Windows 7 Shortcut Keys


Slightly more functional

The “Windows” key (or Start key) was implemented on standard PC keyboards shortly after the release of Windows 95.  I suppose Microsoft wanted to increase the Windows brand by implementing two new keys that would open up new features of their operating system.  At the time, there were only five new features that the new key opened up, and these weren’t very useful.

For the most part, macros that use the Windows key are unconfigurable, and you must use the macros embedded within the OS. Windows Vista has added new features, allowing you quick shortcuts to some of Vista’s new features (and finally addressing macros that users have been requesting for years).

Windows Key + Action Useful?
Win + G cycles through all the Gadgets no
Win + L Locks the computer.  This is a feature that should have been included since Windows 2000.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to press Ctrl + Alt + Del and then Enter just to lock my PC at work yes
Win + U activates the Ease of Use Center no
Win + X cycles through the Mobility Center no
Win + Spacebar moves the focus to the Sidebar no
Win + Pause opens System Properties within Control Panel no
Win + Tab opens Flip 3d. This is one of the most useless features ever.  Pretty much the same as Alt + Tab, but takes longer because it’s harder to recognize a running program window than it is to identify a simple icon. NO!
Win + Crtl + Tab opens a persistent Flip 3d (doesn’t go away when you release the keys) NO!
Win + D toggles the desktop no
Win + E opens File Explorer (one of the most useful features ever) YES!
Win + F opens a search window maybe
Win + R opens the Run dialog yes
Win + T cycles through all the running applications in the taskbar no
Win + M Minimizes all windows on your desktop only when your boss or spouse walks in

There are a few other windows keys that are enabled if you have a Microsoft Keyboard and have Intellitype installed, but this is extremely stupid.  Why should you need to install an extra layer of software for an appliance made by the same company who made the OS?  Why can’t there just be an update?

So now we have a total of 13 Windows key actions… and still there are only two or three that are actually useful.  Microsoft should let users define their own Windows-key combinations through the Keyboard applet

Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.