Ever wanted to use the keyboard like a real computer pro? Microsoft based keyboards have a built in Windows Key, that allows users in Windows to do many useful tricks all with the touch of a keystroke. Even for dedicated geeks, some of these keyboard shortcuts might be new shortcuts to add to your list of tricks.
First and foremost, all of these tips hinge off of the Windows key, or system key. Most Window’s based computers have this key with the Microsoft “Windows” logo, like the one seen at the top of this article. For Mac users running boot camp, this key will of course be the key with your Apple logo on it, and a few generic keys might just have a computer or some other generic logo. The Windows key is usually in between the Control or Ctrl key, and the Alternate or Alt key. Older keyboards and older laptops, especially older Thinkpads are missing this key, so unfortunately you will not be able to make use of these shortcuts. In ordering the list, I started with the more common shortcuts and worked my way into the ones that even the biggest power user won’t often touch. Now on to the list!
Windows Key by itself: Opens the Start Menu
Windows + L: Locks the computer*
Windows + M: Minimizes all open applications Great if you want to quickly hide what you are looking at or working on…
Windows + M + Shift: Brings everything back in the same order after hitting Windows + M Great for getting back where you were after hiding everything!
Windows + D: Shows the desktop. This is very similar to Windows + M, only it will hide absolutely everything instead of just applications. Hitting it again will restore everything to where it was.
Windows + E: Opens Windows Explorer
Windows + R: Opens a run dialogue box
Windows + F: Opens a Windows search menu**
Windows + F + Ctrl: Opens up the find computer menu**
Windows + F1: Opens Windows help
Windows + Pause/Break: Opens System Properties window
Windows + U: Opens Utility Manager***
Microsoft Office Shortcuts
Windows + S: Create a screen capture while using Microsoft OneNote
Vista Only Shortcuts
Windows + Space: Show Sidebar
Windows + G: Select next Sidebar Gadget
Windows + X: Enters Windows Mobility Center Does not work on Desktops
Windows + Tab: Switches Windows using Flip 3D Windows Areo needs to be running
Windows + 1 through 9: Launches associated quick launch programs
Windows 7 Only Shortcuts
Windows + P: Switch to projection mode for multiple monitor setup
Windows + Up Arrow: Maximizes active window
Windows + Down Arrow: Minimizes active window
Windows + Left Arrow/Right Arrow: Aligns the active windows to the left or right side of the screen
Third Party Windows Key Shortcuts
Windows + Y: Opens Yahoo Messenger if Installed
Other Third Party Programs can enable additional shortcuts such as the Windows + Y one for Yahoo Messenger
*Locking the computer will secure a computer in the event that you are going to be away for a period of time and don’t want anyone accessing your system. In order to unlock your computer, one needs only to enter their username and password, or choose their username from the list and clicking ok/enter. In the event you don’t have a password leave that part blank and continue as you would otherwise.
**If you have Desktop Search installed, it will launch that program instead
***Utility Manger is a Windows program that assists with accessibility options such as the On Screen Keyboard