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Navigating Windows 10

Seems nowadays everyone is looking for ways to get things done quicker. The same holds true for your computer. The faster you can open a program or document, the better. So here's my favorite tips for navigating Windows 10.

Navigating Windows 10

Since I do computer repair for a living, I've had to find ways to navigate around the different versions of Windows. With Windows 10, Microsoft keep some of the cooler features while adding some new ones. And they even brought back one feature from previous versions. Let's take a look at my favorite ways to get around inside of Windows 10.

Power User menu

This little pop-up menu is the fast way to find some of the core features inside of Windows 10. It first appeared in Windows 8 to supplement the loss of the Start Menu. It never got the publicity it deserved and only real geeks knew it existed. My customers are still amazed the first time I use it in front of them.

Lucky for us Microsoft decided to keep the Power Users menu in Windows 10. It is still the fastest way to get to features like the Control Panel, Programs and Features and Computer Management. Here's how to display the Power User menu in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Power User menu

There are two (2) ways of displaying the Power User menu in Windows 10: Mouse or Keyboard.

Using your mouse to display the Power User menu in Windows 10

Right-click on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start Menu

Using your keyboard to display the Power User menu in Windows 10

Press the Windows Logo key Windows logo key + X

If you use the keyboard to bring up the Power User menu, you'll find that the programs / features listed have a single letter in their name underlined. These are also keyboard shortcuts to that particular program / feature. Here's a link to the complete list of the Power User menu keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10.

Power User menu keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

Here's is another really useful feature that nobody really knows about, the Windows logo key. I have customers ask me all the time "What does that key with the Windows logo do?". Well, its primary use is to bring up the Start Menu, but it does more. Allot more.

The Windows logo key was introduced over twenty (20) years alongside of Windows 95 and the new Start Menu. There were only a handful of Windows logo key shortcuts at that time and you had to purchase a Windows 95 compatible keyboard to use them. Now you can't find a Windows compatible keyboard without it.

There are now close to forty (40) Windows logo key shortcuts in Windows 10. Once you try them out you'll wonder how you lived without for so long. Here's a link to the complete list of Windows logo key shortcuts.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

Shortcut keys in Windows 10

This is one of those 'old school' features that I love to use. Did you know that you can open almost any shortcut with just your keyboard? By simply editing a shortcut, you open it with a combination of three (3) keys.

Now if you have used Windows for a while, you know what a shortcut is. And if not, no biggie. Here's how to create a shortcut in Windows 10.

Allot of people don't know that they can edit a shortcut and change the way it works, including adding a keyboard shortcut to it. The keyboard shortcut for your shortcut needs to be a combination of three (3) keys and the first two (2) keys have to be CTRL and ALT. The third key is your choice, but I try to use either the first letter of the program / file or a letter close to CTRL and ALT keys.

The shortcut key field inside of the properties a shortcut
The shortcut key field inside of the properties of a shortcut

How to add a keyboard shortcut to an existing shortcut

  1. Right-click on the shortcut you want to modify and from the context menu that appears select Properties.
  2. When the properties dialog box appears, make sure the Shortcut tab is selected.
  3. Go down to the Shortcut key field and left-click inside of the field (the cursor will blink).
  4. Press the CTRL key and the key you want assigned to the shortcut at the same time (Windows will automatically add the ALT).
  5. Left-click on Apply and you are done.

Start Menu

And last but not least is the Start Menu. After a brief disappearance in Windows 8, Microsoft decided to bring it back. It's now got a slightly different look and feel, but it still does what it is supposed to do: Navigate.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

Twenty years ago in 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95 with a new way to navigate the GUI (Graphic User Interface) called the Start menu. To make it easy to use, they added a new key to the standard keyboard called the Windows logo key and added some useful shortcuts for it. Since then, Microsoft has integrated Windows logo key shortcuts into every version of Windows. Here's is complete list of Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10
Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

There are now almost forty different Windows logo key shortcuts inside of Windows 10 (all of them are listed below). For more keyboard shortcuts for Windows, see the links at the bottom of this article.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

Press To
Windows logo key Start menu
Windows logo key + A Open action center
Windows logo key + D Show desktop
Windows logo key + E Open File Explorer
Windows logo key + F Opens the Start menu with the Search box highlighted
Windows logo key + H Share
Windows logo key + I Settings
Windows logo key + K Connect to devices
Windows logo key + L Switch users (Lock computer if on a domain)
Windows logo key + M Minimize all windows (desktop)
Windows logo key + P Project options
Windows logo key + R Run...
Windows logo key + S Start Cortana
Windows logo key + T Set focus on taskbar and cycle through pinned / running desktop apps
Windows logo key + U Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key + V Cycle through notifications (+Shift to go backward)
Windows logo key + W Opens the Start menu with the Search box highlighted
Windows logo key + X Opens the Power User menu (opens Windows Mobility Center if present)
Windows logo key + 1-9 Go to the app at the given position on the taskbar
Windows logo key + + (plus) Zoom in (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + - (minus) Zoom out (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + , (comma) Peek at the desktop
Windows logo key + Enter Open Narrator
Windows logo key + Spacebar Switch input language and keyboard layout
Windows logo key + Tab Show all open apps and view additional desktops
Windows logo key + Esc Exit Magnifier
Windows logo key + Home Minimize non-active desktop windows
Windows logo key + Break System Properties
Windows logo key + Left Arrow Snap desktop window to the left (+Shift to move window to left monitor)
Windows logo key + Right Arrow Snap desktop window to the right (+Shift to move window to right monitor)
Windows logo key + Up Arrow Maximize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + Down Arrow Restore/minimize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + F1 Windows Help and Support
Windows logo key + Ctrl + D Add a desktop
Windows logo key + Ctrl + Right arrow Switch between desktops you’ve created on the right
Windows logo key + Ctrl + Left arrow Switch between desktops you’ve created on the left
Windows logo key + Ctrl + F4 Close the desktop you’re using
Windows logo key + Shift + Right arrow Move an app to a monitor on the right
Windows logo key + Shift + Left arrow Move an app to a monitor on the left

For more keyboard shortcuts for Windows, see the links below:

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts
General keyboard shortcuts
Natural keyboard shortcuts
Dialog box keyboard shortcuts
Accessibility keyboard shortcuts
Windows explorer keyboard shortcuts

Six ways to make Windows 8 easier to use

Repairing computers for a living requires working on different versions of Windows. Windows 8 must have the most changes out of all the Windows releases I've seen in the last decade or so. It seems like what worked in previous versions of Windows doesn't work in Windows 8. So here are six ways to make Windows 8 easier to use.

1. Create Shutdown, Restart and Logoff shortcuts

Microsoft made shutting down and restarting Windows 8 kind of hard. You have to go to the Start screen and log-off before you can get to these options. Just seemed like too many steps for me, so I just created my own shortcuts and toolbar for shutting down, restarting and logging off.

How to create log-off, restart and shutdown shortcuts on the Start screen in Windows 8.

2. Start menu replacements

Windows 7 style Start menu in Windows 8 using Start8
Windows 7 style Start menu in Windows 8 using Start8

If you're a die-hard Windows user and find the Start screen just doesn't work for you, there is hope. There numerous third party shell menus out there like Start8, Classic Shell and Pokki's Windows 8 Start Menu. Get one and Windows 8 will feel just like Windows 7.

3. Power users command menu

The desktop and laptop versions of the Windows 8 Power User command menu
The desktop and laptop versions of the Windows 8 Power User command menu

This is one of the Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 8 (see below) but I think it deserves to be listed separately. It contains links to some of the most used programs inside of Windows. From the Control Panel, Computer Management and an Admin Command Prompt, if it's a commonly used Windows program, you'll probably find it here. Add it works on both the Desktop and Start screen.

PressTo
Windows logo key + X Open the Power User command menu. There are over a dozen different apps you can run from this menu.

4. Start screen hidden search feature

Most people find it hard to find programs on the Start screen (Windows RT). But there is one cool feature that actually will help you search for programs. If you go to the Start screen and just type the first couple of letters of the name of the program you're looking for, Windows RT will bring up the Search charm with Apps pre-selected. Remember that there is no box or form field associated with this feature, you just type.

5. Windows 8 Keyboard shortcuts

The Windows logo key Windows logo key has been around since Windows 95 and with every new version of Windows, Microsoft just adds more key combinations .There are now forty (40) different Windows logo key shortcuts in Windows 8.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 8.

6. Windows 8 restart options

Windows 8 restart option screen
Windows 8 restart option screen

It used to be when you had a problem with Windows, you could press F8 at startup and get to the boot options. This was the primary way to start Windows in Safe Mode or boot to other media. But with newer computers using Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and Windows 8 booting faster, pressing F8 at boot is really hard, if not impossible. But there are a couple of ways to get there once Windows 8 is started. Note: If you want to boot from removable media, make sure that the media you want to boot to is attached (USB) or inserted (CD/DVD) before proceeding.

If you are logged off:

  1. On the logon screen, in the lower-right hand corner, tap or left-click the Power Icon. Hold the Shift key down while you tap or left-click on Restart.
  2. On the restart options screen, tap or left-click Troubleshoot.
  3. Tap or left-click on Advanced options.
  4. From here you can choose what startup settings you want to use or boot to a bootable CD/DVD or USB drive.

If you are logged on:

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + C to bring up the Charms bar.
  2. Tap or left-click Change PC Settings.
  3. Tap or left-click General.
  4. Scroll down to Advanced startup and tap or left-click Restart now.
  5. On the restart options screen, tap or left-click Troubleshoot.
  6. Tap or left-click on Advanced options.
  7. From here you can choose what startup settings you want to use or boot to a bootable CD/DVD or USB drive.

And if you would like enable the Advanced Boot Options menu, you can do that too. Just remember that there is no timer on the Advanced Boot menu anymore. If enabled, Windows 8 will wait for user input every time the system starts. How to enable the Advanced Boot Options menu at start up in Windows 8.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 8

In 1995, Microsoft introduced Windows 95 with a new feature called the Start menu. To make easy to use, they added a key to the standard keyboard and called it the Windows logo key. Microsoft even added a hand full of keyboard shortcuts to go along with it. The Windows logo key is now standard on Windows based computers and Windows 8 takes full advantage of it.

The Windows logo key from a Microsoft keyboard
The Windows logo key from a Microsoft keyboard

There are now over forty different Windows logo key shortcuts inside of Windows 8 (all of them are listed below). For more keyboard shortcuts for Windows, see the links at the bottom of this article.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 8

Press To
Windows logo key Start screen
Windows logo key + C Open charms
Windows logo key + D Show desktop
Windows logo key + E Open Windows Explorer
Windows logo key + F Go to Files in Search charm (+Ctrl to find computers on a network)
Windows logo key + G Cycle through desktop gadgets
Windows logo key + H Share charm
Windows logo key + I Settings charm
Windows logo key + J Switch focus between snapped and larger
Windows logo key + K Devices charm
Windows logo key + L Switch users (Lock computer if on a domain)
Windows logo key + M Minimize all windows (desktop)
Windows logo key + O Lock screen orientation
Windows logo key + P Projection options
Windows logo key + Q Search charm
Windows logo key + R Run...
Windows logo key + T Set focus on taskbar and cycle through running desktop apps
Windows logo key + U Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key + V Cycle through notifications (+Shift to go backward)
Windows logo key + W Go to Settings in Search charm
Windows logo key + X Quick link power user commands (Opens Windows Mobility Center if present)
Windows logo key + Z Open app bar
Windows logo key + 1-9 Go to the app at the given position on the taskbar
Windows logo key + + (plus) Zoom in (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + - (minus) Zoom out (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + , (comma) Peek at the desktop
Windows logo key + . (period) Snap a metro app to the right (+Shift to snap to the left)
Windows logo key + Enter Narrator (+Alt to open Windows Media Center if installed)
Windows logo key + Spacebar Switch input language and keyboard layout
Windows logo key + Tab Cycle through metro app history (use Ctrl to use arrow keys)
Windows logo key + Esc Exit Magnifier
Windows logo key + Home Minimize non-active desktop windows
Windows logo key + Page Up Move Start screen to left monitor
Windows logo key + Page Down Move Start screen to right monitor
Windows logo key + Break System Properties
Windows logo key + Left Arrow Snap desktop window to the left (+Shift to move window to left monitor)
Windows logo key + Right Arrow Snap desktop window to the right (+Shift to move window to right monitor)
Windows logo key + Up Arrow Maximize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + Down Arrow Restore/minimize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + F1 Windows Help and Support

For more keyboard shortcuts for Windows, see the links below:

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts
General keyboard shortcuts
Natural keyboard shortcuts
Dialog box keyboard shortcuts
Accessibility keyboard shortcuts
Windows explorer keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts (based on Windows 7)

Press To
Windows logo key Open or close the Start menu
Windows logo key + Pause Display the System Properties dialog box
Windows logo key + D Display the desktop
Windows logo key + M Minimize all windows
Windows logo key + Shift + M Restore minimized windows to the desktop
Windows logo key + E Open Computer
Windows logo key + F Search for a file or folder
Ctrl + Windows logo key + F Search for computers (if you're on a network)
Windows logo key + L Lock your computer or switch users
Windows logo key + R Open the Run dialog box
Windows logo key + T Cycle through programs on the taskbar
Windows logo key + number Start the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number. If the program is already running, switch to that program
Shift + Windows logo key + number Start a new instance of the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Ctrl + Windows logo key + number Switch to the last active window of the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Alt + Windows logo key + number Open the Jump List for the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows logo key + Tab Cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D
Ctrl + Windows logo key + Tab Use the arrow keys to cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D
Ctrl + Windows logo key + B Switch to the program that displayed a message in the notification area
Windows logo key + Spacebar Preview the desktop
Windows logo key + Up Arrow Maximize the window
Windows logo key + Left Arrow Maximize the window to the left side of the screen
Windows logo key + Right Arrow Maximize the window to the right side of the screen
Windows logo key + Down Arrow Minimize the window
Windows logo key + Home Minimize all but the active window
Windows logo key + Shift + Up Arrow Stretch the window to the top and bottom of the screen
Windows logo key + Shift + Left Arrow or Right Arrow Move a window from one monitor to another
Windows logo key + P Choose a presentation display mode
Windows logo key + G Cycle through gadgets
Windows logo key + U Open Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key + X Open Windows Mobility Center

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