About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

August 28, 2012

Windows Tips & Tricks, a great site for coding and statistical information, does a monthly poll on the main operating systems used today and the percentages of users taking advantage of each system.  For July, 2012 it rolls out like this:  Windows 7-53.8%, Vista-3.4%, Microsoft NT-1.2%, Windows XP-26.1%, Linux-4.9% and Mac-8.2%.

W3Schools Stats

It is obvious that Microsoft is currently the ruler of the OS kingdom but of course this could always change.  However, I doubt it will anytime in the near future.  It is also no surprise that the majority of the questions I get involve Windows 7.

I receive a multitude of questions regarding, "How do I…?"  You can fill in the blank.  So today we will take a look at some useful and yet many times overlooked Windows 7 tips.

Here are a few useful keys which help you navigate around the main Windows 7 desktop. First, find the Windows Key (which I will abbreviate "W" in the following commands.)  It is the key located on the lower left corner of your keyboard between the CTRL (Control) and ALT (Alternate) keys.  The majority of the time it will have the Microsoft Windows logo on it.

Now open any program on your computer. Let’s use Internet Explorer for an example. Now press ‘W + Left Arrow‘ key (all four arrow keys are usually located in the central bottom area of your keyboard.)  What happened?  It is now somewhere to the right of where it was previously.  Try it again until it makes its final resting place on the right half of your screen.  Now press ‘W + Up Arrow’.    Yes, it is now maximized.  Try all of the arrow keys. Only one makes me mad.  After you play with them a minute see if you agree with me.  Yes, the one that bugs me is the W + Down Arrow.  Depending on where the window is located on the screen this causes it to minimize.  That is great in itself; however, there is no key board maneuvering that will bring it back up. You will have to use your mouse.

My Computer when putting this article online

Now try ‘W + M.’ Yes, you have now minimized all of your open windows.  Good job!  To bring them back you can use your mouse.  I have one question about all of the slick minimization capabilities:  Why not have a key to bring an app back to its original or maximized size?  Oh well, they didn’t ask me in the first place.

Next, if you are one of the many, many windows users who have several programs opened at one time and want to "clean up" your window try ‘W + Home’ key.  This key combo minimizes and then restores all of your open windows except for the currently active one.  Slick!  To bring them back try it again…poof!  There they are, back where they started.  You must be able to see more than one program at the same time on your monitor to see this work.

Now back to my headache of having all of your programs minimized.  Try this one, ‘W + Tab‘ key, tap the tab key without releasing the Windows key.  This will surprise you if you have not used it before.  You will get a rotating "arc" of all currently open programs on your computer, along with the empty desktop.  Let go of the keys when the one you want to use is at the front of the arc.  Now add one more finger to the trick, try ‘W + Shift + Tab’ and tap the Tab key.  Let me know what you get.  I will see you back here next week.

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