When Windows 8 came out, I got really into the new shortcuts and found out some had been there for a while that I never knew about. Windows 10 is out now and I’ve learned a few more that have been around just as long that I never knew. Since there are a lot of shortcuts, I’ve split this into two parts.

Part 1: Whats new?

Let’s focus on what is new to Windows 7 users. Some of these are completely new to Windows 10, and some have been around since 8, but they might not do exactly what they used to.

  • New to Windows 10
  • Changed in Windows 10
  • Added in Windows 8

New to Windows 10

With the new Multiple Desktops feature comes a few new shortcuts for you to learn. Using the task view you can perform all these actions with the mouse, but keyboard junkies will love these new keyboard commands. (See WinKey + Tab further down for more on the Task View.)

WinKey + Ctrl + d => Add new desktop

As well as using your mouse with Task View, you can quickly add a new desktop using the new WinKey + Ctrl + d shortcut. This creates a new desktop at the far right of all existing ones and takes you to it.

WinKey + Ctrl + F4 => Close a desktop

Finished with a desktop? WinKey + Ctrl + F4 will close it and take you, and any open apps to the desktop on your left. If you’re at the left-most screen, it will take everything to the new left-most screen.

WinKey + Ctrl + left/right => Switch desktops

Using Ctrl + WinKey + left arrow will navigate you to the Desktop to your left. Ctrl + WinKey + right arrow will navigate you to the Desktop to your right. These desktops don’t wrap, so when you are at the right-most or left-most, the shortcut for that direction does nothing.

A note about multiple monitors

If you use a multi-monitor setup, you will find that each desktop contains all of your monitors. This is best explained with an example. If you have two monitors and one desktop everything will be familiar. When you add a new desktop, both your screens transition to that desktop. As you switch between Desktop 1 and Desktop 2, both of your monitors will change back and forward. Basically what I am trying to say is that it is an all or nothing transition, you can’t have different numbers of Desktops per monitor, or transition separately per monitor.

Changed in Windows 10

Windows 10 is a bit of a sweet spot between 7 and 8. Because of that, some of the edgy features from 8 have gone, or transformed to be a bit more pared back and so the shortcuts have had to change a bit too.

Windows 8 introduced WinKey + s and WinKey + q. From memory, they used to do different things, possible app vs global search, but since 8.1 Update they both just bring up the Windows search menu. With Windows 10, these both do the same thing, and that is to open and focus windows search, or Cortana if that is available and enabled.

Also, note that WinKey + w, and WinKey + f, which used to bring up settings search and files search have been removed. Windows Search finds anything and everything in one place now.

WinKey + i => Settings

In Windows 8, WinKey + i brought up the settings sidebar. This would be the running Windows Store Application’s Settings page. If you were on the desktop it had a Desktop Settings page instead. In Windows 10 this brings up the Windows Settings App. This ‘app’ is the new way to interact with most of the functionality that used to belong to the Control Panel. (This is what evolved out of Windows 8’s PC Settings App.)

In Windows 8, there was the concept of the Charms bar on the right hand side. Now in Windows 10, since that is no longer a thing, the shortcut WinKey + c has been reused to launch microphone/Cortana speech to text search instead.

WinKey + Tab => Task View

I believe this came in with Vista as part of the Aero visual theming for windows. Using WinKey + Tab rather than Alt + Tab gave you a 3d visualisation carousel of sorts, that cycled through live views of the running windows. Windows 8 re-used this for app switching, opening a bar at the right-hand side with your Windows Store apps.

Now with Windows 10, it launches Task View. Task View can also be launched from the button located on your taskbar that looks like a box with wings. It is here that you get access to the Multiple Desktop feature, to add a new desktop or navigate between, and transfer windows between them using the mouse.

WinKey + Arrows => Snap Windows

Another one that has been around a while is the window snapping feature. Not sure if this was a Vista or a 7 thing, but it too has been enhanced with Windows 10. The old functionality snaps your focused application. WinKey + up would make your app full screen. From there you can use WinKey + down to restore the window as a window. One more WinKey + down would minimise the windows. WinKey + left would snap the app to take the entire left side of the screen, and WinKey + right would snap the app to take the entire right side of the screen.

In Windows 10 we have two new features. When you WinKey + left to snap your window, you get an app picker on the right-hand side, to quickly snap another app into the rest of the space. Esc cancels that new selection menu. Again WinKey + right is the opposite.

The other new feature is that you can do all 4 quarters of your screen. WinKey + up from a left or right snapped app will shrink it to half the size again into the respective corner. Playing around with the arrow keys gets your app moving around all over the place, and as you start filling up the screen, if you have enough other apps running you will get the space fill window picker show up in the gaps you create.

Added in Windows 8

Windows 8 users will be familiar with these, but for Windows 7 users coming to 10, here is something else that is new.

WinKey + h => Share

Sharing was a feature that Windows 8 introduced for Windows Store Apps. Apps could provide code to handle producing shareable text, images and other structured data, or to handle consuming different types of data. The idea here is that using these loose contracts different apps could share in a very generic way. WinKey + h launches the Share page on the right-hand side. As well as the shares from the app, there is a built in “Share a Screenshot of” default, which is always there no matter what application you are running.

WinKey + k => Connect devices

Windows 8 introduced Connect as a quick way to connect to devices. This included Play to, Print, and Project. Now in windows 10, it is where we scan to connect to wireless displays and audio devices. Using WinKey + k launches this page.

WinKey + x => Quick actions

The quick actions shortcut WinKey + x seems to be new since Windows 8 (although on HP machines this shortcut seems to launch the Windows Mobility Center). It launches the menu you get when you right-click on the start button. In Windows 8 and 10 we have actions like Shutdown/restart, launch a command-line or PowerShell window, get to System, Device Manager, Event Viewer and others. This is a great quick way to get to advanced system screens quickly and easily.

WinKey + Print Screen

The Print Screen key (sometimes labelled PrtScn or prt sc) has always had modifiers when you take screenshots with it. In Windows 8 we were introduced WinKey + Print Screen to screenshot the whole desktop and same the image straight to your picture folder. Phones and tablets usually also have this feature using a combination of hardware buttons pressed at the same time (often Volume Up + Power).


There you have it. Multiple Desktops, App Snapping, Share, Connect and Quick actions. That is what is new, and I hope you find one or two that you will start using tomorrow, even if you still on Windows 8. If you are still on 7 or haven’t really got stuck into using shortcuts on windows, there are plenty more out there, and I will run through the in Part 2: Old Classics.