Stan's Chrome-Plated Tech Tips

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


What does this thing do? or Tech Tip of The Day - The Windows Key

Welcome to the first tech tip of the day! Being in the computer service and repair business, people are always asking for advice, so I decided to add a regular column to offer just that.

One thing our customers, especially the busy West Hollywood and Los Angeles area residents we regularly serve, ask us is how they can be a little more efficient? Well one sure fire way is to use the various shortcuts their operating system offers.

So today we're going to go over some of the enhanced features the Windows key gives you PC people. Fret not, Mac people, we'll have a column on the many added features of the Apple key soon. Now many of you probably never even use the Windows key at all and don't have much of an idea of what it does, but once you start, you'll wonder where it's been all this time.

So without further adieu, here are some time saving shortcuts using the Windows key:

Windows Key: Opens the Start Menu
Windows Key + E: Opens Windows Explorer
Windows Key + D: Minimizes all windows, Windows+D again restores all windows
Windows Key + F: Opens the Find Dialog Box
Windows Key + M: Minimizes all windows
Windows Key + Shift + M: Restores the same windows
Windows Key + R: Opens the Run Dialog Box
Windows Key + Pause/Break: Opens the System Properties
Windows Key + U: Opens the Utility Manager
Windows Key + F: Opens the Windows Search
Windows Key + L: Locks the Desktop

And here are some special Windows 7-only shortcut keys:
Windows Key + Left Arrow: Shrinks window to half screen on the left
Windows Key + Right Arrow: Shrinks window to half screen on the right
Windows Key + Up Arrow: Restores window to full size
Windows Key + Down Arrow: minimizes window
Windows Key + P: Quickly change between monitors

There you have it, the almighty Windows Key. They really kicked it up a notch for Windows 7, so if you haven't upgraded already or aren't sure how, it's one thing we definitely specialize in. Windows 7 is a big step up over Windows Vista, but I'll get into that soon too.

I get that it's not the reinventing of the wheel or anything, but these shortcuts are definite time savers. I know I use them all the time. When the name of the game is efficiency, every little bit helps.

I hope you found this tip useful, and if you've got any other topics you'd like covered, shoot me a note and I'll include it in a future installment. So there's our first tip of the day. I can't believe it's almost over, it kind of makes me sad ;).

'Til next time.

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