Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

What Is The "Windows key" Good For?

Have you ever wondered about that keyboard key (in the lower left) that has the Microsoft logo on it? Maybe wondered what it does?

That is called the “Windows key”, and it is useful for launching several ‘keyboard shortcuts‘. Keyboard shortcuts expedite common operations by reducing input sequences to a few keystrokes, hence the term “shortcut”. Not only do keyboard shortcuts save you time and motion, they make you look savvy.

Here is a list of some Windows key shortcuts. Try them out yourself, and see if you don’t agree.

  • Windows Key + “E” – Opens a new Explorer Window. (explorer is the file manager you use to view and manage drives, folders, and files.)
  • Windows Key – Displays the Start Menu.
  • Windows Key + “DMinimizes all windows and shows the Desktop. Hitting it again opens all windows and takes you right back to where you were.
  • Windows Key + “F – Displays the Find (aka Search) all files dialog box.
  • Windows Key + “LLocks your computer, so the next person to sit at it needs to enter the User password (prevent snoops).
  • Windows Key + “M”Minimizes all open windows. Windows Key + Shift + “M”Restores all previously open windows to how they were before you Minimized them.
  • Windows Key + “R” – Displays the Run command.
  • Windows Key + F1 – Displays the Windows Help menu.
  • Windows Key + Pause/Break – Displays the Systems Properties dialog box.
  • Windows Key + Tab – Cycles through the tabs (open programs) on the Task Bar.
  • Windows Key + “U” – Displays the Utility Manager with accessibility options; Magnifier, Narrator and On-Screen Keyboard.
  • Windows Key + “X” – Opens the Mobility Center on laptops, where you can manage your settings for conserving battery, etc. (see, Travelers’ Tips for Maximum Laptop Battery Life)

I use the “R” and “E” shortcuts all the time. And, if I was in an office environment, or had kids in my house, I would use “L” religiously! Which will you use most?

Folks, a holiday weekend is again upon us. Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties. I hope you all have a great, safe, weekend.

Let’s kick things off..
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Green Day (live) Welcome To Paradise, posted with vodpod

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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September 3, 2010 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to | , , , ,

16 Comments »

  1. Windows Key + “x” – Displays the Mobilitycenter where you can ajust light and sound and check battery an connection.

    Like

    Comment by niels henrik hojbjerg | September 3, 2010 | Reply

    • niels henrik hojbjerg,
      Yes, you’re right of course. I did mention that in my Mobility Center and battery conservation articles.. but somehow forgot it here. Thanks for the reminder, I will amend the article forthwith pronto!

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | September 4, 2010 | Reply

  2. What the Windows Key can do, Wow!
    I usually only use the basics of the key board and computer. Any info. “that is quick and easy”…and when it actually works for me, (I tried each key) that’s my style.

    …the Videos…”there’s more to life than work, so lets party”! The Young Folks video is cute.

    …and you have a nice holiday weekend Paul.

    G.

    Like

    Comment by Gaia | September 4, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hi Paul,
    I like the Windows+D and Windows+L

    Like

    Comment by Cappydawg | September 4, 2010 | Reply

    • Cappydawg,
      Nice to see your name here again.

      Yes.. back before I went “independent”, and worked in an office, Windows+D and Alt+Tab came in handy a time or two.
      (Supervisors should wear a bell, IMHO)

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | September 4, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hey Paul,
    Nice.. Useful shortcuts list..
    Apart from Win+L, Win+D, Win+tab, i use win+R a lot.. My ‘Run command’ box is always full of shortcuts(commands).. :P

    Like

    Comment by Ranjan | September 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      Nice to see your name here again.

      It strikes me that there’s basically two types of computer users: and one type has never, and probably never will, understood or had a need to use Run.
      The Search tool (and method) in Vista/Win 7 is diminishing my use of Run, as I am finding it faster…

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | September 5, 2010 | Reply

  5. I’m quite busy these days, Paul.. Exams are overhead… :-/
    Regarding the search tool/method your talking about, i believe its the start menu search tool, no? Well, it is a nice tool but… Suppose, if i want to open system restore, then I’ll have to go to start menu, type ‘system or restore or both’ and then locate it in the list while in case of run, just type rstrui and hit enter..
    I understand that remembering the run commands isn’t that easy, but if done, provides faster access..

    Like

    Comment by Ranjan | September 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      Yes, I meant Start > Search.
      The only rebuttle(s) I have to your very good points is/are…
      1: System Restore appears in my results between typing the “y” and the second “s” (much less typing); and,
      2: I sometimes do typo’s, or forget if the utility is a .exe or .msc or .cpl

      I used to do it your way – I admit – and it took some getting used to, but for me, going to Run is now “old school” (if you will). I do keep my Start menu customized to “Show” Run, and/or have a shortcut in QuickLaunch, so I am most definitely a Run user still!

      I wish great success with your exams!

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | September 5, 2010 | Reply

  6. Windowskey + 1, Windowskey + 2, … Windowskey + 0 to start the corresponding Quicklaunch program.
    Windowskey + 0 runs the tenth item.

    Like

    Comment by niels henrik hojbjerg | September 8, 2010 | Reply

    • niels henrik hojbjerg,
      You get a gold star!

      Thank you for adding to this topic.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | September 8, 2010 | Reply

  7. thanks Paul.

    I’m honoured.

    nh

    Like

    Comment by niels henrik hojbjerg | September 8, 2010 | Reply

    • To niels henrik hojbjerg
      For Meritorious Contribution to Tech Learning

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | September 8, 2010 | Reply

  8. this is awesome man

    Like

    Comment by jim | September 10, 2010 | Reply

    • jim,
      Glad you found the tutorial useful.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | September 10, 2010 | Reply


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