Tips and Tricks that will help you work on Windows Faster

During the Covid19 Period, many of us are working from home. I have decided to come up with a series of tips and tricks that I use daily or often that could shave off a few seconds to getting something done. This is the first of a few articles that I will be posting over the next few weeks, so let's get started.

First let me introduce you to the Windows Key aka Win Key in short

Many of you use this key to open your Start Menu, but there are also many other functions you can use with it. I will go through a few of them here.

Launching Taskbar Applications

Did you know you can quickly launch an application on the taskbar just by pressing 2 buttons?

By hitting Windows Key + 1 - 0 launches the application in correspondence to the order on the task bar.

e.g. with reference to the screenshot above, by hitting Windows Key + 1 will launch Microsoft Edge, Windows Key + 2 will launch Firefox

Note : You can also use this when you have application open. As usual the number correspond to the order on the taskbar itself. I have Teams open but its minimized, by pressing Windows Key + 6, Teams will be maximized

Opening Common Applications using Run

Most of us use common applications like Microsoft Office, Notepad, Calculator. There is actually an alternate way to launching them instead of clicking Start and then finding the applications.

By Hitting Windows Key + R will launch the Run. You can enter the following and try it out yourself  (note: not case-sensitive)

C: - Open C Drive, change C to another letter to open other drives
Explorer - Opens Windows Explorer
Notepad - Opens Notepad Application
Calc - Opens Calculator
Control - Opens Control Panel
logoff - Logs off your computer (No Confirmation Prompt)
shutdown - Shuts down your computer (Save your files first!)
firefox/Chrome/iexplore - Launches Web Browsers
Winword - Microsoft Word
Excel - Microsoft Excel
Outlook - Microsoft Outlook
Powerpnt - Microsoft Powerpoint

Scheduling a System Restart or Shutdown

There may be times where you need to restart/shutdown the computer after a period of time. However there is no straight forward method to schedule to do that.  Here is a single liner to do that. Launch Run and enter the following commands

Shutdown.exe -r -t 3600 -f
Shutdown.exe -s -t 3600

Here are what each option does and other options available

-r = Restart Computer
-s = Shutdown Computer
-l = logoff Computer
-t = Time (in Seconds)
-f = Forces the computer to peform the action (No prompt will appear for unclosed application)

The format of this would be
Shutdown.exe <Mode> <Time> <Seconds> <Force?>

If you decided to cancel the scheduled restart/shutdown, Launch Run and enter the following

shutdown.exe -a

-a = abort Immediately

This is what you will see after the command is enter correctly

Additional Windows Shortcut Keys

Here are some other shortcut keys you can try

Alt + Tab: Switch between open programs.
Alt + Esc: Switch between programs in order they were opened.
Alt + Letter: Select menu item by underlined letter.
Alt + F4: Quit active application or close current window.
Alt + Spacebar: Open menu for active program.
Ctrl + Esc: Open Start menu.
Ctrl + F4: Close active document (does not work with some applications)
Ctrl + Left or Right Arrow: Move cursor forward or back one word.
Ctrl + Up or Down Arrow: Move cursor forward or back one paragraph.
Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Open Task Manager.
Windows Key + R: Opens the Run menu.
Windows Key + E: Opens Explorer.
Windows Key + L: Locks your computer.
Windows Key + M: Minimize all windows.
Windows Key + Up Arrow: Maximize current window.
Windows Key + F1: Open Windows Help and Support.
Windows Key + Tab: Open Task view.
Windows Key + Break: Open the System Properties dialog box.
Windows Key + Break: Opens system properties.
Windows Key + F: Opens search for files and folders.
Windows Key + D: Hide/display the desktop.
Shift + Windows Key + M: Restore windows that were minimized with previous keystroke.
F1: Open Help menu for active application.

What are other shortcut keys that you have used but its not listed here? Do share with me in the comments below!

Take care and stay safe everyone!