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  • Windows 7 versus Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

    In a previous blog Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I discussed the significant challenge learning curve navigating through Windows 8.  One response asked for a table of shortcut keys or mouse movements.  Windows 7 provides some very useful keystrokes.  Powerful tools for the user and the IT professional.

    Microsoft provides a link to Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts that includes subcategories for ease of access, general keyboard, dialog box, windows logo, windows explorer, taskbar, magnifier, remote desktop connection, paint, wordpad, calculator, journal and help shortcuts.  Rather than copy all of the tables, I have aggregated many of the keystroke shortcuts that were new (or improved) in Windows 7.

    Windows 7 KeyStroke shortcuts  

    Win+MMinimize   all open windows
    Win+DShow   Desktop
    Win+DownRestore /   Minimize
    Win+LeftSnap to   left
    Win+RightSnap to   right
    Win+Shift+LeftJump to   left monitor
    Win+Shift+RightJump to   right monitor
    Win+HomeMinimize /   Restore all other windows
    Win+TabAero Task   Switcher
    Win+TFocus the   first taskbar entry
    Press again to cycle through taskbar entries
    Win+Shift+TCycle   backwards through taskbar
    Win+SpacePeek at the   desktop (Release space bar to resume)
    Win+BSystem Tray   Icons
    Win+EWindows   Explorer
    Win+FStart   Windows Search
    Win+Pause/BreakSystem   properties panel
    Win+GBring   gadgets to the top of the Z-order
    Win+PExternal   display (Projector) options (mirror, extend desktop, etc)
    Win+UEase of   Access Menu
    Win+XMobility   center (on mobile devices)
    Win+#(# = a   number key) Launches instance of the application in the Nth slot on   taskbar.
    Win +/-(plus or   minus key) Magnifier, Zoom in or out.
    Ctl+Win+FSearch for   Computers
    Shift+   Click Taskbar IconLaunch new   instance
    Ctl+Shift+Taskbar   IconLaunch new   instance in admin mode
    Ctl+Shift+NOpen   Windows Explorer, create new folder
    Alt+UpNavigate up   1 folder in Windows Explorer
    Alt+DSelect   Explorer address bar
    Alt+PSelect   Explorer file preview pane
    Ctl+EscStart Menu
    Ctl+Shift+EscTask   Manager

    Starting with an Internet search for Windows 8 Keyboard shortcuts yields some useful overviews.  Actually, searching for ‘Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts’ provided more than 13 million matches.  Yep.  Windows 8 reviewers are certainly seeking and sharing navigational tips.  Official Microsoft content, not so much.  The Windows 7 link provided above appears on page three of my search, and an older Windows XP keyboard shortcut [] link appears on page six.

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    The Ultimate List of Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows 8 is truly the most simplified, though comprehensive list I have been able to find.  Grabbing the available list, I  took the time to compare Windows 7 and Windows 8 key functions, testing them on both platforms.  They are in a few cases similar, though the navigation within Windows 8 is so significantly different that many keystroke combinations change entirely.  Many with similar functions flip you into the classic Windows view, then launch the comparable application.  You need to try them for yourself.  Results may vary based upon your Windows 8 location and active application when you attempt them.  You at least have a starting point for your quest.

    Windows 8 KeyStroke Shortcuts

    Similar Fxn to Win 7Key combinationOutcome
    *Windows keyBrings up the Metro start screen. You can start   typing to search for an app, just like the Win7 start menu.
    *Windows key + BSwitch to the (classic) Windows desktop and   select the tray notification area.
    Windows key + CBrings up the Charms menu, where you can search,   share, and change settings.
    *Windows key + DBrings up the old Windows desktop.
    *Windows key + ELaunch Windows Explorer with Computer view   displayed.
    *Windows key + FBrings up the Metro File search screen.
    Windows key + HOpens the Metro Share panel.
    Windows key + IOpens the Settings panel, where you can change   settings for the current app, change volume, wireless networks, shut down, or   adjust the brightness.
    Windows key + JSwitches focus between snapped Metro   applications.
    Windows key + KOpens the Devices panel (for connecting to a   projector or some other device)
    *Windows key + LLock PC and return to Lock screen.
    *Windows key + MMinimize all Windows on the desktop
    Windows key + OLocks device orientation.
    *Windows key + PChoose between available displays.
    Windows key + QBrings up the Metro App Search screen.
    Windows key + RSwitch to the (classic) Windows desktop and   display the Run box.
    *Windows key + USwitch to the (classic) Windows desktop and   launch the Ease of Access Center.
    Windows key + VCycles through toasts.
    Windows key + WBrings up the Metro Settings search screen.
    Windows key + XLaunch Start Menu.
    Windows key + YTemporarily peek at the desktop.
    Windows key + ZOpens the App Bar for the current Metro   application.
    Windows key + Page Up / DownMoves tiles to the left / right.
    *Windows key + TabOpens the Metro application switcher menu,   switches between applications.
    Windows key + , (comma)Aero Peek at the desktop.
    Windows key + . (period)Snaps the current Metro application to one side   of the screen. (Right side)
    Windows key + Shift + . (period)Snaps the current Metro application to the other   side of the screen. (Left side)
    Windows key + SpaceSwitch input language and keyboard layout.
    Windows key + Shift + VCycles through toasts in reverse order.
    Windows key + EnterLaunches Narrator
    Windows key + Arrow KeysSwitch to the (classic) Windows desktop and   enable Aero Snap
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    For an overview of Windows 8 navigation check out Kent Walter’s Windows Experience Blog Getting around in Windows 8.  As you finish reading Kent’s blog, don’t forget to download the Keyboard shortcut PDF.  In my haste specifically to find a straight forward keyboard map, I skipped the reference to his keystroke map within his blog – even though his blog was discovered second in my initial search.  Print the PDF on 11×17 paper, then try some of the combinations.   Read Kent’s entire Blog.  Although rudimentary, he does help to explain new terms and approaches like ‘charms’, the app bar, finding and  pinning items.  Then take some time to read the 117 comments – they expose you to additional features and challenges associated with Windows 8 navigation.   Pointers, redirection, and site references from other explorers are helping with the quest.  After more than an hour reading and checking out ideas, progress is possible.


    There is a roadmap for this game.  You just have to learn the new rules terms.


    Steven Fullmer
    Interface Technical Training Staff Instructor