Windows 10 Tablet Mode
Updated: Dec 31, 2020
On more than one occasion, I've been contacted by clients who were concerned because everything had disappeared from their desktops. While at first sight it looked as if something had gone seriously wrong, it turned out that these clients had accidentally entered Windows 10 tablet mode, which resulted in the appearance of their desktops changing radically.
What is Tablet Mode?
The Windows 10 tablet mode is designed to make your computer easier to use if you're using a touchscreen and effectively using the computer as a tablet rather than with a keyboard and mouse. In tablet mode you don't actually have the desktop you would normally see, but rather you'll see tiles for whichever apps you have pinned to your Start menu. If you didn't have any apps pinned to the Start menu then it would indeed appear as if everything had disappeared from your desktop when you entered tablet mode. However, this doesn't mean that you don't have access to the other apps on your device. Any of your apps can be launched in tablet mode after clicking or tapping on the All apps icon towards the top left of the screen.
Any apps launched in tablet mode go to full screen size and there is no such thing as resizing a window. Apps are closed in the normal way by tapping on the X at the top right of the window. You won't have the usual icons on your taskbar but rather just a back button, the search icon, and the virtual desktops button. If you do want to see your usual icons on your taskbar you can set Hide app icons to be off in the Tablet mode section in Settings. Alternatively you can choose to hide the taskbar completely.
How Do I Enter and Exit Tablet Mode?
As with many things in Windows 10, there is more than one way to enter tablet mode. You can do so by going into Settings and then clicking on System, followed by Tablet mode. However, a more straightforward method is by clicking on the Action Center icon at the bottom right of your screen and then clicking on Tablet mode. The Action Center can also be opened by pressing the Windows key together with A.
To exit tablet mode just follow the same steps.