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Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows XP

Daniel Petri


How can I quickly open Windows Explorer in Windows XP? What keyboard shortcuts do you know?

In Windows XP, as in other Windows Operating Systems, you can use shortcut keys as an alternative to the mouse. You can open, close, and navigate the Start menu, desktop, menus, dialog boxes, and Web pages using keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts may also make it easier and sometimes a lot faster for you to interact with your computer.

See the following tables for some of the most useful shortcuts:

General keyboard shortcuts

Press To
CTRL+C Copy.
CTRL+V Paste.
CTRL+Z Undo.
DELETE Delete.
SHIFT+DELETE Delete selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin.
CTRL while dragging an item Copy selected item.
CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item Create shortcut to selected item.
F2 Rename selected item.
CTRL+RIGHT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word.
CTRL+LEFT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word.
CTRL+DOWN ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph.
CTRL+UP ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph.
CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys Highlight a block of text.
SHIFT with any of the arrow keys Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document.
CTRL+A Select all.
F3 Search for a file or folder.
ALT+ENTER View properties for the selected item.
ALT+F4 Close the active item, or quit the active program.
ALT+Enter Displays the properties of the selected object.
ALT+SPACEBAR Opens the shortcut menu for the active window.
CTRL+F4 Close the active document in programs that allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously.
ALT+TAB Switch between open items.
ALT+ESC Cycle through items in the order they were opened.
F6 Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop.
F4 Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
SHIFT+F10 Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
ALT+SPACEBAR Display the System menu for the active window.
CTRL+ESC Display the Start menu.
ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name Display the corresponding menu.
Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu Carry out the corresponding command.
F10 Activate the menu bar in the active program.
RIGHT ARROW Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu.
LEFT ARROW Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.
F5 Refresh the active window.
BACKSPACE View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
ESC Cancel the current task.
SHIFT when you insert a CD into the CD-ROM drive Prevent the CD from automatically playing.

Natural keyboard shortcuts

You can use the following keyboard shortcuts with a Microsoft Natural Keyboard or any other compatible keyboard that includes the Windows logo key ÿ and the Application key .

Press To
ÿ Display or hide the Start menu.
ÿ +BREAK Display the System Properties dialog box.
ÿ +D Show the desktop.
ÿ +M Minimize all windows.
ÿ +Shift+M Restores minimized windows.
ÿ +E Open Windows Explorer.
ÿ +F Search for a file or folder.
CTRL + ÿ + F Search for computers.
ÿ +F1 Display Windows Help.
ÿ +L Lock your computer if you are connected to a network domain, or switch users if you are not connected to a network domain.
ÿ +R Open the Run dialog box.
Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
ÿ +Q VERY FAST user switching!
ÿ +U Open Utility Manager.


  • You must associate a password with your user account to secure it from unauthorized access. If you do not have a password associated with your user account, pressing the ÿ +L will not prevent other users from accessing your account information.
  • Some keyboard shortcuts may not work if StickyKeys is turned on in Accessibility Options.
  • If you are connected to Windows through Microsoft Terminal Services Client, some shortcuts have changed.

Other shortcuts – Dialog Box Keyboard Commands

Press To
TAB Move to the next control in the dialog box
SHIFT+TAB Move to the previous control in the dialog box
CTRL+TAB Move forward through tabs.
CTRL+SHIFT+TAB Move backward through tabs.
SPACEBAR If the current control is a button, this clicks the button. If the current control is a check box, this toggles the check box. If the current control is an option, this selects the option.
ENTER Equivalent to clicking the selected button (the button with the outline)
ESC Equivalent to clicking the Cancel button
ALT+ underlined letter in dialog box item Move to the corresponding item
Arrow keys Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons.
F1 Display Help.
F4 Display the items in the active list.

Other shortcuts – Useful Programs

Command Program
compmgmt.msc Computer management
devmgmt.msc Device manager
diskmgmt.msc Disk management
dfrg.msc Disk defrag
eventvwr.msc Event viewer
eventvwr.exe\\computername View the Event Log at a remote computer
fsmgmt.msc Shared folders
gpedit.msc Group policies
lusrmgr.msc Local users and groups
perfmon.msc Performance monitor
rsop.msc Resultant set of policies
secpol.msc Local security settings
services.msc Various Services
msconfig System Configuration Utility
regedit Registry Editor

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