Many of you have probably been using Windows 7 for quite a while now. It’s really quite a solid operating system, with stability and functionality far exceeding anything Microsoft has offered before. You may, however, be unaware of one of the great productivity advantages that Windows offers you. That is keyboard integration, which is far more advanced than other platforms like Mac OSX. Windows is entirely functional without a mouse cursor, and indeed many features can be accessed much faster through the use of keyboard shortcuts. Hopefully the shortcuts below will be of use to some of you. I know I learnt a few new ones when researching this article!
1. Ctrl + Shift + Click – Open a Program as Administrator
With stricter security under Windows 7 comes the need to occasionally open programs as the Administrator user. Usually you need to right-click and then select “Run as Administrator”, but with this short-cut, you can avoid that step.
2. Shift + Right-Click on a Folder for a Command Prompt
This is very useful if you like using the command prompt. If you shift+right-click on a folder, a new option will appear to “Open command window here”. Clicking on that will open a command prompt at that location.
3. Windows-button + Number – Select Taskbar items
Pressing the windows-button and a number from 0-9 will select an item on the taskbar (0 is equivalent to 10). Potentially a fast way of switching between applications that you are using for keyboard input. For example, you could use it to switch focus between two open documents.
4. Ctrl + Shift + N – Create a New Folder in Explorer
This doesn’t really need much more of an explanation, basically as an alternative to clicking the menu item for a new folder.
5. Shift + Right-Click – Extends the Send-To Menu
If you right-click a file in explorer, there is a “Send to” option in the menu. Within that menu are a number of locations, which the file can be sent (copied) to. By using Shift+Right-click, this menu is expanded to include a number of other user locations.
6. Ctrl + Shift + Escape – Open Task Manager
Brings up the task manager, without the need to press Ctrl+Alt+Del first. Task manager is a useful Windows utility that, among other things, allows you to end unresponsive processes.
7. Windows-botton + Pause – Open System Properties
Opens the system properties window. Neat right? :)
8. Windows-button+B to Focus on System Tray
Focuses on the system tray, which then allows you to use the arrow keys to navigate it. Hit the Enter key on the little up arrow to expand it.
9. Shift+Click on Taskbar Item to Open Second Instance
If you want to open more than one copy of a program in your system tray, simply shift-click on the icon. This does not work for every application, only those which allow multiple instances. E.g. Internet browsers, explorer, Notepad, Wordpad.
10. Windows-button+Space to Show the Desktop
Essentially the same as clicking the little tab in the right hand corner of the taskbar, it will show the desktop by hiding active windows.
Hopefully some of you will find these shortcuts useful. Feel free to post more shortcuts in the comments below.
Image credit: Leonid Mamchenkov
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