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Some Windows Tips and Tricks

When you work in Windows XP for 40 hours per week or more, you learn some details that the casual user may never find. In this month's article, I will just cover several nifty shortcut keys and screens you might not already be utilizing.

First of all, the Start Menu key or Windows Logo key is a key located on most newer keyboards between CTRL and ALT on the left side and also on the right on many keyboards. If you press this key, it will open the Start Menu. While the start menu is open, you can use the up, down, left and right arrow keys to maneuver to your selection, then hit enter to activate the selection like you might normally do by clicking the mouse. There are many other uses for this key though. You can press and hold down the Windows Logo key, then press another key to utilize some built in shortcuts. Here is a list:

Logo Key + RDisplays the Open/Run dialog box
Logo Key + DMinimizes all open windows to show the desktop.
Hit it again to reopen the windows.
Logo Key + BreakDisplays the System Properties screen
Logo Key + LLocks the computer
Logo Key + EOpens Windows Explorer
Logo Key + FOpens the Search window

The System Properties screen that is displayed by pressing Logo Key + Break above contains some very useful information. It will tell you which version of Windows you have as well as the Service Pack you have installed and, if supported with your version and hardware, it will tell you how much memory your system has and what model the processor is.

If you press Logo Key + R to display the Open/Run dialog, you can get to many places in Windows easily if you know the command to run. You just type the command into the box in this dialog and hit the enter key. Here are some useful commands to try for some things that just take to long to get to with a mouse:

defragRuns the disk defragmenter utility
calcRun the calculator
ncpa.cplOpens the network connections window
cmdOpens a DOS/Command prompt window
desk.cplDisplay Properties
appwiz.cplAdd/Remove Programs
eventvwrRun the Event Viewer where you can look at information and error logs

This is just the beginning. If you go to Yahoo to Google and search for things like Windows Shortcuts or Windows Shortcut Keys, you will likely find at least 100 sites with all sorts of details on shortcuts for different applications in Windows. Some of these things you may never use, then others you find yourself using all the time. Have fun with it. As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Posted by Charles Swihart on 11/1/2005

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