Random geekery since 2005.

Husband, father, programmer, speaker, writer, blogger, podcaster, collector, traveler, golfer.

Today is the eighth day of Diduary. You can see links to all of the published articles in the series here.

Sure, you’ve used the Windows key to open the Start menu. Maybe you even used it with the L key to lock your machine. You’re already WAY ahead of most people, who don’t know the value this little key provides us out of the box in Windows 7. Some of these have been around a while, but very few people know they’re there.

Here’s a nice list of all of the things your Windows key can do for you. Almost all of these will toggle back to whatever the previous state was by repeating the keystroke. For example, if you use Windows Key + D, it shows the desktop. If you do it again, it will return all of your windows the way they were.

Press These Keys To Do This
Windows Key Open or close the Start menu.
Windows Key + D Show the desktop.
Windows Key + E Open “Computer”
Windows Key + F Search for a file. Basically opens the search dialog.
Windows Key + G Cycle through the desktop gadgets you have open.
Windows Key + L Locks your computer so your colleagues don’t goat you.
Windows Key + M Minimizes all of your open windows.
Windows Key + Shift + M Restores your minimized windows from the previous command.
Windows Key + P Choose a presentation display mode (usually for projectors)
Windows Key + R Open the “Run…” dialog box.
Windows Key + T Cycle through the programs in the taskbar.
Windows Key + U Opens the Ease of Access Center.
Windows Key + X Opens Windows Mobility Center.
Windows Key + Pause Opens the System Properties box. (Think Windows Experience Index).
Windows Key + Tab Cycle through your open programs using Aero Flip 3D.
Windows Key + Space Previews the desktop (only while the keys are held).
Windows Key + Up Arrow Maximize the current window.
Windows Key + Left Arrow Maximize the current window to the left half of the screen. (Also cycles through other half positions on your monitor(s).
Windows Key + Right Arrow Maximize the current window to the right half of the screen. (Also cycles the other direction from the Left Arrow).
Windows Key + Down Arrow Minimize the current window. A good one to know when you’ve got a snooping boss.
Windows Key + Home Minimize all BUT the active window.
Windows Key + Shift + Right (or Left) Moves the active window to your other monitor.
Windows Key + Shift + Up Arrow Stretch the active window to the top and bottom of the screen.
Windows Key + a number key Open the program in the numbered spot in your taskbar. Only seems to work with the first 10. For example, Windows Key + 1 will start Internet Explorer if you haven’t moved it.
Windows Key + Shift + a number key Open a new instance of the program in the numbered spot in your taskbar.
Windows Key + Ctrl + a number key Switch to the last active window of the program in the numbered spot in your taskbar.
Windows Key + Alt + a number key Open the Jump List of the program in the numbered spot in your taskbar.
Windows Key + Ctrl + B Switch to the program that displayed a message in the notification area.
Windows Key + Ctrl + F Search for other computers (if you’re on a network).


4 responses to “The 8th of Diduary: Did you know how many things the Windows key can do?”

  1. TM Avatar

    Very cool list. Also, Win + Ctrl + DownArrow = Un-stretch or minimize current window.

  2. Dugald Avatar

    Nice writeup.In your listing, I think you have a copy/paste error for Win + D. It should be 'Shows Desktop', but "Opens closes Start Menu' is what is listed.

  3. Dale Avatar

    Thanks for the list! It's definitely going on my bulletin board.

  4. Tim Avatar

    Using autohotkey and a simple script and you can extend the windows key a lot further. For example, I map win+x to open excel, win+w for Word, win+b for LiveWriter (blog, get it? 🙂 ), win+s for VisualStudio, ctrl+win+s to open the Studio command prompt.I know it's not native windows functionality, but autohotkey (http://www.autohotkey.com/) is a light weight program, and making the script to map those keys takes a few minutes.

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