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GeekNewb: Get to Know These Windows 7 Hotkeys

Even if you’re not much of a keyboard ninja, there are certain shortcuts that simply seem ridiculous not to know: Ctrl+V springs to mind as an obvious example. But even uber-geeks will agree that much of the time it really is a lot easier for the average user to just grab the mouse.

To this user, many shortcuts exist purely to confuse. Even the word-by-word Ctrl+Backspace combination seems mind boggling. Windows 7, however, provides us with some seriously useful shortcuts that just might seep into the keyboard vernacular of the mom-and-pop user. Here are seven (see what we’ve done there) of the most useful.

Windows+Left / Windows+Right

Depending on the initial position of the window, pressing either of the two combinations once or twice will bring your current active window to the side of the screen corresponding with the direction of the arrow key you pressed.

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This allows exactly half of the screen to remain blank, where you may place another window through use of the same process.

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This works equally as well use dual monitors, and allows the same process to occur for another two windows.

Windows+Shift+Left / Windows+Shift+Right

This shortcut is entirely dependent on the user having multiple monitors, but is incredibly useful to those who do. It simply allows the user to move a window from its current position on one monitor to the corresponding position on the other. Very, very useful.

Here the window is on the right-hand monitor…

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And now the window is over on the left monitor…

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Windows+Space

Allows the user to preview their desktop beneath the currently displayed windows. Useful for checking gadgets, etc, if you use them.

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Windows+Plus symbol / Windows+Minus symbol

Zooms in on anything on screen. Similar to the feature on Mac computers. Solution to the lack of full screen functionality on the integrated video player in the new Firefox beta anyone? 

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Alt+Up / Alt+Left / Alt+Right

Directory navigation hotkeys.

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Windows+T

Sort of like Alt+Tab, but not—it puts the focus on the taskbar, and continuing to hit the hotkey will pop up each preview without needing to use the mouse.

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Windows+M

Minimizes everything in one fell swoop. Extremely convenient shortcut, but not really worthy of a screenshot.

Windows+Tab

Moves to Windows’ Flip 3D function, which allows you to flip through your windows in a large enough scale that it is possible to differentiate text etc.

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Windows+Number

Okay, so this is actually shortcut number nine, but it’s kind of essential. This allows you to open the programs pinned to the taskbar in order from the left. So Windows+1 would open Internet Explorer in the screenshot below, Windows+2 would open the next, and so on.

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These are, for once, all extremely efficient improvements by Windows from which the benefits extend even to the lowest level users- something we should surely encourage. Now feel free to throw away your mouse… but  keep it in the top of the bin.

Daniel Gilbert is a geek from down under that really likes Firefox and audio recording.

  • Published 07/1/09

Comments (7)

  1. supermamon

    Nice thanks. May I add also that you may you may press and release Windows+T and use the arrow keys to move back and forth between buttons. Windows+B then arrow keys will do the same thing for tray icons.

  2. Gaurav Kumar

    Hi
    Thank you. I have been working on windows since I was in the 6th standard. I consider mixing of keyboard shortcuts and mouse the only way to boost your productivity. Even I didn’t know Win + T and Win + # shortcuts work in Vista.
    Thank You very much.

  3. g.i.joe

    thanks, Geek!

  4. ScottW

    Also, Alt+Win+Number will open the jump list for the pinned taskbar item given by Number. Shift+Win+Number will open a new instance, and Ctrl+Win+Number will restore the last active window. Without Ctrl, Win+Number will open the first active window if the app is running.

    Ctrl+Win+Tab is like a “sticky” version of Aero Flip — you can let go of those keys then use the arrows (up & down or left & right) to navigate, then Enter to pick the current window or Esc to cancel out without changing windows.

    Finally, to see all of the available hotkeys, search “keyboard shortcuts” in Help and Support.

  5. Duane Dier

    Thanks for the tips – if I’m ever forced to use Windows 7 I’ll refer back here. You made feature comparisons to OS X but it should be said that Compiz can customize all of these features (and many, many more) for GNU/Linux systems to whatever hotkey mapping the user desires.

  6. Stig

    Thanks, I prefer Win+D to Win+M, because Win+D toggles between minimize all and restore, Win+M does not, cheers!

  7. Andrés

    Super simple yet super useful. Thanks for this. I only knew a few ones

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