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.
|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.
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.