10+ Windows XP keyboard shortcuts to speed everyday tasks

How expansive is your repertoire of Windows XP keyboard shortcuts? A lot of users learn a handful of shortcuts but turn their backs on a host of other ones that could come in handy. Check out the selection of shortcuts below and see if there aren't a couple you didn't know about that could be saving you some real time.

You can also download a PDF that lists 50+ Windows XP shortcuts.

The shortcuts

Keystroke Function
Alt + Tab Switches between open programs
Alt + F4 (in a program) Closes the program
Alt + F4 (from the desktop) Opens the Windows Shutdown/Restart dialog box
Alt + Enter Opens the Properties page of a selected item
Alt + Esc Cycles between open programs in the order they were opened
Alt + Spacebar In the active window, this brings up the corner dialog box for Move, Size, Minimize, Maximize, or Close
Shift + Insert a CD/DVD Inserts a CD/DVD without triggering Autoplay or Autorun
Shift + Delete Permanently deletes an item (rather than sending it to the Recycle Bin)
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Opens the Windows Task Manager
Ctrl + drag an icon Copies that item
Ctrl + Shift + drag an icon Creates a shortcut for the item
Right-click + drag an icon Brings up a menu to copy, move, or create a shortcut for the item
F1 Opens Windows XP Help
F2 Highlights the label of a selected item for renaming
F3 Opens Windows search for files and folders
F5 (or Ctrl + R) Refreshes an Internet Explorer page or other window
F6 Cycles through the elements that can be selected in a screen or window
F10 Selects the menu bar in the active program (usually the File menu) so that you can use the arrow keys to navigate through the menus and the Enter key to display one
Shift + F10 Displays a shortcut menu for an item (like right-clicking with the mouse)
Ctrl + Esc Opens the Start menu

Roll your own shortcut

You can also create custom Windows XP shortcuts. Just right-click on the icon of a program or program shortcut, choose Properties, click the Shortcut tab, and enter a keystroke combination in the Shortcut Key field. Windows will let you assign only key combos that aren't already taken.

About Jody Gilbert

Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.

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