Use Hotkeys to Switch Programs
If you routinely use a specific set of programs, you can set up hotkeys that will launch or directly switch among them instead of cycling with Alt-Tab. Find a desktop or Start menu shortcut that launches a program and select Properties. On the Shortcut tab, click in the Shortcut key box, and press the key combination you want to use. Be sure to choose key combinations that are not needed by any of your programs; for example, use Alt-Shift-1, Alt-Shift-2.