Thursday, December 3, 2009

My favorite Windows 7 Hotkeys

I’ve been using Win7 since beta 2 and I like it a lot. It’s in my opinion by far the best Windows operating system – a lot better than both Vista and XP. Not that it’s such an enormous change from Vista. It’s just the sum of all the small things. Like the perceived overall UI performance. The improved task bar. The speed of the start menu. The search on the start menu (I just can’t remember the last time I actually needed to click my way through the start menu to start a program. I just type in whatever app or feature I need to start or open, and 99 out of 100 it comes up among the top 3-4 items). And not at least; the hotkeys:

  • Win + Arrow: Docks the active window to the left or right, or minimizes (down arrow) or maximizes (up arrow) it. Or if the window is maximized and you hit Win + Down Arrow, the window will be restored. If you hit the same Win + Down Arrow again it will be minimized.
  • Win + Shift + Left/Right Arrow: Moves a window to the monitor on the left or right keeping the same position as it had on the monitor you moved it from.
  • Win + Home: Hides all open windows except the active (you can do the same by grabbing hold of the window title bar with the left mouse button (just as if you’d want to move the window around) and ‘shake’ the window you want to leave open)
  • Win + T: Puts focus on the taskbar so that you can use the arrow keys to move between the programs on the task bar and then Enter to activate them, Shift+Enter to open a new instance, or the ‘right menu button’ to get up the menu for each program.
  • Win + Number: Opens the program on the given index on your taskbar. For instance if you have pinned Outlook to the first position on the task bar, Win + 1 will start Outlook (or maximize it and bring it to the front if it’s minimized or behind some other windows).
  • Win + P: Opens up the “Connect to a projector/external display” dialog with the options to show your desktop on the computer only, duplicate it, extend it or show it on the projector (external display) only. The 'Connect to a projector' dialog
  • Win + X: Opens up the “Windows Mobility Center” where you can adjust display brightness, volume, battery mode, wireless connectivity, external display, sync connected devices, and presentation settings. Windows Mobility Center
  • Win + Space: Peek at the desktop – that is; make all windows transparent so that you can see the desktop.
  • Win + E: Opens the Windows Explorer
  • Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Opens the Task Manager
  • Win + R: Opens the Run dialog
  • Ctrl + Shift (when launching apps): Runs the program as administrator. For instance; open the Run dialog and type ‘cmd.exe’ (or just ‘cmd’). If you just hit Enter you will open the command prompt under the privileges of the user you’re currently logged in as. But if you instead hit Shift+Enter, you will open the command prompt with Administrator privileges.

Some of these are not really new to Win7, but I just threw them in there anyway because they’re just so incredibly useful :)

These hotkeys (or shortcut keys) just makes my working day a little better and a little bit more productive. Mix these in with some of the new features of the Windows Explorer and it can just make your day a bit brighter;

  • Shift + Right-click on a folder gives you some extra options compared to just right-click. For instance the “Open command window here” and “Open in new process”.
  • Ctrl + Shift + N: Creates a new folder
  • Right-click + Drag folder to the Windows Explorer icon on the taskbar pins the folder, so that you can right-click on the Windows Explorer icon on the taskbar and get direct access to the folder from the jump list.

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