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unable to minimise programs nor recall on KDE-Fedora 18

I posted this first on general help forum but was advised to post on Fedora forum as they thought it was a problem peculiar to Fedora.

This is where I show just how much of a dummy I am using Linux, so please excuse my embarrassment.

I've updated from Fedora 17 to 18 and currently have system up to date. My problem is odd.

When I minimise a program e.g. Dolphin or Libraoffice, to leave viewing space for another program, the minimised one appears to disappear as if it's been closed. Normally it would appear on the task bar but the only one that does is 'firefox' whereas Okular, Dolphin, Libreoffice for example all seem to disappear.

I know it's not closed because if I open another instance it shows as 'filefolder - Dolphin <2>' for example, showing I have two copies 'live'. I have Dolphin <6> at present!

Occasionally I appear to maximise an existing instance by accident? but I am normally reduced to initiating another instance if I wish to use the same program again.

They also appear if I 'trigger' a screen show with all opened windows showing as miniature screens. I say 'trigger' because I've no idea how or why these appear.

I feel as if I've lost complete control over what I'm doing. On Fedora 17 the only problem I had was in accidentally triggering the display of all opened windows

My questions: Why are they 'disappearing', how can i get them to re-appear, and how can I trigger the display of all opened programs deliberately?

I can get a thin screen showing using Alt/tab (one of the solutions offered. but this was a slow and clumsy way of retrieving currently minimised programs and there has to be a simple complete solution.

Please help a confused tyro!
My system: Fedora 18 KDE 4.10.1 Linux 3.8.4-202-fc18x86_64
AMD64 x2 dual core 5200+ speed 1.000 Mhz, memory 2gb


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