Tip: Make life easier with Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

Having problems finding things in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, or adjusting to the Metro menu system? Perhaps these handy Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts will make your time using Windows 8 and the Metro Start Screen a lot easier and more productive.

Windows Key → [Search Term] → Enter will allow you to launch an application very quickly. Pressing the Windows key launches the Start Screen, but immediately typing a search term for an application and pressing Enter will launch the application you desire very quickly

Windows Key + F will bring up the Metro interface to search for files. Selecting a file will open a Metro app first, but if there is no Metro app to open the file it will choose a Desktop app instead

Windows Key + W allows you to search for settings in a similar way to files. A lot of the time the selections will open the Control Panel

Esc (when on the Start Screen) or Windows Key + D immediately ditches the Start Screen for the Desktop

Windows Key + E opens Windows Explorer in case you need to browse files and either don't have it pinned to the taskbar or don't want to search for it

Windows Key + C shows the Charm Bar, which can be hard to get to display with a mouse (especially with multiple monitors)

Windows Key + I shows the information pane that usually only appears once you mouse to the Charm Bar and click Settings. This panel has handy buttons to control volume, networks and power

Windows Key + P shows multi-display options

Windows Key + H brings up sharing options for the application you are using

Windows Key + X shows a context menu filled with links to Windows related settings, such as Command Prompt, Event Viewer, Task Manager, Programs & Features, and more

Windows Key + . chucks the program you're using into either one of Windows 8's multi-tasking sidebars

Windows Key + [1-9] activates one of the programs pinned to your taskbar, with the number you enter corresponding to the location on the taskbar

Windows Key + Tab displays the new Windows 8 Metro multi-tasking sidebar

If you find any more helpful ones, let us know in the comments below and we'll add it to the list.

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33 Comments

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Im gonna buy the most cheap tablet outthere, install windows 8 and destroy it to a wall, that what I would do.

ThePitt said,
Im gonna buy the most cheap tablet outthere, install windows 8 and destroy it to a wall, that what I would do.

k

If I could figure out how to pin the "all apps" button from the start screen to the task bar it would be nice. I find it faster than scrolling through the old start menu but it is feels like too many clicks/keys to get in to it from the desktop.

Go back when (<-) is available in SOME Metro apps.
Win + Backspace

For example, this shortcut works in Music, Videos and Photos, but not in the Store.

Narc2500 said,
Go back when (<-) is available in SOME Metro apps.
Win + Backspace

For example, this shortcut works in Music, Videos and Photos, but not in the Store.

Yeah, that's rather annoying. It needs to work that way in ALL apps. Also, pure keyboard navigation needs to be possible in most cases. For example, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to navigate through the tiles of the msnbc app. I don't want to use the mouse if I don't have to, especially because my PC is in the living room running Media Center and I want to control everything with my remote.

The only app i kept was weather and the news, when i woke in the morning i only got 5 mins to glance. I like it. I would love a steam metro app... thanks for the shortcuts. I've used it last night and i loved it. I like the notification system as i woke i saw that i had 2 email waiting so i had a reason to log in: )

Win + M also minimizes all windows to the superbar

Win + L Logs you out so you need to enter the password (could be handy )

Win + D takes you straight to the desktop

Win + Q takes you to "apps"

Win + U brings up Ease of access

Win + R the usual run box

Edited by Riggers, Mar 1 2012, 12:39pm :

There's also the Win + T combination, which moves throughout the taskbar.
Win + D to Show the Desktop
Win + Break to go to System Properties.
Win + Space (Don't remember what does it do... I think it switched keyboard languages, but what I know it's different from the aero peek from Win 7.
Win + X For mobility Center (Should be very useful with laptops and tablets)

Win + Shift + [1-9] Opens another instance of that program (if already opened)

That's it for now... I'll post back if I remember anything at all.

Edit: Just remembered that Win+m minimizes the current window.

Well.. Can't wait till gold, and a nice tablet to lay this on.

Def a tab os at the very least.

Big deal, it might not be a great upgrade for some, I will def keep 7 on my laptop and desktop for now, but... Me wants a win8 tablet, and Apollo running on my phone..

I've found a way to use Windows 8 on a desktop. Just don't use any of this Metro stuff. Remove all the Metro apps which you can delete. Replace them with shortcuts for desktop-apps.

Just use WIndows 8 as you used Windows 7, and you can get used to it. The features regaring explorer, speed and task manager are very nice to use, so I will focus on that. The fact that there is no startmenu is still stupid and the huge startscreen on a desktop with multiple monitors is still a huge waste of resources and space.

fenderMarky said,
I only want the old Windows + X

Hmmm after reading your post I assume that in Consumer Preview they removed the Mobility Center... (haven't tried it out myself)

fenderMarky said,
I only want the old Windows + X

Most of the functionality in Windows Mobility Center is now under the Devices menu in the Charms bar. You can adjust brightness, volume, add a second screen, or adjust network settings.

balander said,
Failed... hope to exist an option to disable the metro UI...

Otherwise... Windows 7 for a life!


Bye then, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Quite why people who have already made up their minds without giving it a fair chance continue to want to trash Win8 is beyond me. Why try and spoil it for those of us who DO like it? Just sod off back to your precious Windows 7 (which is clearly perfect in your eyes) and stay there for the next 5 years.

TCLN Ryster said,

Bye then, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Quite why people who have already made up their minds without giving it a fair chance continue to want to trash Win8 is beyond me. Why try and spoil it for those of us who DO like it? Just sod off back to your precious Windows 7 (which is clearly perfect in your eyes) and stay there for the next 5 years.

Because now is the time to complain not when W8 final is here. Open your mind and let people speak their minds (pro and con). Get your head out of MS arse.

Borix said,

Because now is the time to complain not when W8 final is here. Open your mind and let people speak their minds (pro and con). Get your head out of MS arse.

Yes, because Microsoft are obviously going to change course and ditch metro at this stage. Nope not going to happen. Get your head out of the clouds. Not willing to give it a chance to get used to it? Then don't, stick with Windows 7 / Linux / OS X / Etc.

meccs said,
Or you could like NOT use a tablet OS on a desktop...

or maybe, use the OS for more then two minutes before complaining about it ...

meccs said,
Or you could like NOT use a tablet OS on a desktop...

Or stop trolling and give it a fair chance. Nobody is claiming Windows 8 is not different. I like it, but I'm still having trouble getting used to everything.

georgevella said,

or maybe, use the OS for more then two minutes before complaining about it ...

Real stupid things can be judged in less than 2 seconds and that includes this metro **** on desktop pcs

marc2003 said,
winkey + I just made things a whole let better.

Indeed, quicker access to shutdown controls without having to move mouse to bottom right corner, then click on settings. Like it.

Luckily that the "Windows Key -> [Search Term] -> Enter" feature is still there. I have been using this feature to open programs in efficient way since I upgraded my computer to Windows Vista/ 7, it is much better than looking for the program in start menu (especially when I have many programs installed on my computer).

P.S. I just found that I couldn't have the arrow symbol when leaving comments.

GraphiteCube said,
Luckily that the "Windows Key -> [Search Term] -> Enter" feature is still there. I have been using this feature to open programs in efficient way since I upgraded my computer to Windows Vista/ 7, it is much better than looking for the program in start menu (especially when I have many programs installed on my computer).

P.S. I just found that I couldn't have the arrow symbol when leaving comments.


You just start typing the program name from start menu, no need to press windows key

zikalify said,

You just start typing the program name from start menu, no need to press windows key

I think they mean pressing the Windows key once to open the Start Menu.

zikalify said,

You just start typing the program name from start menu, no need to press windows key

Indeed, but pressing the Windows key obviously means if you don't have the start screen open already.