Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

I like to figure out the fastest way to do things. I hope these things will help you become the power user that lies within. These keystrokes have been tested on Windows XP Professional. Some may not work on older systems (although most do). Please note that Ctrl is short for the Control key.

Show/Hide SectionDesktop/Windows Explorer Shortcuts

Action/Explanation Keystroke
Rename Selected File F2
Delete Item without moving to Recycle Bin Shift–Delete
Search for Files or Folders F3
Drop down the Address/Location Menu F4
View the folder one level up Backspace
View Selected Item’s Properties Alt–Enter
Keyboard equivalent to Right-Clicking with a mouse Shift–F10
Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop F6

Show/Hide SectionWindows Explorer Tree View

Action/Explanation Keystroke
Expand everything under current selection * (on keypad)
Expand current selection + (on keypad)
Collapse current selection – (on keypad)
Expand current selection (or go to first child item) Right arrow
Collapse current selection (or go to parent item) Left arrow
NOTE: If keypad keystrokes do not work turn Num lock on and try again.

Show/Hide SectionInternet Explorer Shortcuts

Action/Explanation Keystroke
Go to website without having to
type in http://www or .com
Enter only name of website (like yahoo)
and press Ctrl–Enter
Highlight Address line (to enter new website) F6 (or Alt–D)
Refresh webpage F5 or Ctrl–R
Refresh the Webpage bypassing the browser’s cache Ctrl–Refresh

Show/Hide SectionUses for Windows System Key

Action/Explanation Keystroke
Open Windows Explorer Windows Key–E
Search for Files or Folders Windows Key–F
Search for Computers Windows Key–Ctrl–F
Minimize all windows and show Desktop Windows Key–D
(press again to re-open windows and go back)
Minimize all open windows Windows Key–M
(Windows Key–Shift–M will undo)
Open Run Command Windows Key–R
Cycle through taskbar buttons Windows Key–Tab (press Spacebar or Enter to choose selected item)
Open System Properties dialog box Windows Key–Pause/Break
Open Utility Manager Windows Key–U
Lock Computer/Switch Users
(Windows XP only)
Windows Key–L

Show/Hide SectionWorking with Windows/Programs

Action/Explanation Keystroke
Highlight First Menubar Item
(that typically is the File menu)
(you can then use arrows or letters to navigate)
Switch Windows/Programs Alt–Tab
(hold Alt, keep hitting Tab and release all keys to switch)
Switch to Next Document Window Ctrl–F6
Switch to Previous Document Window Ctrl–Shift–F6
Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop F6
Opens the shortcut menu for the active window Alt–Spacebar
Close Current Window Ctrl–F4 (sometimes Ctrl–W also works)
Close Program Alt–F4 (sometimes Ctrl–Q also works)

Show/Hide SectionOpen/Save Dialog Boxes

Action/Explanation Keystroke
Drop down the Location Menu (depending on cursor placement, may also open other menus like the File Name menu) F4
Refresh View F5
Go to parent folder (if focus is on view window) Backspace

Show/Hide SectionTaking Screenshots (Copy Screen to Clipboard)

Action/Explanation Keystroke
Capture Entire Screen Print Screen
Capture Frontmost Window Only Alt–Print Screen
To use the screen capture: Go to your desired program (such as Photoshop) and Paste it into a document.

Show/Hide SectionShutdown/Startup Commands

Action/Explanation Keystroke
Shut Down Windows XP Press Windows Key (don’t hold it down)
Then press U two times
Shut Down Windows 2000 Press Windows Key (don’t hold it down)
Press U
Press S (To choose Shut Down from menu)
Press Enter
Start Up in Safe Mode Start computer and press F8 at appropriate time. Choose Safe Mode.
Force Windows to Detect New Monitors (great for laptops!) F8 (haven’t been able to test myself)

Show/Hide SectionMiscellaneous

Action/Explanation Keystroke
Start Windows Help F1
Bypass auto-run when inserting CD Hold Shift while inserting CD
Open the Start Menu Ctrl–Esc (or Windows Key)


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