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Windows 7 Beta hotkey cheat sheet

by Brandon on January 10th, 2009

Got yourself a shiny new Windows 7 Beta install? Here’s a little cheat sheet I made up for some of the handy new hotkey combinations, many of which I’ve become quite dependent on!


Win+Up Maximize
Win+Down Restore / Minimize
Win+Left Snap to left
Win+Right Snap to right
Win+Shift+Left Jump to left monitor
Win+Shift+Right Jump to right monitor
Win+Home Minimize / Restore all other windows
Win+T Focus the first taskbar entry
Pressing again will cycle through them, you can can arrow around.
Win+Shift+T cycles backwards.
Win+Space Peek at the desktop
Win+G Bring gadgets to the top of the Z-order
Win+P External display options (mirror, extend desktop, etc)
Win+X Mobility Center (same as Vista, but still handy!)
(# = a number key)
Launches a new instance of the application in the Nth slot on the taskbar.
Example: Win+1 launches first pinned app, Win+2 launches second, etc.
Win + +
Win + –
(plus or minus key)
Zoom in or out.

Windows Explorer

Alt+P Show/hide Preview Pane

Taskbar modifiers

Shift + Click on icon Open a new instance
Middle click on icon Open a new instance
Ctrl + Shift + Click on icon Open a new instance with Admin privileges
Shift + Right-click on icon Show window menu (Restore / Minimize / Move / etc)
Note: Normally you can just right-click on the window thumbnail to get this menu
Shift + Right-click on grouped icon Menu with Restore All / Minimize All / Close All, etc.
Ctrl + Click on grouped icon Cycle between the windows (or tabs) in the group

Note that this list focuses on stuff that’s specific to Windows 7. For a complete list of Windows Vista hotkeys (which should be largely unchanged except where noted above), visit this page on or look in the Windows Help file.

If there’s something you think I should add, post a comment!

From → Uncategorized

  1. Wow the bar is more powerful than I had imagined! I expected middle button to close a grouped app, but it makes perfect sense for it to open a new instance 😀

  2. David permalink

    These are great, I was hoping to find something like this.

  3. Thanks Brandon. Those new keyboard shortcuts are really nice and useful. :)

    Vishal Gupta
    Microsoft MVP

  4. AltTabber permalink

    Whatever happened to good ol’ Alt+Tab? Does it still support that?

  5. Amir permalink

    wow, these are awesome. My favorite is making Windows jump between monitors… Is there any more shortcuts??

  6. Dan permalink

    Also, Win+D takes you to the desktop (instead of just peeking at it). Hitting it again returns your program windows to their previous state.

  7. Thanks Brandon . Really Useful Shortcuts.

    Amal Roy
    Computing Unleashed

  8. The MAZZTer permalink

    Nice superbar shortcuts, I figured out Shift + Click and Ctrl + Shift + Click (awesome for the Command Prompt) but the others should prove useful as well, thanks! 😀

  9. The MAZZTer permalink

    Woah, Win + and Win – are awesome.

    Though I feel Win + mousewheel might have worked a bit better (Ubuntu uses something similar for the same feature, plus it goes with Ctrl + Mousewheel zooming pages in the major web browsers).

  10. Martin permalink

    Hi, is there a shortcut for the Win key for those of us with a keyboard without such a key? Great list if I can get it to work on my keyboard……..

  11. Jenya permalink

    Please make it so that the Win+Home shortcut is more accessible. Righ now you have to stretch you fingers too much. I use it very often…

    also if you restore the windows back the windows aero animations are “broken” …

    thank you for your work! bonne chance!

  12. Jenya permalink

    oh..I’m sorry the animations are alright. My mistake :)

  13. mercuryLuz permalink

    Very useful information, thanks! By the way, I don’t like that Win+E opens “Libraries” instead of “My Computer”… Is there still some hotkey for “My Computer”?

  14. Sam permalink

    My all time favorite and most used shortcut key remains Win + E for opening explorer.

  15. Jordn permalink

    There’s also Win+B, which switches focus to the notification area, like how Win+T switches focus to the taskband.

  16. Win+Shift+Up = Maximizes the window vertically
    Win+Shift+Down = Restores the window size (after previous)

  17. Very nice useful tips. Thanks a lot for these.

  18. Hey what about an hotkey to shortcut for “new folder” ? :)

  19. Mikey permalink

    If you work on Explorer can you tell me why it doesnt release ram after closing windows?? This is extremely annoying if i go to open any other ram heavy application, I would like to know if you are applying any compile time optimisations as far as i know the MS compiler doesnt let you do this (compile optimisations = faster and less memory usage)

  20. @Mikey –

    Haha, of course the MS compiler performs optimizations =P You must be joking about that right?

    Explorer memory usage should be very well managed. Of course the Win7 Beta, being a beta, may yet have some bugs and leaks here and there. That is, after all, why it’s called a beta.

    The most common cause of increased Explorer memory usage is due to buggy shell extensions. A typical machine has dozens of shell extensions installed (context menu handlers, thumbnail and icon handlers, property handlers, and so on), so it can sometimes be difficult to track down the problematic ones. In fact, if this happens when you view media files, problematic video and audio codecs are well known to cause memory usage issues (among other problems). These get particularly bad if you use any of those awful “codec pack” downloads.

  21. Andomar permalink

    Middle clicking the Explorer icon doesn’t open a new explorer for me?

    Works for command prompts and IE tho.

  22. Andomar permalink

    Is there a way too see or disable explorer extensions?

    (I use regedit, but hoping to find a better way:)

  23. Mikey permalink

    Cheers for clearing that up, otherwise the beta is looking very polished as well as explorer, Great work. How often is garbage collection checking for free pointers in the ram?

  24. Mikey permalink

    Oh and your table (website) is broken in firefox, it spreads past the white center

  25. Hi2009 permalink

    snap left … snap right….beauty!! thanks you Brandon!

  26. Soum permalink

    Looks like there is no easy way to launch a new instance of an app just from the mouse (right click -> move to the app name in jump list -> click is a lot of work). How about double click?

    On the other hand, I dont see a way to invoke the per-app thumbnails (the ones that pop up by hovering the pointer over a taskbar button) from only the kbd. How about Win+Ctrl+t to invoke that, right/left to select the window and esc to close it?

  27. Win+Ctrl+n (n = number) to invoke the per-app thumbnails.

  28. penguin permalink

    I just don’t get it, Microsoft keeps trying to do improvements but they end up missing the mark. While these are cool, does nobody at Redmond ever run Linux?

    I know that can’t be the case, so I’m assuming that the people who make decisions on the direction don’t listen to their geeks. How about a configurable shortcut menu? Make these the defaults, but allow the user to change them if they want.

    Oh well, I guess as long as they have the masses convinced this is something cool and groundbreaking, they can keep providing a sub-par operating system. Enjoy.

    ps – people actually use IE by choice? really? huh…

  29. Win+space doesn’t work on my PC. All other win+ shortcuts work without problems. Anyone have any idea why it might be?

  30. Thank you for new tips. Very useful.

  31. Now this is a great one.. very useful..
    Thanks Brandon!!

    Deep S

  32. witkacy permalink

    I don’t understand how these are comments, but I’ll post anyway. New keyboard shortcuts are much welcomed & long overdue. Underutilisation of Win key was a shame (it’s usefullness should be extended to let developers use it as a new modifier key for applications also). But the most needed shortcuts, in my opinion, haven’t made it. These would be shortcuts to Win Explorer panes (navigator, details, search pane). Alp+P for preview is not enough. Currently switching panels on & off is a pain. As you have now an engineer of Lightroom on your team, you should learn the importance of panels shortcuts.
    Thank you and keep the good work (there is still a lot you can do to Win Explorer to make it easier to use and more robust).

  33. Diane permalink

    Good Job on the list! I tried to read all the posts but didn’t see Windows + Tab key to bring up the Aero desktop view. If I missed it, sorry —

  34. coredump permalink

    Nice job Microsoft! Hotkeys and keyboard support is great! But where is the hotkey “create directory”?
    No one else lacks this feature?

  35. Well done. Thanks for this. I always prefer keyboard shortcuts.

  36. Beat permalink

    I’m absolutely not one turn down shortcuts – I use the existing ones extensively. That said, it would be a huge benefit
    to disable or customize these new hotkeys. Unfortunately, these new ones have stepped on some global hotkeys I’ve used in another application for years, and there’s no workaround as far as I can tell. Bummer…

  37. Balaji permalink

    Good compile. I never knew some existed being using Win7 for a while :)

  38. You missed my favourite… Win+Shift+Up Arrow. Extends your window to the full height of the screen.

  39. Fadi Elyyan permalink

    ther are alote of missing shortcuts i will give it as soon as possible
    fadi elyyan

    microsoft .NET club champ
    Al- zaytoonah university
    amman – jordan

  40. Thanks, it might be worth adding ones like Win + R for the run menu etc… as some might not realise these still exist :)

  41. Hi Brandon, good list of shortcuts!

    In my Internet Explorer, Alt+P defaults to the “Page” menu item… and not the “Show/hide Preview Pane”

  42. for those of you sadly missing your Winkey + E Shortcut to bring up the explorer window — you will be enlightened and delighted to know that this functionality has not been replaced by The Libraries window but rather moved over to CTRL – ALT – E – which will now bring up your explorer window with my computer view, showing your harddrives.. slightly different key stroke.. same beloved functionality. Enjoy! took me a few to figure out!

  43. Shawn Frueh permalink

    Win+tab cycles through your windows in 3d

  44. lurker permalink

    Another key combination: Ctrl-Shift-F9 toggles Aero theme on and off.

    Is there a way to switch between windows in LRU order? Alt-Tab works in WinXP, but in Win7 it only remembers the last 3 to 5 windows, and past that they are in an order that appears random to me (not sorted by process name or title).

  45. I can win+right and win+left but I cannot win+shift+left [or right]. (my shift button DOES work)

    any thoughts?

  46. searching everywhere to find a shortcut for showing / hiding the preview pane in Windows Explorer… thanks mate

  47. Да,согласен с предыдущими высказываниями
    ) :-)

  48. Great list!! any of them working in previous versions???

  49. Хм,несогласен с предыдущими ораторами
    ^..^ Bye

  50. You can click and drag a taskbar item up to reveal the context menu (Shortcut, Pin, Close). This would be useful for laptop users with no right click button.

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