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Video: Keyboard shortcuts for moving faster in Windows Vista

Navigating without a mouse is a forgotten skill among many users and even some IT pros. But when the mouse is ill or absent, the keyboard can be your only option. The keyboard can also be faster. Bill Detwiler shows you some of the best keyboard shortcuts for Windows Vista.

Navigating without a mouse is a forgotten skill among many users and even some support techs. But when Dr. Engelbart's venerable rodent is ill or absent, the keyboard can be your only option. Also, using the keyboard can be faster than the mouse if you know the right key combinations. During this IT Dojo video, I show you some of the best keyboard shortcuts for Windows Vista.

For those of you who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or you can also read Scott Lowe's download "76 keyboard shortcuts for moving faster in Windows Vista," on which this video is based.

You can also sign up to receive the latest IT Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

54 comments
tricky11
tricky11

Great article! For a gamer to be able to farm warcraft gold with all their might or kill monsters without blinking, it's important for them to know almost all the possible keyboard shortcuts.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

opens task manager. However it's no better than Ctl - Alt - Del for getting to a locked program. That happens to my machine a lot. Especially when I have too many programs & files open at once. This is a memory issue, 1 GB of RAM, but have no intentions of upgrading this particular machine. Does anybody know a command that will get Vista's immediate attention when an app is starting to lock it up? What happens is a single app locks up. Then the app either recovers or Vista hangs. In older windows you could get to task manager and kill the locked program and move on.

aspinoto
aspinoto

very educative

aspinoto
aspinoto

1. the Alt+Tab button on the keyboard can be used to toggle through and select all opened windows either in the taskbar or on the desktop 2. also to minimize, maximize, move, size, close and even restore a particular window, the Alt+Space bar button on the keyboard can be employed and depending on the command you wish to execute, the Down and Up arrow keys could be used to highlight and then the Enter button will then be used to select the option highlighted. thought this info could be useful. thank you Ekow Ansah Hagan

quimkaos
quimkaos

after seeing this i'm blocking tech(???) republic...

ahmad_hammad
ahmad_hammad

You can also add to the list Shift + Delete to cut selected text and Shift + Insert to Paste the text

michaelaknight
michaelaknight

I not only use hot keys but very often use the command prompt for many common tasks... which one takes longer? WinKEY+R, cmd, copy C:\directory\*.* c:\directory2\ OR click>start>click>My Computer>double click>drive>double click>directory>click drag>right click>click>copy>click>back button>double click>directory>right click>click>paste>click>close window I fail to understand how the extra time and CPU cycles could seem more effecient. Granted I'm all for making stuff easier, but indeed mice are best used for gaming.

takaharu
takaharu

Granted, you can do that faster but how about navigating through half a dozen subfolders, not knowing the name of a subfolder you want or the name of the file you want? That gives you: cd c:\progra~1, dir, cd folder, dir, cd subfolder, dir, cd subfol~2, dir, copy filename c:\folder\subfolder\

preesri
preesri

Thank you very much for the informative piece. Keyboard skills seem to have become a forgotten thing with all the "mouse & touch interaction" and good to see postings like this.

skywagon
skywagon

This was a great piece of tech info. Thanks. I would like to see the short cut for a "Restart". My HP/Vista using a 2nd monitor and randomly awakes from sleep with the mouse pointer invisible. it is still active but, cannot be seen on either screen. Thus, it is tough to find Start and Restart for a fresh boot. As a work around, I have enabled the option to throw rings around the pointer by using the "ctrl" key. It acts like a beacon to where the mouse should be. NVIDA, Vista and hp updates have not fixed the problem. I think it is a NVIDA bug in their chip set firmware.

jim1347
jim1347

Try this... Win+R Type "shutdown -r" without quotes Press Enter The -r tells system to restart. Without the -r it will just shutdown. I know this works with XP Pro. Not sure about Vista.

tom
tom

Thanks, but my intent is to make the shutdown/restart/log off quicker. The XP method is 3 keystrokes. Yours is about 13. It would be quicker to use the mouse. This method is handy if the mouse isn't responding, but not for normal daily use for me.

tom
tom

Just give the batch file in MichaelKnight's post that name, and you're good to go!

tom
tom

That would work. I did a little experimenting, and now I use WinKey, right arrow, right arrow, right arrow, R (to restart) L (to logoff) or U (to shutdown). Hitting the right arrow 3 times brings up the Shutdown options, but with the shortcut keys underlined. You can also use W to switch user, O to lock, H to Hibernate and S to Sleep.

rstaveley
rstaveley

I remember a colleague getting speech recognition working in Windows 2K (I think) and delighting in teaching it to shut down in response to the command "Drop Dead!"

michaelaknight
michaelaknight

write a batch or cmd file called restart.bat or restart.cmd and put it in %SystemRoot% in the batch file type: shutdown -r -f -t 01 you can change the numbers after the -t switch to however many seconds you want as a warning. the -f switch forces all running apps to close then restarting is just a matter of winKey+R, cmd, enter, restart, enter

skywagon
skywagon

JF, You get the prize... your sequence works and I am very appreciative for your answer. The one addition I would add is there is a "space" required after "shutdown" and before "-r". I should have remember the old DOS days better. Skywagon

jody.krazeise
jody.krazeise

There doesn't appear to be any video on the screen for me.

ken
ken

Nice, but one shortcut I am looking for and cannot find is to open Control Panel window. Anyone?

somethinggood4
somethinggood4

I know in XP you can throw a shortcut to your favourite app onto the desktop, then right-click the shortcut's properties and code a "hot key" for it (Ctrl-Alt-"Letter"). Works for folders, too... just right-click on Control Panel, and "send shortcut to desktop" Go to the desktop and pick any single character (but try to stay away from the obvious conflicts like x,c,v and p) and voila! Ctrl-Alt-Magic! If that helps, I would really appreciate a thumbs-up! :) Thanks! GP

clare.smith
clare.smith

Back in the dark ages, I learned to touch type. Yeah, I know it's a lost art. :o) I still find keyboard shortcuts to be much faster than taking my hand off the keyboard to mouse around. Ctrl+c, Ctrl+v, Ctrl+x, all mainstays in editing code or text. I've shown several people where I work the lost art of keyboard shortcuts and they're amazed at the little things that can make it easier to get work done!

gianchi66
gianchi66

I am surprised that to use the Windows Explorer window, you didn't use the Windows Key + E to open it, since you are talking about shortcuts.

PhilippeV
PhilippeV

This is supposed to be presented by someone with good skills and capabilities in using is PC. But why does he use the antique wired mouse ? Most notebooks have now integrated a Bluetooth hub device that allows connecting a wireless mouse without even have to plug a USB adapter (it's just a question of device driver so that it can use the existing Bluetooth device). For notebooks (end even for traditional desktop PCs), wireless mice offer a much better cumfort (yes you'll need a battery, but on my wireless mouse, that I use everyday and that I don't even need to switch off as it contains a battery saver when I stop using it) the battery runs for a full year without having to change it (I don't even need to recharge it every day). Wireless mice with a laser diode detector don't even need any mouse carpet (in fact they work better without a carpet, because most carpets are too much reflective), they run on any granural surface: a paper document on your board will not be a problem, you may also have any book or magazine. They also require minimum cleaning (this is easier because there's nothing entering within the mouse box or rolling on the surface of the board or carpet, so the only thnig to clean is the surface of contact of the mouse (which is always immediately accessible), and even if there's some garbage accumulated there, it causes absolutely no problem for the central laser diode located in a protected area without any contact with the surface. I've personnally not seen any wired mouse since very long now (more than 5 years ago). Why mouse makers are still producing wired mosue is a mistery, but it's even more mysterious why notebook sellers do not provide a wireless mouse with the standard equipment, with the adapter (Bluetooth generally, but it could be WiFi as well or wireless USB) directly integraetd in the case so that no USB key will have to be plugged in on the side of the notebook, where this place is not very convenient. I even think that notebooks could integrate a place to store the mouse when it's not used, but this would not be easy for the smallest notebooks, for those users that don't like the lack of precision and reaction of their touchpad (whose location below the keyboard is also not always very friendly). They already do that for storing a remote control (for example within the slot for a PC card, given that most notebook users don't need anything in this slot, as the notebook already has all the devices needed including network adapters, modems, WiFi, CD/DVD drive combos). The mouse for example could take the place of the supplementary battery (remember that the volume, weight and capacity of batteries has considerably been decreased, so adding a second battery is often not needed). A universal slot for large devices (CD/DVD, additional hard disk, memory bus extender, mouse, battery, or the battery charger and its AC connection wire and plug, or even for storing earphones) in notebooks would be welcome (and notebooks should be made more solid so that they can be transported without any huge and uneasy case: these cases are increasing the total weight too much: put the protection directly on the notebook case itself, with a possible lock mechanism that allows easy removal and reinstallation if desired). Integrate a handful for easy transportation and a fixation for handling it like a bag or your shoulder. The extra case is certainly the worst thing you need to use your mobile notebook easily in any place, but even if you use it only at home, you need some protection of it to move it to another room, or put it in some convenient place when you don't use it: the protection case is bad, but not using it exposes the notebook to many risks. Another idea: why not putting wireless mouse directly within the mobile phone? Just add the laser diode detector and allow it to connect to your nearby notebook: it will be handy and already within your hand, and it needs no extra case or protection than what mobile phones already provide! Add also to mobile phones a universal infrared remote control (for your TV or the integrated media center of your PC or notebook or set top box or Hifi equipment....).

rebeccaaward
rebeccaaward

I am sure not everyone has this issue, but I have a cat who - I don't know why - will go to my desk, somehow take my wireless mouse, and get it from the upstairs office to the downstairs family room. So, I either have to put the wireless mouse in a drawer before I leave my desk, or I have to use a wired mouse. So some people may need a wired mouse so that the mouse doesn't go missing.

skywagon
skywagon

I have had bad luck with top named wireless mice reliability. Some failure mechanism reduces them to nasty words.. Have gone back to wired lasar based mice...

PartTimeTech
PartTimeTech

I glazed over in the first view of the length of this post. What does this have to do with the topic?

cedar1
cedar1

good video. this is the kind of thing I pass on to non-techies in our group

kwex
kwex

Yes I do ... I learnt one or two from u video. I'd try out the '*' for viewing all subfolders in a folder hierarchy.

rstaveley
rstaveley

I can't see myself remembering Shift + Windows + F10 for "Displays the shortcut menu for a selected item", but I guess it has limited appeal anyhow. It is like doing a pin the tail on the donkey right-click (doing it blind-folded), because it's often hard to see what's selected when you are keyboarding. There ought to be a function for highlighting the selected item... and ought to be a keyboard shortcut for that. There now. That suggestion ought to be worth a beer from Microsoft.

kmadison
kmadison

Appreciate this tip. However, can you give the common keyboard shortcuts that still work across all of the last three operating systems?

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Most of the keyboard shortcuts in the video and the download will work across Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. Those that are specific to any one OS are duly noted.

tom
tom

I like to save the PDF files because they are easier to reference than a video. The PDF file doesn't differentiate between OSs (as far as I can see). It would be nice if it did. Guess I better watch the video anyway, huh?

mizipzor
mizipzor

Win+E opens the explorer window, but in the video, Bill explains how to open it using the mouse. Dont you know about the explorer shortcut? Or is this one thing were the mouse is preferred (I would very much say no)? Either way, it kinda defeats the purpose of the video by bringing up the mouse-way but not the keyboard-way.

mousejn
mousejn

I use this one the most often.

mkathiravan
mkathiravan

Ms Word TIPS CTRL + SHIFT + ">" --> To increase the font size CTRL + SHIFT + "

rebeccaaward
rebeccaaward

In many applications, CTRL+ the Plus key will increase size (Zoom in) and CTRL and the Minus key will shrink size (Zoom out). Not in MS Word though. It works in most browsers, in Adobe Photoshop, and other applications.

MGP2
MGP2

I call them shot glasses. :-p

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Navigating without a mouse is a forgotten skill among many users and even some IT pros. But when the mouse is ill or absent, the keyboard can be your only option. The keyboard can also be faster. In an IT Dojo video, I demonstrate some of the best keyboard shortcuts for Windows Vista. Original post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=280 Take the following quick poll and let us know if you regularly use keyboard shortcuts. Poll: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=282

takaharu
takaharu

Working on the network side of things in my workplace, the most common key combo is definitely winkey+R. The amount of times that I have to pop open the command prompt or navigate to a network location in the course of a week is quite surprising. Winkey+D is also very handy because I have my main shortcuts (eg: GPMC) on my desktop. Alt-tabbing is another common one of mine because almost every program I have open I use full screen. I also commonly use ctrl+home/end and ctrl+shift+home/end. Beats the hell out of scrolling through a long document to get to page one or trying to highlight to the right spot. In MS Office I never bother clicking underline, bold or italics instead of ctrl+U/B/I and ctrl+C/V/X are my preferred clipboard controls. Let's not forget every IT pro's favourite shortcut: ctrl+alt+delete!

Interested Amateur
Interested Amateur

I tried to show a relative of mine who only cares if the computer runs on boot-up. I explained that it's faster to use the keyboard than to lift your hand to reach for the mouse. I opened a few apps and then manipulated opening and closing the apps' windows, toolbar links, etc. When I looked up to ask my relative what they thought, all I saw was a glazed look on their face. After that attempt to help someone learn anything about computer navigation I have never offered anyone any help... ever. Most people use their computer like their car. Turn it on and if it doesn't run properly, call a mechanic. Lesson learned... by me. Interested Amateur

santeewelding
santeewelding

Of the equal and opposite lesson learned by them. I'm old enough to be retired, too, but I'm not. Take care that you don't vitiate.

djmentat
djmentat

I love keyboard shortcuts and not using the mouse if I don't have to. About 1.5 years ago the Sys Admin job I had requied me to work with Linux servers way more than Windows. I got used to having a command line for everything I did and not use the mouse. I happened to come across a nice app called Launchy. Found here http://www.launchy.net/ What this guy does is with the keystroke of Alt+Space Bar it opens a command bar. Here you type in the name of a directory, executable, internet favorite, or shortcut and it will launch it. Such as "Control Panel, Computer, My Docs, Pics, yahoo.com, etc..." You can go into the options and set the indexing to whatever you want. I personally add my D: and Desktop to the defaults of Start Menu and Quick Launch and let it index all of it. So now anything not covered in a keyboard shortcut or anything that would be quicker than a keyboard shortcut can be accessed by Alt+Spacebar and typing what it is. It also remembers what you search for so after typing in "Remote Desktop" to launch RD, I now only have to type "Desktop" and it knows what I want. Very cool app to go along with keyboard shortcuts.

mathma1772
mathma1772

Ctrl + T = Open new tab Ctrl + W = Close open tab Ctrl + Q = Opens quick tabs Alt + H = Opens home page(s) These are some of my most commonly used shortcuts.

tom
tom

I downloaded the PDF version. I just wish it showed if any of these shortcuts are specific to Windows Vista. Most also work in XP. I especially miss pressing 'Windows Key'-U-S to shutdown, 'Windows Key'-U-R to restart and 'Windows Key'-U-L to log off. I'm sure there must be equivalents in Vista(using the Vista Start Menu), but I haven't seen them anywhere.

6ers
6ers

I'm using the Free Vista Start Menu in XP & use: Shutdown, Windows + F8 Restart, Windows + F6 Log Off, Windows + F4 Hope this helps

crgabe
crgabe

I use keyboard shorts all the time. The only thing I can't figure out is how to maximize an internal screen in the MMC. Alt+Spacebar+X maximizes the outside window. Any ideas?

rsp
rsp

Use Alt-(dash) X, where (dash) is the '-' key. This works in WinXP in any Multiple Document Interface (MDI) application, of which MMC is one. Alt-(dash) opens the shortcut menu for the currently selected document window, just as Alt-(space) opens the shortcut menu for the application window.

fractalzoom
fractalzoom

Perhaps ctrl+alt+spacebar? I know that alt and ctrl have long run parallel in MS software...for example, alt+f4 closes an application window, while ctrl+f4 will close a document inside the application window. I suppose I could just try it myself and tell you what I found, but am far too lazy, LOL...

karlis.laivins
karlis.laivins

I knew about some of these shortcuts, but most of them were new to me. Thanks!

Prendo
Prendo

I'm surprised you didn't mention Windows + U which opens the "Ease of Use" centre. though, I guess that's a bit like army intelligence in Windows!! Also Windows + F gives you the Find Files dialog

mattohare
mattohare

If the hands are already on the keyboard, it is annoying to have to take them off to do that one little thing by mouse. I do miss having all the keyboard 'shortcuts' underlined in the operating system. Seems now we have to press the alt key to see them. Unfortunately, that will close the very thing I'm trying to use. While we're on it, It's too bad this is a video. I can't use these videos at work. It's an open plan office. And, I don't really care to spend my time after work at home watching Tech Republic videos. It's too bad these don't come in print format. I usually read the print faster than the video would run anyway.

PhilippeV
PhilippeV

if yuo can't play the video at work, look at the link below the video frame, there's a text transcript for you.