Windows Vista changed the Alt+Tab order slightly
the Alt+Tab order was the same as the Z-order,
but that changes in Windows Vista if you use the enhanced
Alt+Tab feature known as Flip, which is on by default on most systems.
There are three types of interactive task switching in Windows Vista:
- Classic Alt+Tab: This is the same one that's been around since
Windows 95. It shows a grid of icons.
- Flip (new for Windows Vista):
This shows a grid of thumbnails.
- Flip3D (also new for Windows Vista):
This shows a stack of windows in 3D.
Classic Alt+Tab continues to show the icons in Z-order order,
but the developer who wrote Flip told me that
Flip changed it up a bit based on feedback from
the design team.
The first several icons are still shown in Z-order order,
but if you have a lot of windows open, the rest of them are
shown in alphabetical order to make it easier to pick
the one you want from the list.
I think it's a good sign that nobody seems to have noticed.
A lot of user interface work tries to be invisible.