Everybody has their secrets and Windows has them too.. I've been using these for a while and wanted to share them and I'd like to see some more I don't know yet.

  1. To get to the 'Shut Down Windows' screen in Windows Vista is not straightforward too, and this is how I got there, Ctrl + ESC, Esc, Alt + F4**. This is useful too when you can't see your screen, and if you're lucky enough you can press, R or S, and then Alt + K to restart or shutdown a blind Windows (no screen).
  2. Shutdown Windows Explorer: you have to get to the logoff screen then press Ctrl + Alt + Shift and simultaneously Cancel, that will close Windows Explorer without ending the session. That helped me a lot when some Windows Explorer window goes crazy and doesn't want to respond. I think this has worked since Windows 95, but I'm not sure.

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  1. Ctrl + Shift + Esc, brings Task Manager to the focus and if it's not running it starts it, this is helpful when you have Windows Explorer closed (the point 1) and want to start a new one, going to file / new task, and running 'explorer'.
  • 2
    You should really have your tricks as answers so they can be included in the voting May 5, 2009 at 3:02
  • You may be right but I just placed these as samples of what I wanted to be exposed here. May 5, 2009 at 3:16
  • shutdown: (start > run > shutdown -s -t 0). Reboot: (start > run > shutdown -r -t 0)
    – tsilb
    Aug 29, 2009 at 17:32

8 Answers 8


I'm not sure these are properly documented anywhere official, but I'm a big fan of the Windows Key shortcuts:

  • Windows key alone - Start menu (follow this by shortcut keys to access the start menu with the keyboard - U to shut down, for example)
  • Windows key + Pause/break - System control panel
  • Windows key + R - Run
  • Windows key + L - Lock the computer
  • Windows key + E - Open new explorer window
  • Windows key + D - Show desktop
  • Windows key + F - Find
  • Windows key + M - Minimize all
  • Windows key + Shift + M - Restore all

Edit: I guess they are documented somewhere official after all.

  • 1
    +1 for Windows key D, the best shortcut noone knows about
    – Shard
    May 5, 2009 at 5:50
  • Knew about all of these, except Windows+Pauze/Break. Nice one!
    – peSHIr
    May 5, 2009 at 6:24
  • 1
    Nice thing about Windows+D is it toggles desktop view. Hit it again to restore your previous view.
    – Cory House
    May 31, 2009 at 16:20
  • When I did Pause/break on Win XP SP 3 it opened the System Properties window.
    – Russell
    Aug 23, 2010 at 22:46

Bring Misplaced Off-Screen Windows Back to Your Desktop is a classic in this time of "double screen programming", especially when you must access your double-screen computer from a one screen remote desktop.

The application is running. You can see it in the taskbar, but you can't see it on the screen, because it still thinks it's running on the secondary monitor.
You try and use right-click, Move, but that doesn't do anything, and the window doesn't move anywhere. You end up rebooting and cursing Microsoft.

There's a simple trick to get around this.
First make sure you've alt-tabbed to the window, or clicked on it once to bring it into focus.
Then right-click on the taskbar and choose Move

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At this point, you should notice that your cursor changes to the "Move" cursor, but you still can't move anything.

enter image description here

Just hit any one of the arrow keys (Left, Right, Down, Up), move your mouse, and the window should magically "pop" back onto the screen.

Note: For keyboard savvy people, you can just ALT-TAB to the window, use Alt+Space, then M, then Arrow key, and then move your mouse.

  • I love this technique, I use it all the time mostly when I switch my laptop from my desk in my office, where I have a docking station, and home where I dont and monitors are placed in different spots. Sadly there are some apps like gtalk that doesn't allow to move them this way... sad really... have to shut it down and start it again... May 5, 2009 at 4:14
  • 1
    +1 This is a great one. I was really proud of myself when I figured this one out and still use it all the time.
    – lc.
    May 5, 2009 at 4:22
  • @lc: Me too! I felt like a super hacker when I discovered it back on Windows 95. May 5, 2009 at 8:23
  • I use a mouseless variation of this technique, ALT+SPACE, select move.
    – bobobobo
    Aug 29, 2009 at 17:04
  • I use it all the time too, it feels more like a glitch than a feature but it is sooo handy!
    – Russell
    Aug 23, 2010 at 22:50

Using Check Boxes to select multiple items within Windows Explorer.

This is really useful if you want to use single-click navigation rather than double click in Windows Explorer.

  • I THOUGHT this was cool, but then it wasn't AS COOL. I still end up holding CTRL.
    – bobobobo
    Aug 29, 2009 at 17:05

For shutting down my machine I use Start , U , U. It depends on if you have anything that starts with U in your start menu or not, the above is for if you don't.

If you do have one, say uTorrent, in your frequently used programs area of the start menu, then you type: Start , U , U , Enter , U

The last U can be changed to either R or S.

Otherwise, I love altshiftesc, StartD, StartR and the like.

I'm truly amazed by how many people CANNOT REMEMBER alttab no matter how many times a year you tell them. The problem seems to be in holding alt down to tab through the apps.


I recently took the time to learn these keyboard shortcuts - pretty good when I am editing some text.

  • Alt+Space+x (Maximise window with keyboard)
  • Alt+Space+n (Minimise window with keyboard)

Lesser known ones are

  • Alt+Space+m (Move window with arrow keys, press enter when done)
  • Alt+Space+s (Change size of window with arrow keys, press enter when done)
  • Alt+Space+r (Un-maximise window with keyboard)

Of course these shortcuts have been around for a long time. In conjunction with Alt+Tab or Win+Tab, it just can come in handy when you are editing some text and don't want to take your keys off the keyboard.

  • I think you mean "Alt+Space, x" etc, but yeah, these are good.
    – lc.
    May 5, 2009 at 8:04
  • You can do it either way. Depends what your fingers are good at I think, but Alt+Space+x feels a bit more like it's a single key combination :) May 6, 2009 at 1:34
  • alt-space, M: Comes in handy when a window is active and focused but out of view or covered.
    – tsilb
    Aug 29, 2009 at 17:33
  • I use Alt, Space, X.
    – pipTheGeek
    Aug 29, 2009 at 18:24
  • Winkey+down to minimize, or if already maximized, restore
  • Winkey+right, maximize to right half
  • winkey+left, maximize to left half
  • Winkey+up, uh, well, guess what that does,

Windows 7


Win-Shift-Left and Win-Shift-Right.

Moves windows to the next monitor over in their respective directions. Doesn't work too well when you have two rows of three monitors, but I digress :)


Since Windows XP, if I recall, Ctrl + Shift + Esc will bring up the task manager, even when it would normally bring up the dialog asking if you want to log off.

  • 1
    Control+Shift+Esc, and it's much older than XP :) Aug 29, 2009 at 23:36

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