Windows Shortcuts for PC Users

Like any other computer operating system, Windows comes with many shortcuts that make the process easier. Whether you’re just starting out with technology, or have been using it for years, computers can sometimes be a bit confusing. When you aren’t sure of key commands that you could use to make yourself more productive, you could be wasting valuable time trying to find out how to do something such as screenshot. Read along for a quick-tip guide on Windows shortcuts.

windows-shortcutsMake Full Use of the Start Menu

Some may believe that clicking on the windows key is the only way to launch the start menu, but that’s not true. You can hit Ctrl+Esc to open it, too. In addition to that, Windows also has a secret start menu that opens up to show more features like the control panel, task manager, disk management, connections, system, and more. To access the secret start menu, you can press the Windows key + X.

Additional Start Menu Keys

  • Windows key + T: Navigate through your taskbar, pinned programs, and open applications.
  • Windows key + the number: You can quickly access an open program with that command. Example: Excel is the third program open from the start menu. When you press Windows key + 3, excel automatically opens because it’s the third program.

Manage Your Screen

Sometimes when you’re using a computer, it’s possible to get lost amongst all of the screens and windows that you have open, not to mention the programs. It takes a lot of time to open up each window just to find one that you’re looking for. You can use a common Windows command that’s made up of pressing the Windows key + D to show or hide your screen.

Additional Screen Shortcuts

  • Windows key + M: Minimizes all open windows on your desktop
  • Windows key + Shift + M: Restores all minimized windows
  • Windows key + Home: Minimizes all screens except for the one you’re working on
  • Windows key + Up arrow: Maximize a selected window
  • Windows key + Down arrow: Minimize a selected window

Virtual Desktops

There is a common myth with Windows users that says you can’t have multiple virtual desktops without having more than one monitor to extend and display the desktops on. However, there’s a simple command that lets you have unlimited virtual desktops. By using the Windows key + tab, you open your task view panel. Inside there, you can click new desktop to add one, or use Windows key + Ctrl + D.


Taking a screenshot with Windows is easy, and there are a couple of ways that you can do it. PC’s that run Windows even come equipped with keyboards that have a key dedicated to taking one. By pressing the Windows key + PrtScn, the computer takes a screenshot of your entire desktop and saves it into the Screenshots folder inside of your Pictures folder. When you just press the PrtScn key, a screenshot is taken but not automatically saved. You would need to paste the screen-capture into a program such as Paint. Alternatively, you can use Alt + PrtScn to screenshot just the active window.

Need-to-know Shortcuts

Most Windows users are going to be familiar with the following basics, but just incase you aren’t, here’s a perfect opportunity to brush up on some of the most commonly used.

  • Ctrl + C: Copies an item
  • Ctrl + V: Pastes an item
  • Ctrl + A: Selects all items within a window
  • Ctrl + X: Cuts a selected item
  • Ctrl + Z: Undo an action
  • Ctrl + Y: Redo an action
  • Ctrl + N: Open a new window
  • Shift + Delete: Permanently deletes an item
  • Windows key + L: Lock your computer

pc-usersNavigating through the Windows operating system is pretty easy, and you learn to memorize the shortcuts after a while just from using them so often. However, if you’re new to using a computer, the above alternatives are going to help you along your way. Use them in your daily computing activities, and you’re going to find that you’re going to question how you ever managed to get by without them.

What windows shortcuts do you use to make navigating easier for you? Leave a comment below.

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