20 essential Windows keyboard shortcuts to save you a click


Know your way around one of these?
This shortcut puts Cortana in listening mode, but before you give it a whirl, you must activate it: Open Cortana from the taskbar search box, click the cog icon, and turn on the keyboard shortcut. Once you’ve enabled the shortcut, hit the Windows key and C whenever you want to talk to the digital assistant. You can do this instead of, or in addition to, saying, “Hey Cortana.”
Win+Ctrl+D: Add a new virtual desktop
Virtual desktops create secondary screens where you can stash some of your open applications and windows, which gives you extra workspace. This shortcut lets you create a virtual desktop. Then, to switch from one desktop to another, click the Task View button to the right of the taskbar search box. Or stick with shortcuts: Win+Ctrl+arrow will switch between desktops, and Win+Ctrl+F4 will close whichever one you’re currently viewing (and shift your open windows and apps to the next available virtual desktop).
Win+X: Open the hidden menu
Windows has a hidden Start menu, called the Quick Link menu, with access to all the key areas of the system. From here, you can jump straight to Device Manager to review and configure the hardware, such as printers or keyboards, currently attached to the system. Or you can quickly bring up the PowerShell command prompt window to access advanced Windows commands. To open the Quick Link menu, right-click on the Start menu—or save a few moments with the Win+X shortcut.

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