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How to middle-click to close apps on Windows 10

The mouse wheel can be used to ‘middle-click’ in browsers. The middle-click can do two things in most browsers; close a tab, open a link in a new background tab. The middle-click is assumed to only have use within browsers but it can do other things. On Windows 10, you can middle-click to close apps. It’s not immediately obvious because you can’t middle-click on a window’s title bar like you can with a tab. Here’s how it works.

Middle-click to close apps

This is only going to work for apps that can show a taskbar preview, and that add an icon to the taskbar when they’re running. This means it won’t work for apps that run from the system tray. It will work indiscriminately for desktop apps an UWP apps.

You will obviously need the app to be open. Hover the mouse cursor over the app’s taskbar icon and the app’s preview thumbnail will appear. Move the mouse cursor over the preview thumbnail, and then middle-click on it.

This isn’t a way to force close an app. If you middle-click to close an app and you have unsaved work, the app’s save prompt will likely block the app from closing. You will have to choose to save or discard changes, and then the app will close. The save prompt won’t jump to the front if the app is in the background.

Middle-click doesn’t do all that much in any app and it doesn’t seem like it does much else on Windows 10 either. This may have to do with the fact that a middle-click is a gesture/action that’s hardware specific. If you have a touchpad, middle-click isn’t the easiest gesture to execute on it. If Windows 10 were to tie one too many actions to the middle-click action, it would make it inconvenient to use the OS.

If you happen to be using Windows 10 with a trackpad, you can still middle-click though you’re going to have to figure out how to execute it. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to configure if you have a precision touchpad. Without a precision touchpad though, you have fewer options. You can always connect a mouse to your laptop.

The middle-click is an often ignored/overlooked action so much so that not many apps support it. If you don’t have a middle-click button to use, you’re not missing much. It is useful in browsers but outside a browser, it doesn’t do all that much.

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