Let's start with something most Windows users just plain ignore -- the so-called "Win key shortcuts."
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online since 1983

Cabin fever? Sharpen your Windows skills

February 1, 2015

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2015, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2015, The Post-Standard

Spring is a long time coming. Strike back at your winter cabin fever with some mental exercise. Learn a few Windows shortcuts you never knew existed.

Let's start with something most Windows users just plain ignore -- the so-called "Win key shortcuts."

The Win key is the key along the bottom of your keyboard that has a Windows flag symbol. Pressing it opens the Start Menu. Cool, right? But that's just the beginning.

Here are a few of the other Win key combinations:

  Win-F opens the Start Menu's "Find" window.

  Win-E launches Explorer, the file-and-folder program.

  Win-Pause opens the System Properties window.

  Win-M minimizes all windows.

  Win-Shift-M undoes the action of Win-M.

  Win-D clears all windows so the desktop is fully visible. It's a toggle, so it also reverses that action.

Why do I say most Windows users ignore these shortcuts? I've been teaching Windows for decades to more people than you can count, yet I have yet to see more than two or three Windows users actually use even the simplest shortcut, the Win key by itself.

So start a revolution. I'd love to be wrong on this.

While you're at it, try this:

Keep your hands off your mouse when you see dialogs that show choices such as "Yes" and "No" or "OK" and "Cancel." If one of the choices is bold, just hit the Enter key. If neither one is bold, try pressing the key your choice starts with, such as "Y" for "Yes."

One more:

I'm often asked how to get a picture of the screen. Here goes: Press the Print Screen key. It's often shown as "Prt Sc" or something similar. Open Word Pad or any other word processor, create a new document, and do a Paste operation from the Edit menu. You can also paste into a photo program or, sometimes, right into an email letter.