windows 7If you are using Windows XP or Vista, you can use the keyboard shortcut "Windows key + M" to minimize all open windows and clear the desktop screen in one go.

Windows 7 has something better – it lets you minimize all open windows except the one that’s currently active on your desktop.

This should be pretty handy in situations where you need a distraction free desktop like when you are reading an important document inside Microsoft Word and want to hide other windows that may be open in the background.

Video: How to quickly minimize all open windows except the active one

The trick is simple – just click on title bar of the window that you want to keep in the foreground, hold your mouse and shake it in either directions. All open windows, except the one you are holding, will now be minimized to the toolbar.

This feature is known as Aero-Shake and is available in all editions of Windows 7 except Home Basic. The keyboard shortcut for Aero Shake is "Windows Logo Key + Home".

To restore all minimized Windows to their original location, just shake the active window again. And here’s another very cool video from Microsoft to demonstrate the Aero Shake feature of Windows 7.

If you are using an older version of Windows, get the Aero-Shake utility from Lifehacker and you won’t miss the fun.

Related: Keep Windows Always on Top [free utility]