Hiding Browser Windows with Chrome Toolbox

The more I use Google Chrome, the more it bothers me that the browser doesn't prevent windows with multiple tabs from being accidental closing. Other browsers have a warning before the window closes. At least there are browser extensions, such as Chrome Toolbox, to make up for the shortcoming. As an added bonus, Chrome Toolbox adds shortcuts for hiding browser windows.

Hiding Windows

Screenshot of the Boss Key shortcuts in Chrome ToolboxAfter installing Chrome Toolbox, some additional keyboard shortcuts become available. The new shortcuts revolve around hiding browser windows. A window, with one or more tabs open, can be hidden by pressing Alt+H. It no longer appears on the Windows Taskbar or in the Task Switcher (for those using Alt+Tab to switch between windows/applications).

To get the windows back, we can press Alt+R which shows the most recently hidden window. Alternatively, pressing Alt+` shows/hides all browser windows.

Note: the shortcuts don't seem to play well together. We either need to use the Alt+H and Alt+R shortcuts or Alt+`. Windows that are hidden with the Alt+H shortcut, for example, won't be brought back with Alt+`.

Why Hide Browser Windows

So why would anyone want to hide a window. Well, do you listen to online radio stations or some other audio file, such as a podcast, that's embedded in a website? That audio feed could be loaded and hidden with Alt+H. Now, the extra browser window doesn't clutter up our work space.

Hiding windows is also useful when meeting with clients. If we're working on another project prior to the meeting, it can be hidden instead of closed. The window(s) won't get in the way during the meeting. Plus, when the meeting is over, we can unhide everything and continue working where we left off.


The Chrome Toolbox extension has other features that might be useful for some. You can, for example, create custom shortcuts for quickly opening websites. The problem is that the shortcuts need to open a bookmark folder containing the link(s). For a shortcut to open a single website, you could create a folder containing just that link. These custom shortcuts could be handy if there's a series of websites you open every morning.

In the end, the safeguard preventing me from accidentally closing windows with multiple tabs is enough. Being able to temporarily hide windows is the cherry on top. I'm okay with the extension not doing more for me.

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  • #2 Patrick Nichols on 06.25.17 at 5:34 pm

    Yes, I was sad to see the toolbox go. Unfortunately, Chrome still doesn't provide an option to prevent multiple browser tabs from being accidentally closed. At least there is an option to restore the tabs.

  • #1 Anonymous on 06.19.17 at 12:54 pm

    chrome toolbox is not anymore available

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