device will switch interface modes automaticlaly (or if given permission) when you connect or disconnect a tablet from a dock.
  • Manual: Open Action Center (Windows+A), then select Tablet Mode (if it says "pressed", then this mode is already active).

Similarities and differences between desktop and tablet modes

Below is a summary table of similarities and differences between these two modes:

FeatureDesktop modeTablet mode
Optimized forKeyboard and mouseTouchscreens
Start menuYesYes
Full screen Start menuYes (manual configuration required)Yes
Visible Back buttonNoYes
Task ViewYesYes
Virtual desktops/workspacesYesNo
Command to directly move to DesktopYes (Windows+M or Windows+D)No (see below for a workaround)
TaskbarYesYes (some tweaking required)


  1. In Tablet Mode, to go to desktop, press Windows+B, then press TAB.
  2. In Tablet Mode, when closing a window, you'll be returned to Start Menu.
  3. Slight performance regression observed when using Tablet Mode with various screen readers.

Additional Tablet Mode configuration

To tweak Tablet Mode a bit, go to Settings (Windows+I)/System/Tablet Mode. The options in this screen are:

  • Make Windows more touch-friendly when using your device as a tablet: This button toggles Tablet Mode on or off. To quickly toggle this setting, open Action Center and select Tablet Mode.
  • When I sign in: Selects which mode to use when you log onto your computer. You can choose between "automatically switch to Tablet Mode" (default on small tablets), "go to the desktop", or "remember what I used last".
  • When this device automatically switches tablet mode on or off: This is relevant on 2-in-1 devices. Select between "don't ask me and don't switch", "always ask me before switching", or "don't ask me and switch". The third option is useful if you'd like to use desktop interface when your tablet is docked to a keyboard and you wish to use a touch-centric interface otherwise.
  • Hide app icons on the taskbar in tablet mode: When selected, Taskbar icons will not be shown when tablet mode is active.