Windows 8.1 shortcut keys

While using Windows 8.1’s new interface in a traditional way might require some time to accommodate, the tasks of navigating through the operating system and its new apps can be simplified by using the keyboard shortcuts that Microsoft has made available. The shortcuts shared in this article were chosen by us while thinking what apps or settings you might access or use on a regular basis. They are simple enough to be easily grasped by anyone and they will help you be more productive in your daily tasks.

Shortcuts for the Start Screen and the Desktop

Windows Key = The action for this key depends on where you are when you press it. If you are on the Desktop when you press it, it takes you to the Start screen. If you press it again, it takes you back to the Desktop. But, if you press it while in a Windows 8.1 app, it takes you to the Start screen. Press it again and it takes you back to the app.
Ctrl + Tab = When using it on the Start screen, it switches between the Start screen and theApps view. On the Desktop it does nothing. However, some web browsers will have the same shortcut for switching between tabs (e.g. Firefox) or for creating new tabs (e.g. Internet Explorer 11).
Windows Key + type an app name = When using it on the Desktop, it takes you to the Startscreen and searches for installed apps using the name you typed in. When you are on theStart screen, pressing the Windows Key takes you to the Desktop. There you should only type the name of the app you want to use.
Escape – When using it on the Start screen, it closes the Start screen and switches to Desktop. This shortcut does nothing when you are on the Desktop.
Windows Key + E = Launches File Explorer both from the Desktop and the Start screen.
Windows Key + R = Launches the Run dialog that you can use to run programs or commands.
Windows Key + X = Launches a hidden menu with many useful shortcuts. This menu is also named the WinX menu or the power user’s Start Menu.
Windows Key + L = Locks your Windows 8.1 PC or device and takes you to the Lock screen.
Windows Key + P = Opens the Project sidebar for extending your image to a second screen. If you have multiple screens or if you are using a video projector, this sidebar allows you to choose how the image should be displayed. You can keep the image on one screen, duplicate it, extend it to another screen or only display things on a secondary screen.
Windows Key + F1 = Launches the Windows Help and Support documentation provided by Microsoft.

Shortcuts for the Windows 8.1 Charm Bar & Modern Apps

Windows Key + C – Displays the Charms bar. You can navigate through the charms with the arrow keys on your keyboard.
Windows Key + Q = Launches the General Search. You can use this to search for files and settings on your PC, the Internet, and OneDrive, as well as through installed apps and theWindows Store.
Windows Key + F = Launches the Files Search. You can use this to search for files on your PC and OneDrive.
Windows Key + W = Launches the Windows Settings Search. You can use this to search for specific operating system settings by typing in certain keywords.
Windows Key + I = Displays the Settings charm. When using it on the Desktop, you can use this charm to access the Control PanelPersonalization options, the System information section and the Windows Help and Support module. You also have access to the wi-fi settings, volume and brightness control, notifications, power buttons and keyboard settings. When using it from the Start screen, you can use this charm to access the Start screen personalization options, tiles settings and the online help version for the Start screen. You can also use it when working with Windows 8.1 apps to access their settings.
Windows Key + H = Launches the Share charm. When using it on the Desktop, you can use this charm to share a desktop screenshot through the Mail app or other social network app that you have installed. When using it on the Start screen, you can use it to share a screenshot of the Start screen through the same channels. You can also use it to share data from Windows 8.1 apps that you are running.
Windows Key + K = Displays the Devices charm. Depending on the peripherals you have attached to your computer or Windows 8.1 device, you will have the option to play multimedia files, print information from modern apps or show the information on your screen on another display or video projector. This charm can only be used in modern Windows 8.1 apps.
Windows Key + Z = When using it on the Start screen, it displays the Start screen customization button at the bottom of the screen. When using it in modern apps, it displays different contextual options for each app.

Shortcuts for Switching Between Apps and Windows

Alt + Tab = Repeatedly pressing the Tab key while holding Alt pressed cycles through open windows and apps. Release the Tab key on the window or app that you want to open.
Windows Key + Tab = Repeatedly pressing the Tab key while holding the Windows Keypressed cycles through open modern apps while displaying them in a vertical sidebar at the left side of the screen. Release the Tab key on the app that you want to open.
Ctrl + Alt + Tab = When pressed together, this combination of keys displays the list of open windows and apps and keeps the list on screen even after you release the keys. You can then navigate through open windows and apps using the arrow keys.
Ctrl + Windows Key + Tab = When pressed together, this combination of keys displays the sidebar of open apps and keeps the sidebar on screen even after you release the keys. You can then navigate through open apps using the up/down arrow keys.

Shortcuts for Managing Desktop Windows

Windows Key + Arrow Up = When using it on the Desktop, it maximizes the current window across the screen. If the window is already maximized it has no effect. Also, it doesn’t work on the Start screen.
Windows Key + Arrow Down = When using it on the Desktop in a maximized window, it restores the current window’s size. Pressing it again while the window is restored causes the window to be minimized to the taskbar. If the window is already minimized it has no effect.
Windows Key + Shift Key + Arrow Up = When using it on the Desktop, it maximizes the current window vertically.
Windows Key + Shift Key + Arrow Left/Right = Moves the current window to the left or the right monitor. This works only when using multiple monitors.
Windows Key + Arrow Left/Right = When using it on the Desktop, it moves the current window to the left or right half of the screen. Pressing Windows Key + Arrow Left while the window is at the right of the screen, for example, restores the window. Pressing the combination again moves the window to the left half of the screen and vice versa. This can be used across multiple monitors.
Alt + Space = When using it on the Desktop, it launches the title bar menu of the current window. You can also access this menu by right clicking the title bar of the current window. The menu generally includes options to resize the window and other application specific options. Using this while on the Start screen has no effect.
F11 = When using it in desktop applications that are part of Windows 8.1, like File Explorer orInternet Explorer, it enables or disables the full screen view for the current window. Some third-party applications might support while many do not.

Shortcuts for the Windows 8.1 Taskbar

Windows Key + T = When using it on the Desktop, it highlights the first application in the taskbar. You can use the arrow keys to cycle through the taskbar applications. The applications that are running also display a thumbnail above their icon when you select them.
Windows Key + B = This works both on the Desktop and the Start screen. If the Notification Area Icons are set to “Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar”, this keyboard shortcut highlights the first application in the system tray. You can use the arrow keys to cycle through all the applications found in the system tray. If the “Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar” is disabled, this keyboard shortcut highlights the “Show hidden icons” arrow. You can then press Enter to display the hidden icons or use the arrow keys to cycle through the applications found in the system tray.
Shift + click on a taskbar application = Launches a new instance of the selected application. This works only with applications which support running in multiple instances, like Microsoft Office or Internet browsers.
Ctrl + Shift + click on a taskbar application = Launches a new instance of the selected application with administrator rights. This works only with applications which support running in multiple instances, like Microsoft Office or Internet browsers.
Shift + right click on a taskbar application = Launches the contextual menu for that application instead of the list with recent items or pinned tasks or folders.
Windows Key + number keys 1 through 9 = Launches the taskbar application at the specified position. 


We tried to share a selection with the most useful keyboard shortcuts available in Windows 8.1. We didn’t give you everything, only those that you are more likely to consider useful when using this operating system, its apps and features.

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What new features are in Windows 8.1?

What new features are in Windows 8.1? (edited from an article on

This is a comprehensive breakdown of the features that have been added or changed in the Windows 8.1 release. Although heavily edited, the main body comes from an article published on technology news & reviews site The full article can be read here.

Start Button

The Windows 8.1 update brings back the Start button to the lower-left hand corner and is always visible but it doesn’t work in the way the Start button does in Windows 7 and earlier. You no longer need to hover with your mouse to make it appear. Watch this:

Boot to Desktop

Since the tiled start UI in Windows 8.1 may not be useful if you’re on a desktop or laptop, Microsoft has included the ability to start your computer from boot at the traditional Windows desktop. In the new Taskbar and Navigation properties menu screen, which is accessible by right-clicking the taskbar at the bottom of the desktop screen, there is an option under the Navigation tab that you can tick. Click on the box next to “Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in”, close and restart. You will now automatically boot to desktop.
If you want to change it back, you’ll have to un-tick the same option.

Windows 8 Start Screen

The Start screen in Windows 8.1 has been enhanced and now offers greater customisation. The Windows 8.1 Start screen now features a variety of tile sizes including a new large and new small tile, and Microsoft has made it easier to name groups and rearrange tiles too.
You can now select multiple apps all at once, resize them, uninstall them, or rearrange them – you now press and hold (or right click) to move things around.
Furthermore, in an attempt to de-clutter the Start screen, new apps are installed in the apps view rather than automatically adding them to the start screen.


Windows 8 supports two tile sizes at the moment, but in Windows 8.1 you get the ability to change these. The new Start screen in Windows 8.1 features a variety of tile sizes including a new large and new small tile similar to Windows Phone.

Windows Store in Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 gets an improved Windows Store according to Microsoft. The new Store is designed to show more info than before in Windows 8 with detailed lists of top free apps, new releases, and picks for you on the homepage.
App updates install automatically in the background as well as they come through the Store. And search is available in the upper right hand corner for finding the apps you want.

PC Settings charm

The updated PC Settings in Windows 8.1 gives you access to all your settings on your device without having to go to the Control Panel on the desktop. You can do things like change your display resolution, set power options, see the make and model of my PC, change the product key, let me do Windows Update, and even join a domain – all from PC Settings.

Background and Lock Screen

Microsoft wants 8.1 to offer more personalisation through enhanced options for customisation. You can now change the Start Screen background colour with a new colour slider tool, for instance, or you can change it to a photo. The lock screen will also display a slideshow of your photos.

Match your desktop wallpaper in your Start home

Also offering a bit more customisation within Windows 8.1, Microsoft gives the ability to match the desktop wallpaper with the one in Start home. Now though you can choose the same background for both, including custom wallpapers. This way there’s a more thematic narrative running through the design, one of your own choosing. In the Charms menu, under settings and then personalise, you will be able to see your current desktop background as one of the options.


When swiping from right to left on the screen in Windows 8.1 you will still get the Search charm, but selecting it and entering a search term serves some different results. In Windows 8.1, the Search charm will provide global search results powered by Bing in a rich, simple-to-read, aggregated view of many content sources (the web, apps, files, SkyDrive, actions you can take) to provide the best “answer” for your query. If you aren’t online you will still get the local results by scrolling to the left.

50/50 split screen apps

Windows 8.1 will allow you to run two apps side by side rather than one thin and one large as is the case with Windows 8.
“You can resize apps to any size you want, share the screen between two apps, or have up to three apps on each screen if you have a multiple displays connected, you can have different Windows Store apps running on all the displays at the same time and the Start Screen can stay open on one monitor,” says Microsoft.
On higher-resolution devices you can run three or four app windows side by side for those who really want to embrace multitasking on the same screen at the same time.

Internet Explorer 11

IE11 offers even better touch performance, faster page load times and several other new – you can now adjust the appearance of modern IE11 to always show the address bar and you can have as many open tabs as you like.

SkyDrive improvements

The new SkyDrive app gives you access to your files that are on your device or in the cloud, and files are accessible even when offline. There are also features like auto picture uploads and being able to set the SkyDrive as the default location for your files.
You will also now be able manage your SkyDrive from the PC Settings as well and see how much available storage you have, and of course buy more if needed.

New Microsoft apps

Expect new apps from Microsoft. So far details on the web suggest a new Sound Recorder app, a Calculator app (exciting), and some new Alarm features.
There is also talk of something called Movie Moments and features which will let you turn on a Do Not Disturb feature so you don’t get bothered by notifications when you are trying to focus on that all important presentation.

Kiosk mode

The idea here is that users are able to lock down a device to a single application so the computer Windows 8.1 is running on cannot be used in store or in an office where you don’t want them messing around surfing the internet.

Picture frame and camera access on Lock Screen

You can turn your Windows 8.1 tablet into a picture frame when you aren’t using it, and likewise also set whether you want access to the camera when the screen is locked. It’s a feature already used in Windows Phone 8 so it makes sense to see it here too, especially for tablets.

Greater touch support

Microsoft has already openly confirmed that touch gets even more focus in Windows 8.1. In a Microsoft Research video demoing Fresh Paint for Windows Blue at TechFest 2013 Microsoft said it was looking to “extend touch in even more dramatic fashion”.

Camera app

Alongside the new Paint app, the Camera app has also been updated. It will notably capture a photo before and after you hit the shutter button, ensuring you won’t miss a good shot.

Miracast support

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 8.1 gets Miracast support built in.
“Present your work wirelessly without any dongles needed; simply project your content to a Miracast-enabled device by pairing the device through Bluetooth or NFC. Miracast will then use the available Wi-Fi connection to let you lean back and project wire-free,” the company has announced.

NFC tap-to-pair printing

Users can now tap their Windows 8.1 device against an enterprise NFC-enabled printer and you’re all set to print. You don’t need to buy new printers to take advantage of this; you can simply put an NFC tag on your existing printers to enable this functionality.

Wi-Fi Direct printing

Windows 8.1 will allow you to connect to Wi-Fi Direct printers without adding additional drivers or software on your Windows 8.1 device, forming a peer-to-peer network between your device and the printer.

Broadband tethering

This will let you turn your Windows 8.1 mobile broadband-enabled PC or tablet into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing other devices to connect and access the internet – handy if you’ve got a SIM card in it.

Mouse support

Microsoft has made it easier to use Windows without a touchscreen. When you hover a mouse in the corners, for instance, you can customise the function so it brings you to the all apps page or back to a previous app.


You won’t have to download Skype anymore. Anyone who hasn’t tried Skype will get it when they upgrade their operating system to Windows 8.1 or purchase a Windows 8.1 PC. Once you have Windows 8.1, just log on to access Skype on the Start Screen. It’ll be available as the default communications experience in Windows 8.1, replacing Microsoft’s Windows 8 Messaging app.

Reading List brings Read It Later

Windows 8.1 has added a Reading List app that runs with Internet Explorer. It allows you to save a virtual reading list of articles from around the web.

Where can I get Windows 8.1?

The Windows 8.1 update is a free update to Windows 8 users through the Windows Store or now as a physical boxed release for people who do not already have Windows 8.

What about if I have Windows 7?

Anyone running Windows 7 or below will need to purchase the base software. If you want to make the jump to Windows 8.1 Pro from just plain Windows 8.1, you will need to buy it. Computers and other devices
manufactured from 18th October will come pre-installed with Windows 8.1.

The Reality

We’ve update a few windows 8, it takes a lot of time, the download is large but the actual time to install took a lot more than we expected.  If you’re going to install it allow a couple of hours for it complete

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