Windows XP shortcuts and hidden features
Start + M: Minimizes all open windows
Start + Shift + M: Maximizes All Windows
Start + E: Runs Windows Explorer
Start + R: Open the RUN Dialog Box
Start + F: Open the Search Results Dialog box
Start + CTRL + F: Opens the Search Results-Computer dialog Box (if the
computer is connected to a network)
Start + Pause (Break): Opens the System Properties Dialog Box
Windows System Key Combinations:
CTRL + ESC: Open Start menu
ALT + TAB: Switch between open programs
ALT + F4: Quit program
SHIFT + DELETE: Delete item permanently
Windows Program Key Combinations:
CTRL + C: Copy
CTRL + X: Cut
CTRL + V: Paste
CTRL + Z: Undo
CTRL + B: Bold
CTRL + U: Underline
CTRL + I: Italic
Mouse Click/Keyboard Modifier Combinations for Shell Objects:
SHIFT + right click: Displays a shortcut menu containing alternative
SHIFT + double click: Runs the alternate default command (the second
item on the menu)
ALT + double click: Displays properties
SHIFT + DELETE: Deletes an item immediately without placing it in the
General Keyboard-Only Commands:
F1: Starts Windows Help
F10: Activates menu bar options
SHIFT + F10: Opens a shortcut menu for the selected item (this is the
same as right-clicking an object
CTRL + ESC: Opens the Start menu (use the ARROW keys to select an item)
CTRL + ESC or ESC: Selects the Start button (press TAB to select the
taskbar, or press SHIFT+F10 for a context menu)
ALT + DOWN ARROW: Opens a drop-down list box
ALT + TAB: Switch to another running program (hold down the ALT key and
then press the TAB key to view the task-switching window)
SHIFT: Press and hold down the SHIFT key while you insert a CD-ROM to
bypass the automatic-run feature
ALT + SPACE: Displays the main window’s System menu (from the System
menu, you can restore, move, resize, minimize, maximize, or close the
ALT +- (ALT + hyphen): Displays the Multiple Document Interface
(MDI)child window’s System menu (from the MDI child window’s System
can restore, move, resize, minimize, maximize, or close the child
CTRL + TAB: Switch to the next child window of a Multiple Document
Interface (MDI) program
ALT + underlined letter in menu: Opens the menu
ALT + F4: Closes the current window
CTRL + F4: Closes the current Multiple Document Interface (MDI) window
ALT + F6: Switch between multiple windows in the same program (for
example, when the Notepad Find dialog box is displayed
ALT + F6: switches between the Find dialog box and the main Notepad
Shell Objects and General Folder/Windows Explorer Shortcuts For a
F2: Rename object
F3: Find all files
CTRL + X: Cut
CTRL + C: Copy
CTRL + V: Paste
SHIFT + DELETE: Delete selection immediately, without moving the item
to the Recycle Bin
ALT + ENTER: Open the properties for the selected object
To Copy a File: Press and hold down the CTRL key while you drag the
file to another folder.
To Create a Shortcut: Press and hold down CTRL+SHIFT while you drag a
file to the desktop or a folder.
General Folder/Shortcut Control:
F4: Selects the Go To A Different Folder box and moves down the entries
in the box (if the toolbar is active in Windows Explorer)
F5: Refreshes the current window.
F6: Moves among panes in Windows Explorer
CTRL + G: Opens the Go To Folder tool (in Windows 95 Windows Explorer
CTRL + Z: Undo the last command
CTRL + A: Select all the items in the current window
BACKSPACE: Switch to the parent folder
SHIFT + click + Close button: For folders, close the current folder
plus all parent folders
Windows Explorer Tree Control:
Numeric Keypad *: Expands everything under the current selection
Numeric Keypad +: Expands the current selection
Numeric Keypad -: Collapses the current selection.
RIGHT ARROW: Expands the current selection if it is not expanded,
otherwise goes to the first child
LEFT ARROW: Collapses the current selection if it is expanded,
otherwise goes to the parent
CTRL + TAB/CTRL + SHIFT + TAB: Move through the property tabs
Press SHIFT five times: Toggles StickyKeys on and off
Press down and hold the right SHIFT key for eight seconds: Toggles
FilterKeys on and off
Press down and hold the NUM LOCK key for five seconds: Toggles
ToggleKeys on and off
Left ALT + left SHIFT+NUM LOCK: Toggles MouseKeys on and off
Left ALT + left SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN: Toggles high contrast on and off
Microsoft Natural Keyboard Keys:
Windows Logo: Start menu
Windows Logo + R: Run dialog box
Windows Logo + M: Minimize all
SHIFT + Windows Logo+M: Undo minimize all
Windows Logo + F1: Help
Windows Logo + E: Windows Explorer
Windows Logo + F: Find files or folders
Windows Logo + D: Minimizes all open windows and displays the desktop
CTRL + Windows Logo + F: Find computer
CTRL + Windows Logo + TAB: Moves focus from Start, to the Quick Launch
toolbar, to the system tray (use RIGHT ARROW or LEFT ARROW to move
focus to items on the Quick Launch toolbar and the system tray)
Windows Logo + TAB: Cycle through taskbar buttons
Windows Logo + Break: System Properties dialog box
Application key: Displays a shortcut menu for the selected item
Microsoft Natural Keyboard with IntelliType Software Installed:
Windows Logo + L: Log off Windows
Windows Logo + P: Starts Print Manager
Windows Logo + C: Opens Control Panel
Windows Logo + V: Starts Clipboard
Windows Logo + K: Opens Keyboard Properties dialog box
Windows Logo + I: Opens Mouse Properties dialog box
Windows Logo + A: Starts Accessibility Options (if installed)
Windows Logo + SPACEBAR: Displays the list of Microsoft IntelliType
Windows Logo + S: Toggles CAPS LOCK on and off
Dialog Box Keyboard Commands:
TAB: Move to the next control in the dialog box
SHIFT + TAB: Move to the previous control in the dialog box
SPACEBAR: If the current control is a button, this clicks the button.
If the current control is a check box, this toggles the check box. If
the current control is an option, this selects the option.
ENTER: Equivalent to clicking the selected button (the button with the
ESC: Equivalent to clicking the Cancel button
ALT + underlined letter in dialog box item: Move to the corresponding
Stuff about Windows XP you probably haven’t heard of :
1. It boasts how long it can stay up. Whereas previous versions of
Windows were coy about how long they went between boots, XP is positively proud
of its stamina. Go to the Command Prompt in the Accessories menu from the
All Programs start button option, and then type ’systeminfo’. The computer
will produce a lot of useful info, including the uptime. If you want to keep these, type ’systeminfo > info.txt’. This creates a file called info.txt you can look at later with Notepad. (Professional Edition only).
2. You can delete files immediately, without having them move to the Recycle Bin first. Go to the Start menu, select Run… and type ‘ gpedit.msc’; then select User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer and find the Do not move deleted files to the Recycle Bin setting. Set it. Poking around in gpedit will reveal a great many interface and system options, but take care - some may stop your computer
behaving as you wish. (Professional Edition only).
3. You can lock your XP workstation with two clicks of the mouse. Create a new shortcut on your desktop using a right mouse click, and enter ‘rundll32.exeuser32.dll, LockWorkStation’ in the location field. Give the shortcut a name you like. That’s it — just
double click on it and your computer will be locked. And if that’s not easy enough, Windows key + L will do the same.
4. XP hides some system software you might want to remove, such as Windows
Messenger, but you can tickle it and make it disgorge everything. Using Notepad or
Edit, edit the text file /windows/inf/sysoc.inf, search for the word ‘hide’ and remove it. You can then go to the Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel, select Add/Remove Windows Components and there will be your prey, exposed and vulnerable.
5. For those skilled in the art of DOS batch files, XP has a number of interesting new commands. These include ‘eventcreate’ and ‘eventtriggers’ for creating and watching system events, ‘typeperf’ for monitoring performance of various subsystems, and ’schtasks’ for handling scheduled tasks. As usual, typing the command name followed by /? will give a list of options — they’re all far too baroque to go into here.
6. XP has IP version 6 support — the next generation of IP. Unfortunately this is more than your ISP has, so you can only experiment with this on your LAN. Type ‘ipv6 install’ into Run… (it’s OK, it won’t ruin your existing network setup) and then ‘ipv6 /?’ at the
command line to find out more. If you don’t know what IPv6 is, don’t worry and don’t bother.
7. You can at last get rid of tasks on the computer from the command line by using ‘taskkill /pid’ and the task number, or just ‘tskill’ and the process number. Find that out by typing ‘tasklist’, which will also tell you a lot about what’s going on in your system.
8. XP will treat Zip files like folders, which is nice if you’ve got a fast machine. On slower machines, you can make XP leave zip files well alone by typing ‘regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll’ at the command line. If you change your mind later, you can put things back as they were by typing ‘regsvr32 zipfldr.dll’.
9. XP has ClearType — Microsoft’s anti-aliasing font display technology — but doesn’t have it enabled by default. It’s well worth trying, especially if you were there for DOS and all those years of staring at a screen have given you the eyes of an astigmatic bat. To enable ClearType, right click on the desktop, select Properties, Appearance, Effects, select ClearType from the second drop-down menu and enable the selection. Expect best results on laptop displays. If you want to use ClearType on the Welcome login screen as well, set the registry entry HKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/ControlPanel/Desktop/FontSmoothingType to 2.
10. You can use Remote Assistance to help a friend who’s using network address translation (NAT) on a home network, but not automatically. Get your pal to email you a Remote Assistance invitation and edit the file. Under the RCTICKET attribute will be a NAT IP address, like 192.168.1.10 . Replace this with your chum’s real IP address
– they can find this out by going to
– and get them to make sure that they’ve got port 3389 open on their firewall and forwarded to the errant computer.
11. You can run a program as a different user without logging out and back in again. Right click the icon, select Run As… and enter the user name and password you want to use. This only applies for that run. The trick is particularly useful if you need to have administrative permissions to install a program, which many require. Note that you can have some fun by running programs multiple times on the same system as different users, but this can have unforeseen effects.
12. Windows XP can be very insistent about you checking for auto updates, registering a Passport, using Windows Messenger and so on. After a while, the nagging goes away, but if you feel you might slip the bonds of sanity before that point, run Regedit, go to
d and create a DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips with a value of 0.
13. You can start up without needing to enter a user name or password. Select Run… from the start menu and type ‘control userpasswords2′, which will open the user accounts application. On the Users tab, clear the box for Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer, and click on OK. An Automatically Log On dialog box will appear; enter the user name and password for the account you want to use.
14. Internet Explorer 6 will automatically delete temporary files, but only if you tell it to. Start the browser, select Tools / Internet Options… and Advanced, go down to the Security area and check the box to Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when
browser is closed.
15. XP comes with a free Network Activity Light, just in case you can’t see the LEDs twinkle on your network card. Right click on My Network Places on the desktop, then select Properties. Right click on the description for your LAN or dial-up connection, select Properties, then check the Show icon in notification area when connected box. You’ll now see a tiny network icon on the right of your task bar that glimmers nicely during network traffic.
16. The Start Menu can be leisurely when it decides to appear, but you can speed things along by changing the registry entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER/ControlPanel/Desktop/MenuShowDelay from the default 400 to
something a little snappier. Like 0.
17. You can rename loads of files at once in Windows Explorer. Highlight a set of files in a window, then right click on one and rename it. All the other files will be renamed to that name, with individual numbers in brackets to distinguish them. Also, in a folder you
can arrange icons in alphabetised groups by View, Arrange Icon By… Show In Groups.
18. Windows Media Player will display the cover art for albums as it plays the tracks — if it found the picture on the Internet when you copied the tracks from the CD. If it didn’t, or if you have lots of pre-WMP music files, you can put your own copy of the cover art in the same directory as the tracks. Just call it folder.jpg and Windows Media Player will pick
it up and display it.
19. Windows key + Break brings up the System Properties dialogue box; Windows key + D brings up the desktop; Windows key + Tab moves through the taskbar buttons.
20. The next release of Windows XP, codenamed Longhorn, is due out late next year or early 2006 and won’t be much to write home about. The next big release is codenamed