Use Key Commands to Speed Up Basic Tasks

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Key command shortcuts are quicker than mousing through menus; just bang a few keys together, and your PC instantly responds. And Windows has a lot of hidden commands, plus ways to customize those shortcuts however you want. Here are some of my favorites, plus Microsoft lists even more to browse. If you swap mouse movements for these commands, Windows will feel faster than ever.

Navigate menus: Open menus by holding (or pressing) Alt and pressing the underlined letter in a menu. Once open, you can let go of Alt and just tap the underlined letter of your selection. Arrow keys also navigate open menus, and Enter makes selections. Even hit Control-Esc--or the Windows Key--to open the Start Menu.

Swap and close applications: Hold Alt, and tap Tab to swap between open windows. Alt-Shift-Tab moves backwards, in case you overshoot your target. Ctrl-Shift-Esc opens the Task Manager. Close windows with Alt-F4. And Windows Key-M minimizes all open windows.

Drive the desktop: Hold Alt and double-click an item to view its properties. Shift-Delete removes an item without the interim step of sitting in the Recycle Bin. Begin searching for an item with F3. Make a duplicate file at a new location by holding Ctrl while you drag and drop it in the new place. Or hold Ctrl-Shift while moving an item to create a shortcut in the new location.

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