Alt + Tab
Switch between open applications in all versions of Windows. Reverse the direction by pressing Alt + Shift + Tab at the same time.
Ctrl + Tab
Switches between program groups, tabs, or document windows in applications that support this feature. Reverse the direction by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Tab at the same time.
Alt + double-click
Display the properties of the object you double-click on in Windows 95 and later. For example, doing this on a file would display its properties.
Alt + Print Screen
Create a screen shot only for the active program window in all versions of Windows. For example, if you opened the calculator and pressed these shortcut keys, only the calculator window would be created as a screen shot. If just the Print Screen key is pressed the whole screen will be made into a screen shot.
Ctrl + Alt + Del
Open the Windows option screen for locking computer, switching user, Task Manager, etc. in later versions of Windows. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del multiple times will reboot the computer.
Ctrl + Shift + Esc
Immediately bring up the Windows Task Manager in Windows 2000 and later.
Ctrl + Esc
Open the Windows Start menu in most versions of Windows. In Windows 8 this opens the Start screen and in Windows 3.x this would bring up the Task Manager.
Alt + Esc
Switch between open applications on Taskbar in Windows 95 and later.
Alt + Space bar
Drops down the window control menu for the currently open Windows program in Windows 95 and later.
Alt + Enter
Opens properties window of selected icon or program in Windows 95 and later.
Shift + Del
Will delete any file or other object without throwing it into the Recycle Bin in Windows 95 and later.
Hold down the Shift key
When putting in an audio or data CD that uses Autoplay, holding down the Shift key will prevent that CD from playing.
Windows function key shortcuts
Below is a listing of keyboard shortcuts that use the keyboard function keys. See ourwhat are F1 through F12 keys page for a full listing of what function keys do with all other programs.
Activates help for current open application. If you’re at the Windows Desktop, this will activate the help for Windows.
Renames a highlighted icon, file, or folder in all versions of Windows.
Starts find or search when at the Window Desktop in all versions of Windows.
In Windows 95 and later, this opens the drive selection or address bar when browsing files in Window Explorer.
- Pressing Alt + F4 closes the current open program window without a prompt in all versions of Windows.
- Pressing Ctrl + F4 closes the open window within the current active window in Microsoft Windows. This only works in programs that support multiple windows or tabs in the same program window.
While in Window Explorer, this will move the cursor to different Windows Explorer pane or in Windows 7 browse available drives.
Pressing F8 over and over as the computer is booting will start the computer in Safe Mode.
Activates the File Menu bar in all versions of Windows.
- Simulates a right-click on selected item. This is useful if right-click is difficult or impossible using the mouse.