10 Quick Shortcuts with the Win Key

If you’re like most, it might seem someone in the keyboard design department went overboard and invented all these obscure keys on the keyboard just to fill in space. Today I’m going to tell you about just one key and the cool things you can do with it.


The Win key

Behold the Win or Windows key (which sits at the bottom left between the Ctrl and Alt keys and sometimes to right of the spacebar too.) It’s a testimony I guess that Microsoft has no intention of just staying inside your computer, but have reached out of the box so to speak and found a permanent place on millions of keyboards; clever marketing eh? I digress once again so lets get into it.

The following work in windows 7, some might not work with other flavors. The + symbol here simply means you hold the Win key down and (+) the key that follows. (Don’t use the + key on the keyboard, things could get ugly, and you’ll be on you own.)


Opens the start menu

Win + E  [E for explorer]

This opens windows explorer (not Internet Explorer; because why would you want to right, because you’re already using Google Chrome?)

Win + F1

If you need help, use this; it opens the help dialog.

Win + F [F for find]

Use this combination to find files and folders; it opens a search window.

Win + L  [L for lock]

locks your PC to the login screen (assuming you’ve got a password to log in and if not why not. Windows is insecure enough without you helping it!)

Win + M  [M for minimize]

Minimizes all open windows. Win + D [D for desktop] does this too. (Not too sure there’s a difference here.) By the way; Shift + Win + M undoes this.

Win + Pause/break

Opens the properties panel.

Win + R [R for run]

Opens the run dialog box; which is a super quick way to get to it.

Win + Tab


Using the WIN and TAB key combination lets you scroll through the open windows.

Probably the most cool effect. It puts the open  windows in a kind of 3d folder list and lets you choose a different window. Try it, but first open a few windows. Holding down the Win key while repeatedly tapping the Tab key will cycle through the windows open, let go of both buttons when the one you want is at the front.

Win +  Arrow [keys]

Left: Moves the active window to the left half of the screen.

Right: You guessed it; moves the active window to the right half of the screen.

Up: This maximizes any active window that’s not already maximized.

Down: This snaps or makes smaller from a maximized window any active window, (basically the opposite of the win + up arrow).

And there you have it, hope you have some fun with these and use them regularly to speed up your workflow. Assuming you use them in front of others, they’ll make you look like a computer guru, provide you with the smug assurance that you know something more than others or at least give the appearance that you know what you’re doing when in reality like everyone else you really don’t! Enjoy.

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