If you think you know them all, I've got a surprise for you. There are even more in Windows 7, the new version of Windows coming out this fall.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983
Secrets of the 'Win' key in Windows, including Windows 7
August 30, 2009
By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2009, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2009, The Post-Standard
If you're a Windows user, you might already know that the Win key -- the keyboard key with the Windows logo
on it -- opens the Start Menu. That's very handy, especially on a laptop. But the Win key holds a lot of secrets, too.
If you think you know them all, I've got a surprise for you. There are even more in Windows 7, the new
version of Windows coming out this fall.
We'll get to the Windows 7 keys shortly. Let's get back to the standard Win keys.
My favorite is Win-R, which opens a tiny window ready for you to type a command. It doesn't have to be
anything fancy. The name of a program works fine. So when I want to open Notepad, I press Win-R and immediately type NOTEPAD and
There are about two dozen other Win key combinations. You'll find a complete list below, further down in
My second-most-favorite Win key combination is Win-M, which minimizes all open windows. When I've got lots
of programs running, nothing clears the clutter away as quickly as Win-M. To bring all those windows back on screen, you add
Shift to the mix (Win-Shift-M).
In third place is Win-E, which opens an Explorer window. Explorer (not Internet Explorer -- just Explorer)
is the file manager for Windows. Having it pop open by pressing two keys together is a big plus for me.
Fourth place goes to Win-Ctrl-F, which opens the network Find Computer dialog box. My Windows (and Mac)
computers are nearly always networked to each other, and I love being able to locate a networked computer quickly.
In fifth place is a combination that works only on a Microsoft Natural keyboard (and possibly on others
that use the same key codes). It's Win-L, which starts logging you off Windows.
For Windows 7's early adopters, here are two new Win shortcuts:
Win-Shift-Up Arrow maximizes the window in the vertical direction only (and
Win-Shift-Down Arrow restores the previous state).
Win-P opens the Projector Settings window for setting up presentations on a
More Windows 7 shortcuts are below.
All the Win key shortcuts
WIN: Open Start Menu
WIN-D: Maximize (restore) or minimize all open windows or open Desktop menu [Win98/2000/ME/XP/2003 only]
WIN-E: Start Windows Explorer
WIN-F: Start Find Files/Folders dialog box
WIN-L: Start Welcome screen [WinXP-Fast User Switch XP Power Toy only] or Lockup Workstation
WIN-M: Minimize or maximize (restore) all open windows
WIN-R: Start Run dialog box
WIN-F1: Start Help Menu and Support Center [Win98/2000/ME/XP/2003 only]
WIN-Tab: Cycle and select (press Enter) through all open apps/games Taskbar buttons
WIN-Ctrl-Tab: Cycle through all open apps/games Taskbar buttons, Tray icons, Start Menu and Quick
Launch toolbars (press Right or Left arrows to Cycle through Toolbar and Tray items)
WIN-Pause/Break: Start Systems Properties Control Panel applet
WIN-Ctrl-F: Start Find Computer dialog box
WIN-Shift-M: Undo Minimize (restore) all open windows
WIN-L-Enter: Logoff Windows [Win98/ME only] or Lockup Workstation [Win2000/XP/2003 only]
WIN-Q: Cycle and select (press Enter) through all users [Win2000/XP/2003 only] or Fast User Switch
[WinXP-Fast User Switch XP Power Toy only]
WIN-U: Start Utility Manager [Win2000/XP/2003 only]
WIN-U-R-Enter: Restart Windows [Win95/98/ME only]
WIN-U-S-Enter: Shut down Windows [Win95/98/ME only]
WIN-Space: Scroll down one page at a time (same as Page Down) in any web browser
WIN-Back Space: Scroll up one page at a time (same as Page Up) in any web browser
For users of a Microsoft Natural keyboard:
WIN-A: Start Accessibility Options Control Panel applet (if installed)
WIN-C: Start Control Panel
WIN-I: Start Mouse Properties Control Panel applet
WIN-K: Start keyboard Properties Control Panel applet
WIN-L: Log off Windows
WIN-P: Start Print Manager
WIN-S: Toggle Caps Lock ON or OFF
WIN-V: Start Clipboard
WIN-Space: Display Microsoft IntelliType shortcut key list
Additional Windows 7 Win keys
WIN-Left Arrow and WIN-Right Arrow: dock a window to the left or right edge of the screen.
WIN-Up Arrow and WIN-Down Arrow: Maximize and restore or minimize.
WIN-Shift-Up Arrow and WIN-Shift-Down Arrow: Maximize and restore the vertical size only.
Win-P: Open Projector Settings Window.
Win-X: Open the Windows Mobility Center, which lets you quickly immobilize instant messaging clients,
screen savers and desktop wallpaper.