Hello! The Windows key was possibly one of the best marketing maneuvers in the entire history of the company. Let’s do a little history with the launch of Microsoft’s Ergonomic Keyboard in 1994. In fact, this was the first time this key was first introduced. Additionally, the company demanded that every keyboard manufactured had to include this key if it wanted to belong to its hardware compatibility program. Therefore, companies that did so would receive the Windows compatibility seal.
The curious thing is that the Windows key was introduced a year before Windows 95. Let’s remember that it was the first operating system to include the function of opening the start menu after pressing the key. In addition, through the combination with other keys, it is possible to access special system functions. The Command key on macOS behaves similarly in this respect. Well, today we will take a look at the wonderful things the Windows key does.
Improved keyboard shortcuts in Windows 11
Following the arrival of Windows 11, the company has updated some of its key combinations. Mostly to adapt them to this new operating system. The following are the most prominent Windows 11 keyboard shortcuts that include the Windows key in the combination.
- Win key + W: opens the Windows widgets panel. We can find the widgets of the weather, local traffic, news, calendar, and others.
- Win key + A: Opens the quick settings panel. From there we can find the volume options, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, brightness, the focus assistant and more.
- Win key + N: Opens the notifications and calendar panel.
- Win key + Z: Opens the snapshot group panel to organize yourself with application windows and multitasking.
- Win key + C: Opens the Microsoft Teams chat app from the taskbar. Consequently, we can quickly select a Team’s conversation.
- Win key + Directional arrow (up): places an active window in the upper half of the screen.
- Win key + Directional arrow (down): places an active window in the lower half of the screen.
- Win key + K: opens the panel for connecting to other devices via casting.
- Win key + H: opens the dictation tool to transcribe speech to text.
General keyboard shortcuts including Windows key
In this list, you will find some well-known keyboard shortcuts that use the Windows key. The curious thing is that they have been around for years.
- Win Key + Q or Win + S: Opens the searcher inside the menu of beginning.
- Win Key + I: Opens the configuration panel of Windows 11.
- Win Key + X: It opens the contextual menu of the button of beginning.
- Win Key + E: Launches the explorer of files.
Shortcuts to organize with system windows.
Window management is one of the most outstanding features of Windows. In fact, this is precisely the reason for the name of this operating system. Moreover, using keyboard shortcuts, this task is made even easier. Below, we will see all the keyboard shortcuts for window management that make use of the Windows key.
- Win key + Left: Places the active window in the left half of the screen.
- Win key + Right: Places the active window in the right half of the screen.
- Win key + ,: Hides all windows until the Windows key is released.
- Win key + M: Minimize all your windows.
- Windows key + D: Minimize all the windows.
- Win key + Home: Minimizes all the windows except the active one.
- Win key + T: Navigates between the windows of the taskbar. Consequently, press enter to open them when they are selected.
- Win key + a number: Opens the window located in the position corresponding to the number in the taskbar.
- Win key + Shift + Left or Right: Moves the active window to another monitor, if available, located to the left or right of the main one.
- Win key + L: Locks your session and stays in the unlock screen.
- Win key + .: Opens the window of emojis to be able to include them in a text.
Keyboard shortcuts for virtual desktop management
Windows allows you to create virtual desktops. As a result, we will be able to separate our work in the operating system much more efficiently. In addition, through some keyboard shortcuts, it is also possible to access the management of this function quickly and comfortably. Below is a list of all the virtual desktop shortcuts that make use of the Windows key.
- Win key + Tab: Opens the view of your current virtual desktops.
- Win Key + Ctrl + D: Creates a new virtual desktop
- Win key + Ctrl + Left: Moves to the left virtual desktop.
- Win key + Ctrl + Right: Move to the virtual desktop on the right.
- Win key + Ctrl + F4: Closes the active virtual desktop.
Other useful keyboard shortcuts
These are the classic commands. However, there are still others to be seen.
- Win key + R: Open the Run dialog box.
- Win key + U: Access the Accessibility Center.
- Win key + Prt Sc: Take a screenshot that is automatically saved in the screenshots’ folder, inside the Images folder.
- Win key + Shift + S: Opens the screen capture menu to decide which area to capture.
- Win key + G: Opens the game bar.
- Win key + Alt + G: If enabled, starts screen recording in the background.
- Win key + Alt + R: Stop screen recording.
- Win key + P: With a second screen connected, navigate between display modes.
- Wind key + “+”: Zoom in with the Magnifier application.
- Win key + “-“: Zoom out with the Magnifier application.
- Win Key + CTRL + SHIFT + B: Useful if you have any problem with your monitor, what you see on screen or the graphics on your PC. In effect, you can press this key combination to have Windows restart your graphics driver. This can fix visual issues without having to restart your computer.
- Win key + (#): If you press the Windows key next to any number from 1 to 0 on your keyboard, you can open the application that is pinned to the taskbar in that position. For example, if you have Microsoft Edge pinned to the super bar first, you can press Windows Key + 1, and you will open the browser.