A short guide to the most useful Windows shortcut keys


Don’t be ashamed if you don’t know all the keyboard shortcuts for your laptop! I know I didn’t, until a very smart friend of mine introduced me to the world of Windows shortcut keys. Here are my favorite time-saving shortcuts, so that you can spend less time typing and more time closing out tabs:

Win+R: Open the run box

Win+R: Open the run box

This is one of the most useful shortcuts in Windows, but it’s also one of the most confusing. Here we’ll explain what each version of this shortcut does and when it’s needed.

The “open a new run window” option simply opens a new instance of the Run dialog box that can be used to launch applications or perform tasks using commands. If you want to open a new command prompt window, just type cmd into that blank space at the top right corner and press enter! You might also want to consider using this over Ctrl+Shift+Esc for opening Task Manager since it will also allow access to other internal utilities such as Event Viewer and Device Manager. To open an elevated instance of Command Prompt or PowerShell (as Administrator), click File then More Options from within any folder window or program interface (Start Menu doesn’t count) before selecting Open PowerShell As Adminstrator or Open Command Prompt As Adminstrator respectively from your list of programs installed locally on your computer system – assuming those options exist within their respective directories; otherwise try searching Google for them instead because there are tons of other ways too…

Win+E: Open a file explorer window.

  • Win+E: Open a file explorer window.
  • Ctrl+Win+E: Open a new file explorer window.
  • Win creates a shortcut to your desktop, so you can use this shortcut key to open up your most frequently used program or document on the desktop. For example, if you want to open up Microsoft Word and start typing some text, then press Win and it will open up Microsoft Word for you right away!

Ctrl+Shift+Esc: Start Task Manager.

Ctrl+Shift+Esc: This will open the Task Manager. The Task Manager shows you all the programs that are currently running, and allows you to end the program you don’t want running.

Alt+Tab: Switch between open programs.

Alt+Tab: Switch between open programs.

Hold down Alt and press Tab to cycle through open programs. Pressing Shift+Tab cycles you in reverse order, so if you have an open game of Minesweeper going on, this is a great way to get back to it when you need to. The same command works if you’re using Windows 10; all you’ve got to do is hold down Windows key and then press Tab instead of holding down Alt and pressing Tab.

If your mouse has multiple buttons (and it should), then those buttons can be used in place of the keyboard shortcut when cycling through programs that are currently running—but only if they’re not assigned any other function within Windows itself (such as controlling volume). If this sounds confusing, don’t worry about it: just keep using Alt+Tab as much as possible since pressing keys on your keyboard will take up less time than clicking with a mouse every time something opens up or closes!

Ctrl+Alt+Del: Lock your computer or switch users, log off, change password, start Task Manager, or turn off your computer.


  • Lock your computer or switch users: The first time you press Ctrl+Alt+Del, you’ll see a list of options including Lock your computer and Switch users.
  • Log off: Logs you off from the current session and takes you back to the logon screen.
  • Change password: Takes you directly to the Password page of Control Panel. If this doesn’t work, try clicking Change user name at the bottom of this window—it may let you change your password there instead (or be better at handling special characters). You can also click Change password next to any account that has a yellow triangle with an exclamation point inside it in Windows XP or later versions; this opens up another dialog box where picking “Change my own password” will take care of things for you.
  • Start Task Manager: Opens up Task Manager so that all running processes can be seen and stopped (if necessary).

Ctrl+X/C/A/V Cut/copy/paste

To cut, copy and paste:

  • Ctrl+X = cuts (cuts the selected cell)
  • Ctrl+C = copies (copies the selected cell)
  • Ctrl+V = pastes (pastes what was copied at the last point where you copied something else)

To undo or redo your last action:

  • Ctrl+Z = Undo last action. This can be done multiple times in a row to go back further in time.
  • Ctrl+Y = Redo last undone action. This can only be used once for each time you use undo, so if you’ve undone 5 things with Ctrl-Z then redoing them will take 5 clicks of Y

Ctrl+Z Undo an action

The shortcut key for undo an action is Ctrl+Z. It is a keyboard shortcut for the Undo command in most Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows NT-based operating systems.

It is also the command to undo a mistake in many word processors and other software programs.

The shortcut key works by recording all changes made to your document, until you press Ctrl+Z or a similar command that cancels those changes (such as Ctrl+Y).

Ctrl+Y Redo an action you’ve undone.

Ctrl+Y is a keyboard shortcut for the Undo command in Microsoft Windows. The command works like this: If you have changed something and want to undo that change, press Ctrl+Y. If it’s already been undone, pressing Ctrl+Y again will redo it.

This keyboard shortcut can be used in many programs where an Undo or Redo button or menu item exists (e.g., Notepad).

Ctrl + A Select all content on the current page

Ctrl + A Select all content on the current page. This is a useful shortcut to select all the text in a document so you can copy, move or paste it elsewhere. Alternatively, if you want to cut out any content from a page that you don’t need anymore then this will let you do so quickly and easily. If it turns out that there is some unnecessary content left behind once your editing work is complete then pressing Ctrl + Z will undo everything which was done since last saving your work – useful if anything has gone wrong by accident!

Shift + Arrow Keys Select multiple items in the direction specified by the arrow keys.

  • Shift + Arrow Keys Select multiple items in the direction specified by the arrow keys.
  • Ctrl + Arrow Keys Select a range of cells, one to eight cells wide in the direction specified by the arrow keys.

These shortcuts can be used to select minesweeper tiles that are not next to each other.

Win + D Minimize all open windows and display the desktop (also press again to bring back your open windows).

Win + D Minimize all open windows and display the desktop.

If you have a lot of windows open and want to see what’s on your desktop, just press Win + D to minimize all open windows. This shortcut is also useful if you have just minimized the wrong window by accident. If this happens, simply press Win + D again to bring back your previously minimized windows (and maybe learn from it).

Win + L Lock screen

This shortcut locks your computer with a screen saver (if one is set) and requires a password or PIN number to unlock it next time you log in.

Win + L Lock your PC (if its password protected) to show the lock screen. You can also press Ctrl + Alt + Del and click Lock this PC

To lock your PC, press the Windows button on your keyboard (or screen). The Windows button is located beneath the spacebar on most laptops and all-in-ones. If you don’t have a Windows button on your keyboard, move your mouse over to the bottom left corner of the screen to access it.

Once you’ve pressed Win + L, you’ll be prompted with a lock screen that shows information about what’s currently running on your computer or tablet. You can also press Ctrl + Alt + Del and click Lock this PC.

Takeaway:: Don’t know why you didn’t just look in the help menu?

  • There are many shortcuts available in Windows.
  • You can use the help menu to find out what those shortcuts are.
  • You can use the help menu to find out what those shortcuts are in any program you are using.


With these shortcuts you’ll be able to play Minesweeper like a pro, even in the dark. The only way to become an expert player is by practicing regularly and learning from your mistakes. Now go forth and win some games!

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