New Shortcut Keys Found in Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Being the monkey that I am, I toyed around with Windows 8 Consumer Preview again and just started pressing a bunch of random key combinations that previously did nothing much in Windows 7 and other versions of the operating system. To my surprise, there are actually certain new shortcut key combinations you can use to bring Windows 8 to life without the need for a mouse. Many things in Windows 8 might better be achieved with key combos rather than mouse clicks, since it’s optimized for touch screens and it’ll be rather tiring navigating the entire interface and waiting on the mouse while hovering over all corners of your screen.

If you previously used the little desktop bar on the lower right hand corner of Windows 7, you’ll notice that it’s missing in the consumer preview. You can no longer hover your mouse on the lower right corner of your computer to have a temporary desktop preview. Windows now lets you do this with the “Win” and “,” keys. Here’s the cool part: Press the key combo and let go of the comma key while you still have the “Windows” key pressed. Now you will see your desktop until you let go of the “Windows” key.

Oh, this one is great for those who are visually impaired or just too lazy to read something! Press this key combination to open the narrator, an application that will read the current open document for you, word for word. I open it just for kicks at how the computer mispronounces words. Still, this is a very fun and useful feature in Windows, especially when you forget to put on your reading glasses! ;)

Probably the most annoying “feature” of Windows 8 is its “Charms” bar. When I was doing the consumer preview review earlier, I couldn’t help but grimace when I had to hover my mouse over the upper or lower right corner of the screen to get to the charms bar. Don’t know what that is? Let me show you:

windows8-charmbar

Charming, isn’t it? Well, the bar might get annoying if you used a mouse to get to it, but there’s a way to make it less annoying. “Win+C” will bring it right up – something highly useful when you use more than one display. For those of you unfamiliar with Windows 8, the “Charm” bar is the new Start “menu.” Instead of a Start menu, then, you have the charm bar and the Start screen. Within this curious-looking bar, you have access to the control panel, the display properties, simple device/network management, and control over networking. If you open this bar in the desktop, you get something different than if you did so through the Start screen.

This key combo doesn’t do much, but it’s still useful for people more comfortable with their keyboards. It opens the Apps bar in the Start screen. You can still do this by right-clicking somewhere on the screen not occupied by an app’s Metro “tile”.

The new interface is certainly going to take some getting used to, but it’s up to snuff with the awesome boot time. Shortcut keys are more compulsory in Windows 8 than they were back in 7. Give us a yell in the comments section if you find something we missed!