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Windows 8 Consumer Preview Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Keyboard Shortcuts
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is now available for public download, and it offers a very different experience from what Windows users are accustomed to. However, while the operating system is optimized for touchscreen input, that doesn't mean Microsoft forgot about users who are confined to traditional keyboards and mice.

In fact, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview supports a ton of keyboard shortcuts to help make input and interaction a little easier. Some of the new shortcuts are touchscreen-related, such as pressing Windows-O to lock the orientation of the device, while others relate to new features, such as pressing Windows-C to open the Charms bar.

Below is a chart of the keyboard shortcuts we know about, including shortcuts unchanged from Windows 7, as well as a list of brand-new shortcuts. If you're using Windows 8 with a keyboard and mouse or laptop touchpad, these will go a very long way toward improving your experience.

Hotkeys unchanged from Windows 7
Key combinationWindows 7 functionality
Windows Display or hide the Start menu.
Windows-Left Arrow Dock the active window to the left half of the screen (does nothing to Metro-style applications).
Windows-Right Arrow Dock the active window to the right half of screen (does nothing to Metro-style applications).
Windows-Up Arrow Maximize the active window (does nothing to Metro-style applications).
Windows-Down Arrow Restore/minimize the active window (does nothing to Metro-style applications).
Windows-Shift-Up Arrow Maximize the active window vertically, maintaining width (does nothing to Metro-style applications).
Windows-Shift-Down Arrow Restore/minimize the active window vertically, maintaining width (does nothing to Metro-style applications).
Windows-Shift-Left Arrow Move the active window to the monitor on the left (does nothing to Metro-style applications).
Windows-Shift-Right Arrow Move the active window to the monitor on the right (does nothing to Metro-style applications).
Windows-P Display projection options.
Windows-Home Minimize all nonactive windows; restore on the second keystroke (does not restore Metro-style applications).
Windows-number Launch or switch to the program located at the given position on the taskbar. (Example: Use Windows-1 to launch the first program.)
Windows-Shift-number Launch a new instance of the program located at the given position on the taskbar.
Windows-B Set focus in the notification area.
Windows-Break Display the System Properties dialog box.
Windows-D Show the desktop; restore on the second keystroke (does not restore Metro-style applications).
Windows-E Open Windows Explorer, navigated to Computer.
Windows-Ctrl-F Search for computers (if you are on a network).
Windows-G Cycle through Windows Desktop Gadgets.
Windows-L Lock your computer (if you're connected to a network domain), or switch users (if you're not connected to a network domain).
Windows-M Minimize all windows.
Windows-Shift-M Restore minimized windows to the desktop (does not restore Metro-style applications).
Windows-R Open the Run dialog box.
Windows-T Set focus on the taskbar and cycle through programs.
Windows-Alt-Enter Open Windows Media Center. Note that Windows Media Center must be installed for this key combo to function; in many Windows 8 builds, it is not present.
Windows-U Open Ease of Access Center.
Windows-X Open Windows Mobility Center.
Windows-F1 Launch Windows Help and Support.
Windows-N Create a new note (OneNote).
Windows-S Open screen clipper (OneNote).
Windows-Q Open Lync. Note that in Windows 8 the Search function overrides this key combo.
Windows-A Accept an incoming call (Lync).
Windows-X Reject an incoming call (Lync). Note that this key combo does not function if Windows Mobility Center is present on the machine.
Windows-Minus Zoom out (Magnifier).
Windows-Plus Zoom in (Magnifer).
Windows-Esc Close Magnifier.
   
New hotkeys for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview
Key combinationWindows 8 functionality
Windows-Space Switch input language and keyboard layout.
Windows-O Lock device orientation.
Windows-, Temporarily peek at the desktop.
Windows-V Cycle through toasts.
Windows-Shift-V Cycle through toasts in reverse order.
Windows-Enter Launch Narrator.
Windows-PgUp Move the Start Screen or a Metro-style application to the monitor on the left.
Windows-PgDown Move the Start Screen or a Metro-style application to the monitor on the right.
Windows-Shift-. Move the gutter to the left (snap an application).
Windows-. Move the gutter to the right (snap an application).
Windows-C Open the Charms bar.
Windows-I Open the Settings charm.
Windows-K Open the Connect charm.
Windows-H Open the Share charm.
Windows-Q Open the Search pane.
Windows-W Open the Settings Search app.
Windows-F Open the File Search app.
Windows-Tab Cycle through apps.
Windows-Shift-Tab Cycle through apps in reverse order.
Windows-Ctrl-Tab Cycle through apps and snap them as they cycle.
Windows-Z Open the App Bar.
Windows-/ Initiate input method editor (IME) reconversion.
Windows-J Swap foreground between the snapped and filled apps.

Have you downloaded Windows 8 Consumer Preview? Or do you have no interest in changing to a new version of Windows? Either way, we'd like to hear your opinion. Please take PCWorld's Windows 8 Survey. It'll take five minutes or less.

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