Microsoft Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts

Microsoft Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts

Here is my collection of common Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts.  Half the key stroke combinations are available in previous Windows versions.  My point is that you can build on previous knowledge, in fact, some of these shortcuts are just reminders of keyboard strokes we already know.

Computer Keyboard Shortcuts

Psychologists claim that they can judge how long a person has been using a computer by the number and type of keyboard shortcuts that they operate.


List of Windows 7 Keyboard ShortcutsWindows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts

Winkey is the key with the Windows Logo, it usually nestles between the Ctrl and Alt keys.  On some modern keyboards this key also has the word ‘Start’. The plus (+ ) symbol is a convention meaning, hold down both keys at the same time.

Winkey + t  Cycles through programs on the taskbar.  This is the most useful of the new Windows keyboard shortcuts – I like it.

I find any shortcut combination that requires 3 keys too hard to use and to remember.

Shift + Winkey + number  Starts a new instance of the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number. [For example Shift + Winkey + 1] 
Note 1: This does NOT WORK for the number pad, only the numbers on the top row of the keyboard.
Note 2: This also works with plain: Winkey + Number (no need for the shift key).

Alt + Winkey + number  Opens the Jump List for the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.

Ctrl + Winkey  + number  Switches to the last active window of the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.

Winkey + Tab  Activates the feature called Flip 3-D, where you get a preview of open programs.  However, you must have Aero Graphics, consequently this does not work with certain settings of Remote Desktop.Microsoft Windows 7 Aero Peak

Winkey + d  Displays the desktop.  In passing, note a new Windows 7 icon, or bar next to the clock, this displays the desktop with a click of the mouse.

Winkey + Spacebar  Has the same effect as + d, it displays the desktop.

Winkey + e  Launches the Windows Explorer (One of the oldest shortcuts)

Winkey + f  Brings up the Search box / Search results.

Winkey + g  Highlights the Gadgets, assuming that you have added one or more gadgets on the desktop.

Winkey + l (Lower case L) locks the desktop.

Winkey + p  This is for trainers and presenters, it brings up the second monitor.  Think ‘p’ for projector.

Winkey + r  A common shortcut used by old-timers, it brings up the Run dialog box.

Winkey + m Minimises all windows.  See also Aero Shake

Winkey + s  Only works if you have installed OneNote.

Winkey + t  Cycles through programs on the taskbar.

Winkey + u  Activates the Ease of Use Center.

Winkey + x  Cycles though the Mobility Center.

Winkey + Left Arrow(<–) Aero snap to the left.  This is one of the best pure Windows 7 Keyboard shortcuts.

Winkey + Right Arrow(–>) Aero snap to the right.  See more on Aero Snap

Winkey + Up Arrow maximises the screen.  Down arrow reverses, or minimises. 

Winkey + +   Windows key and the plus sign zooms in.  Naturally, Windows key and the minus zooms out.  In effect, this operates the Windows Magnifier.  I mention this in case you turn it on by accident.

Troubleshooting Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts

  • The most common problem is that you don’t have Aero Graphics, for example Winkey + Tab with remote desktop.
  • You may need the relevant hardware, e.g. projector, or software, e.g. OneNote or Gadgets.Troubleshooting Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Another possibility is that you don’t have enough Windows open for the keyboard shortcut to be effective.
  • You mistake the Ctrl or Alt key for the Winkey.
  • You type a capital letter, when the shortcut requires the simple lower case.

Keyboard Shortcuts Removed from Windows 7

The shift key no longer disables Autorun in Windows 7.

Guy’s Favourite Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Ctrl + c  and Ctrl + v  I mention these pair as they are the oldest computer keyboard shortcuts in my armoury.  Many of the latest generation of IT staff don’t know, or don’t rate this Ctrl + c and Ctrl + v combination, but over the years they have enabled me to copy and paste when modern mouse methods fail.  Please note this the Ctrl key, and not the Winkey.

Alt + Tab is the keyboard combination that I use the most to switch between windows.  However, please note that Alt + Tab is different from Winkey + Tab.  Incidentally, I am trying to teach this old dog a new trick and remember the benefits of Winkey + Tab.

About the only 3 key shortcut combination that I can remember, and thus use on a regular basis is:
Ctrl + Shift + Esc, which brings up the Task Manager.

My vote for the ‘coolest’ keyboard combination goes to:
Winkey + Pause / Break (Key next to Print Screen and Scroll Lock).  What this does in bring up the System Icon.

See how to create a Windows 8 Metro tile from a shortcut.

NCPA.CPL – Network Connection Shortcut

For years I wished that Microsoft would make a keyboard shortcut for the Network Connection.  The nearest I have found is Start Search: ncpa.cpl.  Drag this icon onto the desktop and thus create a shortcut.  Double click and see the network connections appear by magic.  Note: Mr Angry wrote saying ncpa did not work for him, what Mr Angry was missing was the .cpl, you must type the filename and extension ncpa.cpl.  Unlike Vista, you cannot drag this shortcut to the taskbar; however, you can add this shortcut to the Windows 7 Quick Launch.

Monitor Your Network with the Real-time Traffic AnalyzerSolarwinds Real-time Traffic Analyzer

The main reason to monitor your network is to check that your all your servers are available.  If there is a network problem you want an interface to show the scope of the problem at a glance.

Even when all servers and routers are available, sooner or later you will be curious to know who, or what, is hogging your precious network’s bandwidth.  A GUI showing the top 10 users makes interesting reading.

Another reason to monitor network traffic is to learn more about your server’s response times and the use of resources.  To take the pain out of capturing frames and analysing the raw data, Guy recommends that you download a copy of the SolarWindsfree Real-time NetFlow Analyzer.

Creating a Custom Keyboard ShortcutTroubleshooting Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Begin by locating the underlying program, typically an .exe, or in this case ncpa.cpl. 
  • Either right-click the executable file and select ‘Create Shortcut’

    Or else, right-click the desktop, New, Shortcut, then Browse to the file.

  • Once the new shortcut is ‘born’ you can modify by right-clicking and choosing its Properties.
  • Click in the dialog box called ‘Shortcut key’. 
  • Now for the strangest part, at the keyboard, press the key combination that you want.  By pressing the shift key, and thus using a capital letter, we can avoid many of the built-in shortcuts. 
  • How about CTRL + Shift + N for this shortcut to the Network and Sharing Center? 

Summary of Common Keyboard Shortcuts

The Winkey opens up a whole host of shortcuts to common Windows 7 tasks.  The knack requires that you hold down two keys at the same time.

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Microsoft Windows Version 7 Configuration Topics