Keyboard shortcuts. There are dozens of them available in Windows and they can be extremely useful if you can memorize them. I use a handful on a daily basis and this list contains the 7 I use the most.
- Ctrl + Alt + Del(ete) – The most important shortcut you probably already know. This takes you to a screen to lock your PC, switch users, log off, change password or start Task Manager. Most people know this as a way to get to task manager to end programs that are unresponsive or view system resources.
- Windows + L – Locks your computer. This is the same as using Ctrl + Alt + Del and clicking on ‘Lock this computer’ however it bypasses the extra click and uses fewer keys.
- Windows + D – This shortcut will take you to your desktop minimizing all open windows. You can then show all windows again by repeating this shortcut. If you open any new windows/applications when things are minimized it will not be able to maximize everything with another press of the keys.
- Alt + Tab/ Alt + Shift + Tab – Opens a temporary window showing icons/images of your currently running applications. After pressing the combination, hold Alt to keep the window open. Then use Tab to rotate through the list left to right and Shift + Tab to go through the list right to left.
- Alt + Printscreen – As you may know, your keyboard contains a Print Screen key that takes a screenshot of your display when pressed. Adding Alt to the mix will reduce the scope of the screenshot to only your current active window.
- Alt + F4 – Want to quit of a program without using the mouse? Press Alt + F4 to close the application. Many applications may intercept the command and prompt if you would like to save or have some additional options, but mostly it can close applications and windows with minimal effort. Important to note is that if pressed with no windows or applications active Windows will prompt you with a screen to asking you to choose one of the following actions: Shut down, Switch User, Log off, Restart, or Sleep.
- F5 – Acts as a refresh button in many applications and in folders. This can be very handy when you are plugging in a portable harddrive or using Windows network center to browse computers on your network. If anything doesn’t show up you can press F5 to refresh it and it will scan the location again or refresh the page. F5 even works as refresh in Firefox, Chrome and of course Internet Explorer.
Want even more shortcuts? Check out the official lists Microsoft has made available:
Microsoft Knowledge Base – Keyboard Shortcuts
Microsoft Keyboard Shortcuts Web Page – (Select your OS version in the upper right hand corner drop down. Includes Vista/7/8.1)
Do you have any keyboard shortcuts that you can’t live without? How about shortcuts that everyone should use but never do? Let us know in the comments!