Windows 8.x Basic Hotkeys List


The Beginning

I know, I know… the many things you all hate about Windows 8.x. But…

There are many things to love as well. HotKeys are one of them. Windows 8.x has a plethora of them which will make your life easier. This is a short list. I was originally going to provide a full list but it quickly became overwhelming. Really!

There are many sources for a complete list abounding on the Internet and a quick search using your favorite “engine” will suffice. You can even create your own if you like 🙂

Right-Click any shortcut and choose Properties;, choose the Shortcut Tab, then click in the Shortcut key box to put the cursor there,  then choose a keystroke combination that suits you. It’s that easy. Try it– you’ll figure it out. I used ALT-SHFT-T to run the Task Manager with a keystroke– something I use a lot… Alternatively, you could simply put a shortcut on your desk top. Who needs the Start Screen…

What are HotKeys?

HotKeys are a keyboard shortcut. They let you use the keyboard to get to various things within Windows in a very quick way. A couple of key strokes and BAM! You’re there. Slick!

I see it this way. If you’re already at the keyboard, why switch to the mouse to click something. I really don’t like going back and forth between mouse and keyboard if it isn’t necessary. One interface for all, I say.

If you are a typical desktop user such as I, then you will love this list.

First things first. The “F” (Function) is not vulgar. Function keys do not require the Windows Key to work. So, if you see a Function Key listed, then the Windows Key is unnecessary. I’ll list them first.

Secondly, these keyboard shortcuts work on my computer. I am not going to say they will work in the same way on all computers. Many of my personal settings and Registry settings have changed over time and I can not guarantee the same result on all your machines. On top of that, if you use these shortcuts on the Desktop version, the “Metro” version may differ.

How about that– there are two versions– whew! The myopic desktop people who whine about no Start Menu don’t even have to use the “Metro” touch-screen version. Imagine that.

My friend and DCT editor claims he hasn’t seen the Windows 8.x Start Screen in ages. He and I have both forgotten we are even using the much-maligned nouveau operating system. You may blame that on old age and forgetfulness, but I don’t think so. I don’t think so… QUIT REPEATING EVERYTHING I SAY! I remember, already.

That said, here goes…

The Function Keys:


  •  F1 – Help – Brings up the Help Window. This will offer you search options and navigation help for Windows 8.x
  • F3 – Search – This will bring you a Search Window so you can hunt around for things both on your computer and Internet (if you have an active account)
  • F5 – This will refresh your screen, or whatever application you may be using at the time. It works great in browsers when you don’t seem to have a good connection. (Using CTRL+F5 will bypass the browser cache so you can view a fresh, up-to-date version of the page [this works in both Firefox and IE on my system])

The Magical Windows Key


The following Keystrokes work by holding down the Windows Key and typing the following:

  • M- minimizes everything that’s showing on the desktop
  • E – opens Explorer for quick access to folders
  • D – Instantly get to the desktop (Golly! Gosh! Oh Gee!)
  • Tab – opens a list of currently running programs
  • Print Screen – takes a screenshot and saves it in a Screenshots folder nested in your Pictures folder
  • Q – opens a global search menu
  • W opens a search in your system settings to locate and change system properties
  • F-  opens a file and folder search.
  • Pause – opens the system properties page to show you a quick rundown of your specs (this actually brings me to the Start Menu and corrupts my cursor) 🙁 It may have something to do with my graphics driver although it is the latest– more on driver updates here: )
  • ,  – makes all current windows transparent (used to be the Space Bar in Windows 7)
  • .  – snaps a window to the right or left side (toggle)
  • R –  prompts the Run command
  • X  – opens the Quick Access Menu
  • I –  opens the settings menu

I hope this helps those who would otherwise think it’s more difficult to operate Windows 8.x than earlier systems.

That just ain’t so,

More hotkeys-related articles:


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1 thought on “Windows 8.x Basic Hotkeys List”

  1. robert charter

    Wow! I was amazed that the “windows” key could do all that. Those that still hate windows 8 can also download “classic shell” and get the start button back.

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