Your life revolves around saving time, whether you like it or not. We’ve previously discussed shortcut keys you can use in Windows 7, but didn’t cover all of them. There’s no way to do this, but we can certainly give you another large list of key combinations you can use to make your life much simpler. As long as you’re a keyboard person, and prefer not to use your mouse at any opportunity you have, this guide will teach you to surf around your operating system almost solely on your keyboard!
1. Win+Up/Down Arrow
If you’re looking for a way to maximize and minimize your windows quickly, pressing “Win” and the “Up” arrow on your keyboard will maximize any window. In exchange, using the “Down” arrow will first restore it, if it was maximized, and then minimize it once you press the “Down” arrow again.
2. Win+Left/Right Arrow
Let’s say you want to split a monitor down the middle by arranging windows vertically, one next to another. You can do this easily by pressing “Win” and the “Left” arrow to move the window to the left half of the screen. The “Right” arrow will do the same on the right side of the screen. This is particularly useful on a high-aspect-ratio monitor.
Unlike “Win+Tab,” this key combination lets you have a tiny preview of each running application and cycles between previews every time you press it. The preview looks something like this:
Use this key combination to open Windows Search. If you got something quick to search for, though, you can go ahead and use the top right corner of any Explorer window. With Windows Search you can search your entire computer for something that you’ve been looking for. It will scan every volume you have installed on your computer. Don’t underestimate its power!
If you have the Mobile PC option in your control panel, you can open the Windows Mobility Center using this shortcut. The Mobility Center allows you to check your battery, change power settings, change brightness, adjust the volume, enable projector presentations, and sync with other devices all from one window. It’s a powerful feature for when you’re running on a laptop or a tablet because every single drop of juice from your battery counts.
If you want to get a quick look into your libraries – as they’re called in Windows 7 – then you can use this key combination to immediately open Windows Explorer. You’ll have instant access to your hard drives and connected devices from this window.
The “Pause/Break” key has often been ignored by many people, but remains a powerful piece of a shortcut in Windows 7 that lets you easily access your system properties window and see what kind of specifications your computer has, who it’s registered to, and what Windows Experience Index the computer has.
This keyboard shortcut will let you find other computers in your network if you have joined a domain. It’s useful for finding resources that are shared on computers in a very large network. Here’s what the window looks like:
9. Ctrl+Shift+Click Item on Taskbar
Our own JJ has previously mentioned “Shift+Clicking” an item on the taskbar to open a new instance of that window. If you add “Ctrl” to that mix, you get to open a new instance of a window in administrator mode. Give it a shot!
While on Windows Explorer, you can quickly switch over to the address bar by using this shortcut. Take note that, while out of Explorer, you’ll just switch to the desktop and minimize all windows. Pressing it again will reverse the process in case you accidentally activate minimization.
This keyboard shortcut will open the “jumplist” of any application currently open on or pinned to the taskbar. Check below for an example.
12. Alt+Up Arrow
Instead of clicking the “Back” or “Up” button, you can use this key combo to go up a level in Windows Explorer. Note that this only works in Explorer. We don’t guarantee this capability in other applications. To go up a level on Explorer means to go to the parent folder of the directory you currently find yourself in.
13. Shift+Right-Click (On a File)
While you’re in Windows Explorer, have you ever come up with the need to copy a file’s full path? Many people say that such a thing isn’t possible from a context menu unless you use third-party help. No way! Windows comes with such a feature integrated already! If you use this keyboard shortcut, you’ll have “Copy as path” listed in your context menu. Try it!
This will put the file’s full path on your clipboard, so you can paste it at your convenience elsewhere. It comes useful for those of you who write tutorials that involve lots of path names.
14. Shift+Right-Click Folder
So, this will amount to trying the last trick on a folder instead of a file. It adds the ability to open the directory in the command prompt.
This nifty little shortcut key shoots you directly to the System Tray icon area, located on the far right side of the taskbar, where Windows displays your system time. It’s an easy way to get there when your mouse batteries are dead!
Got Any More?
Bring it on! We’d love to know what other key combos you’ve discovered! Don’t forget that there are already another two articles on MTE regarding Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts. They’re linked here and here.