Windows 10 Update KB5005033 bricks Alt-Tab functionality

Windows[German]It looks like the August 2021 KB5005033 cumulative update (and July preview update) is causing problems for some Windows 10 users. The functionality of the Alt-Tab key combination seems to be disrupted, especially when playing games in certain scenarios. Users who installed the preview update KB5004296 from July 2021 already had to make this experience. However, there is probably a workaround to fix the problem, because the News and Interesting Topics feature once again proves to be a "killer feature".


The updates KB5004296 and KB5005033

Update KB5004296 was released on July 29, 2021 as a preview update (preview) for Windows 10 versions 2004, 20H2, 21H1, and Windows Server counterparts (see Windows 10 2004-21H1: Preview Update KB5004296 (July 29, 2021) for details). In contrast, cumulative update KB5005033 appeared on August 10, 2021 as a regular patchday update for Windows 10 version 2004, Windows 10 version 20H2, Windows 10 version 21H1, as well as Windows Server version 2004, Windows Server version 20H2, and Windows Server version 21H1. I had listed the details in the blog post Patchday: Windows 10-Updates (August 10, 2021)..

Problems with Alt-Tab

Windows allows switching between running tasks using the Alt+Tab key combination. As soon as this key combination is pressed, a window of the running tasks appears and you can switch to the desired task via further Alt+Tab keystrokes. When the key combination is released, Windows brings the last selected window to the foreground.

Already after the release of the preview update KB5004296, users posted in this thread complaining about problems with the Alt+Tab key combination. 

After I've installed it, my games keep alt-tabbing themselves automatically, unless I minimize any other programs like browser etc.).

For the person affected, the update causes his games to open automatically when he is not minimizing other programs like browsers, etc. Windows Latest has picked up on the whole thing and reported that Alt-Tab no longer works properly in games when one of the updates KB5004296 or KB5005033 is installed. If users try to Alt+Tab to a game or switch from the game to another application, they end up on the Windows desktop instead. Another user describes in the Windows Feedback Hub a black screen when switching using Alt+Tab:

It breaks Alt-Tab switching games that run in "full screen" mode. Switching to such games gives you a black screen and no way to return to the game. Again uninstalling this update reverts to normal working behaviour.

Or a user describes the following behavior in the Windows Feedback Hub:


Furthermore, Windows 10 under this update sometimes Alt-Tabs out of the fullscreen game immediately after starting up the game from Steam. Basically, the fullscreen game now starts up minimized on my taskbar. If I try to click the game to go to its fullscreen mode, Win10 immediately alt-tabs from the fullscreen and I'm back to square one.

Looks like WindowsUpdateNightmare, and it seems that the News and Interest feed is once again the culprit. I had reported in the blog post June 2021 updates disrupt taskbar with 'News and Interests' how the new feature may cause the icons in the tray area of the taskbar to disappear. Disabling this "killer feature" should return Alt+Tab to its usual behavior.  

Similar articles:
Windows 10 2004-21H1: Preview Update KB5004296 (July 29, 2021)
Patchday: Windows 10-Updates (August 10, 2021) 
June 2021 updates disrupt taskbar with 'News and Interests'
Windows 10: The buggy "News and interests" feature and Microsoft's confirmation
Windows 10 21H1: StrangeTaskbar issues after update KB5003214
Disable and configure Windows 10 feature News and interests

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