I'm a keyboard junkie. I love having a key sequence to do everything. What are your favorite keyboard shortcuts?

I'll start by naming a couple of mine:

1 - Alt-Space to access the windows menu for the current window

2 - F2 to rename a file in Windows Explorer

+5  A: 
  1. Win-E to open an explorer reference
  2. Win-R from the Run box
  3. Ctrl-Escape to open the start menu

And, of course, Alt-F4 to close things

Rob Walker
+11  A: 
  • Alt-F4 to close a program.
  • WindowsKey + L to lock my workstation
  • Ctr-Shift-Ins to copy text from a textbox
  • Alt-PrintScreen to capture a shot of just a window
  • WindowsKey + R to open the "Run" dialog (XP Pro only- does something else on XP Home)
Joel Coehoorn
Alt+PrintScreen is handy, especially on XPs. Vista comes with a handy accessory - Snipping Tool. At least the enterprise edition does.
Peter Perháč
Just `Ctrl+Ins` is copy. `Shift+Ins` is paste!
+8  A: 

Win-L to lock the computer.

Bill the Lizard
+14  A: 

Windows-Pause/Break to bring up computer info and to access environment variables under the advanced tab. Windows-R to go straight to the run box (though I barely use this anymore since I started with Launchy)

of course Alt-Tab but also Alt-Shift-Tab for going backwards.

Oh, and personally, I hate Ctrl+F4 for closing tabs - too much of a pinky stretch.

George Mauer
IMO, default shortcut of Launchy sucks because Alt-Space is too useful for me to let L to hi-jack it. So, I re-map Launchy to Win-Space. What is your preference?
alt space is fine by me, win-space woudl be harder to hit, but to each his own!
George Mauer
you can do anything alt-space provides with other hot keys, so it's okay for launchy to take over it. However, Launchy is found to consume too much resource for me, i just pin the most frequently used programs to my start menu. It's good.
Ctrl+W closes tabs or documents in all good apps.
+7  A: 
  • Win-D to minimize all applications
  • Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open Task Manager
I always wanted to use Win-D more, but it's a one way action. There doesn't seem to be a way to restore all the windows to the state they were at, unfortunately.
@Zigdon: Win-D is a toggle. Press it again and the windows should be restored. Are you confusing this with Win-M? (I use XP)
It is - Win-D. At least on XP.Another way is to use Win-M to minimize, Win-Shift-M to undo.
Peter Perháč

I don't have favorites among keyboard shortcuts -- they are all utility entities to me...

Except for Win-L, which means another coffee break!

+4  A: 
  • F4 in windows explorer to access the location bar trivially.
  • RMenuKey (usually next to the right-hand windows key) + W + F - create a new folder in explorer.
+2  A: 
  1. Win-[type name of program] to launch a program in Vista
  2. Win-E for explorer
  3. Win-F for find
  4. Alt-Tab to swap between programs
  5. Ctrl-Tab to swawp between tabs

Not really a 'Windows' shortcut, but the Ctrl-Alt-numpad and Ctrl-Alt-arrows to move and resize windows and move them to another monitor using WinSplit Revolution are absolutely great. I would never use large or multiple monitors without them.

Chris Upchurch
Just downloaded WinSplit - wowza that's useful!
George Mauer

ctrl+alt+del to open task manager
alt+f4 to close window

I've removed the "Windows" key from my keyboard, along with a few other non-standard keys - they're too much of a nuisance.

Interesting... I use the Windows key a lot. In fact, I've made a point of "pinning" shortcuts to the menu with unique letters. That way, I can hit Windows-Q or Windows-X or whatever, to launch my favorite apps in two keystrokes.
+1  A: 

Repeat CTRL + ALT + DEL Twice!

+2  A: 

win-M to minimise all. Useful for quick trips to the desktop.

Win+Shift+M to unminimise.
Dave Webb

Win+D to show the desktop and then Win+D to bring all the windows back again.

Dave Webb
+4  A: 

I try to stick to my keyboard as well. I frequently use...

  • Win+L to Lock my system
  • Alt+F4 to close a program
  • Win+R to launch from the Run Window (Used for frequent programs instead of going through QuickLaunch)
  • F2 to rename a file
  • Win+D to go to Desktop
  • Alt+Tab and Alt+Tab+Shift to cycle through open programs

Visual Studio

  • Alt, D (debug), P (process), W (webdev process)
  • Alt, T (Tools), P (process), W (webdev process) for VS 2008
  • Alt, M, O to collapse to definitions
  • F5 to lauch
  • F9, F10, and F11 for stepping trhough debugger
  • Alt+K, D to format a document
  • Alt+K, C to comment
  • Alt+K, U to uncomment


  • Alt+W to close tab
  • F6 to focus on the address bar
+1  A: 

My personal favourite is WinKey, U, Enter - shuts Windows down! ;-)

John Topley
win -> U -> U also works.
+11  A: 

Win+1..9 -- Start quick launch shortcut at that index (Vista).
Ctrl+Scroll Lock,Scroll Lock -- Crash your computer:

@gabr -- Win+D is show desktop, Win+M minimizes all windows. Hiting Win+D twice brings everything back as it has only shown the desktop window in front of the other windows.

I picked yours as the "answer" b/c I have never heard of the ctrl-scroll lock, scroll lock one before.
Wow, what the devil.. I've never heard about this one
What am I doing wrong? I keep trying the scroll lock combination and NOTHING happens.
Peter Perháč
You have to enable it via the registry. Follow the link from the answer.
Richard Szalay

All those of you that mentioned Alt Tab and Ctrl Tab missed out the shift versions too

CTRL-SHIFT-TAB - move one tab back ALT-SHIFT-TAB - move one window back in task switcher

+1  A: 

I use the free AutoHotKey, then I define my own shortcuts:

  • dobule tap F4 quickly => Close active Windows (like Alt+F4 but with one finger only)
  • double tap Right Alt quickly => Find and Run Robot task manager
  • F12 => open Find and Run Robot Locate32 plugin (I use it like a very lightweight desktop search)
  • Ctrl+Up / Down in a command window => scroll back / forward command line like the mouse wheel
  • Ctrl+w in a command windows => close window


+2  A: 

A few basic keyboard shortcuts for clipboard operations, text selection, and navigation that work in most Windows programs:


  • Ctrl+X - Clipcoard Cut
  • Ctrl+C - Clipboard Copy
  • Ctrl+V - Clipboard Paste

Selecting Text

  • Ctrl+A - Select All (in the current field or document)
  • Shift + [navigate with arrow keys, Home/End, or PgUp/PgDn] - Select text between the caret's previous and new positions. Continue to hold Shift and navigate to select more text.


  • Ctrl + left arrow / Ctrl + right arrow - Move the caret to the previous/next word
  • Ctrl+Home / Ctrl+End - Go to beginning/end of the current field or document

Bonus Tip!

  • Before submitting a web form where you've entered a lot of text into a text field (for example, an email in a web-based mail client -- or a new question or answer on Stack Overflow!), do a quick Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C on the field. That way, if something goes wrong with the submit (even if the browser crashes), you haven't lost your work -- you have a copy of it sitting on the clipboard.
Jon Schneider

Win+D, Win+R, Win+E, Win+1 (Firefox)

+2  A: 

On Windows Vista, if you bring up the Start menu and search for a program, pressing Ctrl+Shift+Enter will run the selected program as Administrator. So to open an Administrator command prompt:

Windows key, type "cmd", Ctrl+Shift+Enter

+3  A: 

To maximize a window: Alt+Space, X
To restore a window: Alt+Space, R
To minimize a window: Alt+Space, N
To close a window: Alt+Space, C


The most "important" shortcut is the Secure Attention Sequence, Ctrl+Alt+Del.

On XP you usually have to enable it otherwise it just runs Task Manager.

While logged in, SAS brings up the Windows Security dialog on its own Desktop, which will get you out of almost anything (such as a hung full-screen DirectX app).

The Task Manager shortcut is now (and always was) Ctrl+Shift+Esc.

(this answer applies to NT4, 2000, XP and 2003. I can't speak for Vista)

Hugh Allen
  • Win+Pause/Break for System Properties
  • Win+E: open windows explorer
  • Win+F: find
  • Win+R: run
  • Win+M: minimize all windows
  • Win+Shift+M: restore all windows
  • Alt+F4: close program
  • Alt+Tab: switch between tasks
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del: task manager
Tom De Leu

Ctrl + Shift + Esc -> Open Task Manager

Ctrl + W -> closes windows in MDIs where Ctrl+F4 doesn't work

Those and the Win + Number is Vista are used constantly.

Also a nice trick is Win + Tab -> cycles through program groups on task bar in Windows Xp and Server 2003. (i.e. same as Vista without the previews).


Alt + f4 Alt + tab ctrl + tab win + tab ctrl + x ctrl + v ctrl + c alt + r alt + e alt + d ctrl + space (VS IDE)


It's not a keyboard shortcut, but my favourite trick is to bind the large thumb button on the rat to move window, the smaller thumb button to resize. That way, windows can be moved and resized very easily and naturally. You can probably to that in windows too.

As for keyboard tricks, I use right ctrl+keypad to pick (one of nine) virtual screens. Very quick and natural.

Anders Eurenius

I mapped some global hotkeys:

  • In Winamp I use Ctrl+Alt+Backspace (same as AltGr+Backspace for me) to Pause. If someone wants my attention while I've got headphones on, far easier to press a couple of buttons than click the mouse on a button that's about five pixels wide.

  • I use Ctrl+Alt+C to run calc.

Astonishing how many people have a physical calculator on their desk because they can't figure this out.

In calc, F5, F6, F7, F8 cycle between Hex, Dec, Oct, Bin mode.


In any dialog with tabs, Ctrl-Page Up/Down to cycle between the tabs.

+2  A: 
  1. Ctrl + Shift + ESC : Run Task Manager
  2. Ctrl/Shift + Insert : Copy/Paste
  3. Shift + Delete : Cut (text)
  4. Win + L : Lock System
  5. Win + R : Run
  6. Ctrl + Pause Break : Break Loop (Programming)
  7. Ctrl + Tab : Tab Change
+2  A: 

For when you have a window stuck under an appbar and can't get at that window's system menu to move it:

alt-spacebar -> M -> arrow keys -> return

Bob Moore

I am used to setting up shortcut keys to program shortcuts in start menu (standard Windows feature). Once the program is started, pressing such shortcut brings the focus to the window instead of starting another copy.

For example, to pause Winamp I just press Ctrl+Alt+W, C (and I can have it working without tray or taskbar icons).

The only drawback is that some program names start with the same letter so I have to pick up other letters for them. =)

You can get two per letter, so, Ctrl+Alt+w is different than Ctrl+Alt+W. Numbers work, too.

Not really an answer, but a hint for a good source to look from - if no one cited it above wikipedia has all ( for the most important OS's) - not the best


Press the Backspace key in any Windows Explorer window (including the common dialog windows) to go up one level in the folder hierarchy. This is a shortcut for a button next to the folder combo-box. Microsoft removed this functionality in Windows Vista and later in order to make Windows Explorer more like a web browser; now the Backspace key operates as a "Back" button. (If anyone knows of a way to go up one level in Vista and later, please comment!)

Jay Michaud
[Alt-D], "..", ENTERAlt-D to give focus to the menu bar.. to go up a levelENTER to execute
I never thought of that. Thank you!
Jay Michaud

Many say that Win-D minimises all applications. Not true. It simply shows the desktop. Use Win-M to minimise all open windows. Use Win-Shift-M to restore them to their previous state.

By the way, did you notice that the Sift key can be combined with most of the usual shortcuts? e.g. Alt+Tab : cycle through applications 1->2->3->4->...1 Add Shift to the shortcut and you will be cycling in the opposite direction 1<-2<-3<-4<- ...1

Control+Tab to switch between Tabs in most Windows applications (sadly not in Eclipse) - you can already guess what Ctr+Shift+Tab will do. Especially handy in Firefox, IE, etc... where you have more than one Tab open and try going to the previous one. Very handy.

And one more tip, this is soooo handy, I love it. Only found out about it a couple of weeks ago:

FireFox users: tired of rightclick->Open Link in New Tab?

Click a link with MIDDLE mouse button and it will open in a new tab (depends on your Tabs settings in Tools->Options but by default would work). The magical thing about this is that it works even for the browser's Back button! Also when you type a search term into the Google box (usually in top right corner) and middle-click the search button, the search results are opened in a new tab. Closing tabs is also much easier with the middle mouse button (of course you can do Ctrl+W but sometimes the mouse is simply in your hand). You don't have to click the tab's red button to close it. Simply middle-click anywhere on the tab and it will be closed.

EDIT I just tried the middle button in IE 7 and seems to work just like it does in FF, except for the Back-button and Search widget.

Peter Perháč
+3  A: 

Ctrl-shift-esc to go straight to the task manager without any intermediate dialogs.


F5 to execute seems to be the one I use the most

Mark Callison