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10 powerful, obscure Windows keyboard shortcuts you should know

We’re big fans of keyboard shortcuts. Memorizing key combinations takes some work, but once you have, shortcuts make using an operating system so much more efficient.

Many people know the everyday keyboard shortcuts, such as how to copy, cut, and paste text with the keyboard, how to close a window, and how to lock a PC.

That’s a solid start—but there are even more powerful keyboard shortcuts lurking beyond the basics. Here are some of our favorite less commonly used shortcuts. We’ve grouped these by operating system to make it easier for users of Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 to see what’s available for their system.

Windows 7 and up

  1. F2: Prepare selected file for renaming—no more careful clicking.
  2. Alt + Enter: Select a file and then use this shortcut to display its properties
  3. Windows Key + M: Minimize all windows to the taskbar (Windows Key + Shift + M restores them).
  4. Windows Key + Home: Minimize everything but the active window
  5. Windows Key + Pause: Display the system properties dialog box
  6. Windows key + Shift + right or left arrow: Move the active window to the next monitor in the direction indicated
  7. Ctrl + Y: Redo an action (the opposite of Ctrl + Z)

Windows 8.1 and up

  1. Windows Key + comma key: Peek at the desktop

Windows 10 only

  1. Windows key + Alt + D: Display the time and calendar panel (equivalent of clicking the time on the taskbar)
  2. Windows key + Tab: Open task view. Remember Task View? It’s how you create virtual desktops in Windows 10. A handy feature for people who like to multitask.

Once you’ve learned these keyboard shortcuts try operating Chrome without a mouse, using the essential shortcuts in Microsoft Excel and Word, or see this primer on how to incorporate keyboard shortcuts into your workflow.

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