10 Windows Key Keyboard Shortcuts

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If you would like to boost your productivity while using Windows, it is a good idea to know your keyboard shortcuts. Personally, I am a big believer in keyboard shortcuts. Windows offers a lot of them and most of them are really useful.

Today, I take a look at the Windows key located between the Ctrl and Alt keys on your keyboard. The Win key by itself accesses the Start Menu. But its possibilities don’t end there.

Win+Number

I use Windows’ taskbar extensively. I pinned all my favorite tools to it and to access them I sometimes use the Win+number keyboard shortcuts. This way I can still manipulate the mouse with my right hand at the same time.

win number keyboard shortcuts

Win+Number keyboard shortcuts

It is also possible to minimize the application windows back to the taskbar using the Win+Ctrl+number shortcut.

If you would like to launch a new instance of an application already running, simply add Shift to the mix and use Win+Shift+number. For example, in the case represented on the image above, Win+Shift+6 would launch a second instance of Google Chrome.

The only backdrop is that this shortcut works only for the first 10 items listed on the taskbar, i.e. Win+1 to Win+0. A work-around is to pin those programs that you plan to use most often to the first ten places of your taskbar.

Win+D

This is a handy shortcut for everyone working in an office environment. If you need to take a short break from work playing Solitaire and the boss comes near, use Win+D to hide all active windows and show the Desktop. When you hit the same keyboard shortcut a second time, everything comes back.

Win+Spacebar

Win+Spacebar achieves the Aero Peek effect which is similar to Win+D. However, should your boss want something with you, you will be busted. As this combo makes all windows transparent only while you hold the keys.

The exact same thing can be achieved by moving your mouse to the downright corner of your desktop. If you do a left-click there, it is the same as Win+D. Click again and everything comes back.

Win+M

This shortcut is similar to Win+D as it minimizes all active windows. To reverse this action, use Win+Shift+M.

Win+X

This excellent shortcut brings up the Windows Mobility Center where you can change settings for your display brightness, speaker or headphones volume, or check your battery and wifi status.

win x shortcut

Win+X shortcut

Win+E

Win+E will start Windows Explorer for you.

Win+R

Opens up the Run command window. It is useful when you need to quickly open up a program but don’t know its exact location.

Win+Tab

If you like switching between tasks using Alt+Tab, then you will like this shortcut. It utilizes the Flip 3D effect, so that you can easily visualize all your active windows.

win tab shortcut

Win+Tab shortcut

To make the effect stick, use Win+Ctrl+Tab. Now you can flip between your open applications using just the Tab key or the scroll key of your mouse. To start working with the window that is in focus, left-click on it with your mouse.

Win+Arrow

Windows makes it very simple to keep your desktop organized. Use the Win key plus the Left or Right Arrow key to snap your active window to the left, center, or right of your screen. Win+Up Arrow will maximize and Win+Down Arrow will minimize the active window.

Win+Home

To minimize all windows but the one that you are currently using, use Win+Home. This can also be done by grabbing the active window’s title bar with your mouse and shaking it swiftly to the left and right a few times.

Final Thoughts on Keyboard Shortcuts

I hope that you will find these shortcuts as useful as I do every day.

Please, don’t hesitate to mention your favorite keyboard shortcuts in the comments section below.

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