This is part of the user recommendation marathon where we write articles based on recommendations users have sent to us. In this post we are going to answer a question David recommended to us.
David asks I have been curious about the Windows key that is included with the keyboards and would like to know what uses it has and how I can make it work for me.
David this is quite a interesting question and several readers like you may not be aware of how useful the Windows key can be for increasing productivity. Before we can go ahead in telling about the usefulness of the key, you may want to know that the Windows key is basically a shortcut for triggering several features and windows applications, you may otherwise spend time doing.
Let us look at the things you can accomplish using the Windows key.
Hotkeys That Work With Latest Versions of Windows
Start Menu Trigger – The first and most important shortcut the Windows key provides, is a access to the Start menu.
Opening Window Explorer To open Windows explorer, you will need to use the hotkey Windows + E, this is probably the most neglected hotkey users have never used even though they have been using Windows for several years.
Locking your Computer The Windows + L hotkey is probably the fastest way to lock your computer. Many users still use the start menu to do this.
Windows Run Prompt Pressing Windows + R will popup the run box, using which you can launch any application. For more information on applications you can launch, read our earlier post which talked about several applications you can launch using the run prompt.
Minimizing and Maximizing Applications You can easily minimize and maximize all application windows using the Windows + D hotkey. You can also minimize or maximize application by using the Windows + M hotkey along with the Windows + Shift + M to maximize it again.
View System Properties The Windows + Break hotkey (also Pause / Break in several keyboards) is the fastest way to view your system properties, we have used this several times to change system configurations instead of using the longer way of clicking on my computer and going to properties.
Open Windows Search To open windows search you can use the hotkey Windows + F.
Toggle Applications in Taskbar To toggle open applications use the Windows + Tab hotkey. In Windows Vista you will be able to cycle through all open application windows.
Open User Accessibility Windows + U hotkey opens the user accessibility menu for disabled people.
Windows Vista Only Shortcuts
Open Quick Launch Applications One of the best things we like about Vista is the way it allows us to launch our favorite applications. Using the windows key along with numbers you can launch the applications that are placed in your quick launch bar. So to open the first application use the hotkey, Windows + 1, for the second Windows + 2 and so on (Note: you can only launch applications in position from 1 – 9).
Toggle and Open / Manage System Tray Applications Pressing the hotkey Windows + B will take you to the system tray from where you can toggle and open applications which are minimized to the tray with your mouse keys and enter button. You can also use the right click hotkey to manage or close the application without bothering to use your mouse.
Toggle Taskbar Applications – Windows + T will let you toggle the application windows in the taskbar in Vista much like Windows + Tab in Windows XP. You can focus on the selected tab by clicking on the enter key.
Well the focus of this article was only on hotkeys in combination with Windows key, but if you are looking for other shortcuts, you can check out the related how you can quickly launch a website in any browser, find useful command prompt shortcuts or learn how to quickly access the address bar and history in browsers.
David, hope this solves your query about using the Windows Key to get the best out of it, and makes you more productive while using it. Our readers can still get their questions answered anytime using the contact us form.