15 Windows Keyboard Shortcuts You Probably Don't Know, but Should.

Ask any PC enthusiast what they think about mice, and you'll almost always get a response like, "They're great for sniping in Call of Duty, but for other things it just slows you down." For anything productivity, enthusiasts are mouse haters.

Personally, I fall in a camp somewhere in between; I'm not generally as opposed to the mouse in my workflow, but I will admit taking a little time to memorize a few essential keyboard shortcuts can go a long way in speeding up productivity.

Odds are if you've used a Windows PC over the years, you probably have discovered a few handy keyboard shortcuts. However, there are a lot more beyond the shortcuts for copy and paste (which you can also use to paste in plain text), and the infamous three finger salute (CTRL+ALT+DEL). In fact, there's a shortcut for almost everything thanks to the oft-misunderstood Windows key.

Below are 15 Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts you probably don't know, but should.

  1. Cut, Copy, and Paste - CTRL+C, CTRL+X, and CTRL+V - If you don't know, these are the most often used shortcut of them all. While holding the CTRL key, press C to copy, X to cut, or V to paste. You may already know it, but it's so essential it's worth the reminder.
  2. Undo, CTRL+Z - Accidentally paste the wrong thing in the wrong place? Didn't mean to paste that file there? Undo it, quickly!
  3. Skip the bin, SHIFT+DEL - Bypass the recycle bin entirely, delete it right away!
  4. To the task, CTRL+SHIFT+ESC - There are a few different ways to get directly to the task manager, but this is the most direct route.
  5. ALT+TAB / Windows+TAB - Switch tasks without touching the mouse. I personally use the ALT+TAB the most since this command has become wired into my brain, but Windows+TAB gives you the nifty Flip 3D version on Vista and 7 with Aero running. (Hint: If you bring up Flip 3D, skip tabbing through them. While holding the Windows key, hold down CTRL. Then you can use the up down arrows to scroll flip through the open windows!)
  6. Rename, F2 - In Explorer, press F2 to rename a file rather than the slow double click with the mouse or the right click menu.
  7. Select All, CTRL+A - Probably one of the more commonly known commands on the list, but if you don't know it, you can easily select everything with this command.
  8. Refresh, CTRL+R - F5 does the same thing, but I find this combo easier to do quickly than stretch up to the function row.
  9. See the Desktop, WINDOWS+D - Why hover your mouse over to the Peek window when you can quickly see the desktop with this command. Press it again to go back to the state you were in. You can do something similar with WINDOWS+M to minimize all Windows, but this is quicker and is the same command to resume.
  10. Window Manipulation, WINDOWS+ARROW - While holding the WINDOWS key, press down to minimize, up to maximize, and left or right to dock!
  11. Peek, WINDOWS+Space - While I prefer WINDOWS+D as my to desktop shortcut, Aero Peek can be useful, too. The nice thing about Peek is that the desktop view only lasts as long as you hold down the Windows key. Whereas WINDOWS+D requires you to perform it twice to get all your windows back.
  12. New Explorer Window, CTRL+N - When in Explorer this combo opens a new Explorer window.
  13. Rotate a picture, CTRL+. or CTRL+, - I used to think rotating pics in Explorer was a pain until this shortcut came along. With these two commands, you can rotate a picture clockwise or counter-clockwise in a snap.
  14. Explorer search, CTRL+F - Get to the Search box in Explorer with this combo. Or, you can use CTRL+E to do the same thing if you're feeling rebellious.
  15. Speed Dial, WINDOWS+(0-9) - Hold WINDOWS and press a number 0-9 to open one of the first 10 programs listed on your taskbar. Press 1 for the first one, 0 for the tenth.

What you see above are the most useful commands to know (in my opinion anyway), but these are really just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens more for Windows alone, not to mention all the shortcuts that are application specific.

Do you have a shortcut that you think is essential? Tell us about it in the comments section below.


By far, I use CTRL+Z the most. Comes in handy constantly. Alt+Tab is also indispensable. I don't have a Windows key on my keyboard, though--is there an alternate key that serves the same function or does it have to be mapped?

From years ago I got into the habit of Ctrl-insert to copy and Shift-Insert to paste and even though Ctrl-C and V is easier I seem to still use the old way. :)

I am oft times needing to give out a particular filename for support.
In explorer F2 the filename then you can copy (Ctrl-C or Ctrl-insert) the filename into an email, forum post or wherever without having to type it. Really helps when you are working with long filenames.

But there are some mouse keyboard combos that are indispensable. Ctrl-Click to choose specific files from a list for example.


Connect With Techlore