After writing the ‘Things you never knew about Windows‘ blog entry, it got me thinking. There are loads of little subtleties to Windows that seem not to have been mentioned anywhere comprehensive, so I’ve taken it upon myself to collect a guide together.
Pressing the windows key on its own brings up the Start Menu — quite handy if you’re not too fond of the mouse (like me!). However, there are some other tricks you can do with the Windows key, by using it as a control key in combination with other keys. By using it as a control key I mean you press and hold the Windows key, then press the other key, then release the Windows key, just like you do when you press ‘control S’ or similar. NB these combinations are all valid on Windows 2000, and most likely Windows XP too; though XP might have additional buttons — let me know if you find any!
|Windows key-D||Hides all windows, and shows the desktop (like clicking the 'Show Desktop' icon on the taskbar if you have that enabled). Pressing Windows key-D again unhides all the windows. Very handy as a 'boss key'!|
|Windows key-E||Opens a new copy of Explorer.|
|Windows key-F||Opens the 'Search for Files and Folders' window.|
|Windows key-M||Minimises all windows.|
|Windows key-shift-M||Restores all windows (the opposite of minimise all).|
|Windows key-R||Opens the 'Run' box (same as Start->Run...). Possibly the most useful key combination ever; I use this all the time to open folders and run programs. See the tips below.|
|Windows key-U||Opens the Utility Manager, which allows you to configure Windows's Accesibility functions like the Narrator and Magnifier.|
|Windows key-Tab Windows key-Shift-Tab||Places the focus on the task bar at the next (or with shift, the previous) application. A bit like ALT-Tab, but instead of cycling in most-recently-used order, cycles in window order. Also once the focus is on the task bar you can then release the Windows key and use the arrow keys to move around, then the return key to select.|
|Windows key-F1||Brings up the Windows 2000 help|
|Windows key- Pause/Break||Brings up the System properties window. Very useful for a quick keyboard-only way of getting to the hardware configuration of your machine, if for example your mouse packs in at an inoppurtune moment.|
A few tips with the ‘Run’ dialog mentioned above:
A few quick tips for Explorer:
If I’m not too lazy, I’ll be adding to this list as and when I remember the other myriad little tips that make using Windows that bit more manageable. Please also send in any tips you might have yourself, and I’ll add them here too.
Thanks to Malcolm Rowe and Nick Wright for their help in compiling this guide.