The most important keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10

Windows 10 pays more attention to mouse and keyboard controls. Many users invariably reach for their mouse. Not everyone knows that Windows has built-in efficient keyboard shortcuts. In Windows 10 there are even new combinations. In this article you will find 'secret' key combinations.

Tip 01: Split screen

The true keyboard wizard has known since Windows Vista that you can use the combination Windows Key+Left Arrow put the current application on the left half of your screen. Do you use the well-known key combination Alt+Tab to go to another program, you can use the Windows Key+Right Arrow then place the second application neatly to the right of the first window. Of Windows Key+Up Arrow maximize the application and with Windows Key+Down Arrow minimize the program or document.

Windows 10 refines these shortcuts to also be able to use large(er) screens or screens with a high resolution. The key combinations for pins on the left and right halves of the image still work exactly the same. Added to this are additional options for top left, top right, bottom left, and bottom right. Applications are placed in the top left with Windows Key+Left Arrow+Up Arrow (so you keep holding the Windows key). Of Windows Key+Down Arrow put the application back on the left half. Press the again Windows Key+Down Arrow then pin the application at the bottom left. This also works on the right side. In this way it is easy to compare documents or put apps side by side.

Tip 02: Task overview

The key combination Alt+Tab has been widely known for years. New in Windows 10 is the ability to use Windows key+Tab display all open applications simultaneously. This function is called Task View and it shows everything that is open in a reduced size side by side. These are not still images of what the application looked like when that key combination was pressed. Task View shows active views, like the Live Tiles Windows Phone had long ago. And on Macs, too, such a feature has been available for some time with Mission Control.

Tip 03: Virtual desktops

Windows 10 fulfills a long-cherished wish of multitasking Windows users; people who have many applications open at the same time and want to have their things neatly sorted. Alt+Tab is no longer sufficient for them and even the use of multiple screens does not help to bring order to the chaos.

What does work are virtual desktops or virtual desktops. In Windows 10, you can easily create a new virtual desktop with the combination Windows key+Ctrl+D. You can run separate applications on that new desktop. For example, for a certain project you can have open programs and documents that specifically belong to it. Or you can create a desktop on which you can play programs such as Patience or other entertainment apps. Switching between the virtual desktops is done with Windows key+Ctrl+Left/Right arrow. The well-known Alt+Tab function then works per virtual desktop. Switching between programs therefore takes place within its own virtual desktop. Note: the Task overview (see tip 2) also shows in thumbnail how many virtual desktops there are.

Virtual desktops are no substitute for the time-honoured Boss Key, which hides non-work from the gaze of your long-term supervisor. You close a virtual desktop with Windows key+Ctrl+F4.

Tip 04: Lock

Don't let miscreants touch your PC and so lock Windows when you're away for a while. This can be done very easily with the key combination Windows key+L. At that time, no one can see what you are doing when you go get coffee or tea, when you go to a meeting or temporarily leave your PC for some other reason.

Locking your PC is more important than ever with Windows 10. Microsoft has added many more cloud functions in the latest Windows version. Someone who has access to your PC also has access to, for example, your private photos if you have them stored in Microsoft's cloud service OneDrive. So it's no longer just about protection against that lame colleague or roommate who secretly installs the infamous screensaver Blue Screen of Death.

Incidentally, this key combination is also useful if you want to quickly switch accounts on a Windows PC. Allowing a colleague to log in to his/her own user account is done in no time.

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