Enter dozens of hidden keyboard shortcuts with this Windows 11 key

The Windows key is your gateway to your computer's Start menu, but it's much more than that. From quickly opening settings to managing virtual desktops, your Windows key hides some of your PC's most convenient shortcuts. In fact, there are 45 Windows shortcut keys that I think all PC users should know. Note that I'm focusing on Windows 11 here, which means that a small number of these shortcuts may not work on older versions of Windows. If you need more than just Windows shortcuts, we've also got a list of the best Windows 11 keyboard shortcuts. If you're using a Mac, check out these hidden Mac keyboard shortcuts.

45 Windows shortcut keys you should know

  1. Windows-E : Open File Explorer.

  2. Windows-I : Open Windows Settings.

  3. Windows-A : Opens quick settings, allowing you to toggle wifi, Bluetooth, volume, and other options.

  4. Windows-Ctrl-Enter : Open Narrator.

  5. Windows-+ : Launch Magnifier and magnify the display. Windows-- (minus sign) will zoom out.

  6. Windows-. or Windows-; : Opens the emoji picker.

  7. Windows-U : Open accessibility settings.

  8. Windows-Ctrl-C : Toggle color filter. To enable this feature, go to Settings > Accessibility and enable Color Filters and the keyboard shortcuts for Color Filters . Choose a filter and you're done. I've been using it to switch to grayscale mode to help me reduce screen time at night.

  9. Windows-Alt-B : Toggle HDR (only works if you're running Xbox Game Bar version 5.721.7292.0 or later).

  10. Windows-K : Enables the Cast option in the Quick Settings pane. This is helpful if you want to quickly cast something to your TV.

  11. Windows-X : Launches the Quick Links menu where you can access the most common troubleshooting options. This includes Task Manager, Settings, Run, Shutdown, and other functions.

  12. Windows-L : Lock your computer immediately.

  13. Windows-N : Show calendar and notifications.

  14. Windows-R : Turn on Run.

  15. Windows-S : Turn on Windows Search.

  16. Windows-V : Shows your clipboard history.

  17. Windows-Spacebar : Switch between keyboards or input languages.

  18. Windows-PrtScn : Take a screenshot of everything visible on the screen.

  19. Windows-F : Take a screenshot and open Windows 11’s Feedback Center. Allows you to report any errors or other problems with your computer to Microsoft.

  20. Windows-Shift-S : Take a screenshot of the screen customization selection.

  21. Windows-Alt-PrtScn : Take a screenshot of the active window only.

  22. Windows-Alt-R : Use the Xbox Game Bar to record video of the active game window.

  23. Windows-Tab : Open Task View to view the virtual desktop.

  24. Windows-Ctrl-D : Add a virtual desktop.

  25. Windows-Ctrl-Right Arrow : Switch to the virtual desktop on the right.

  26. Windows-Ctrl-Left Arrow : Switch to the virtual desktop on the left.

  27. Windows-Ctrl-F4 : Close the virtual desktop you are using.

  28. Windows-H : Turn on voice input.

  29. Windows-Alt-K : Mute or unmute the microphone when an application uses it. Very useful when you are on a video call or group chat.

  30. Windows-M : Minimize all open windows.

  31. Windows-Shift-M : Restore all minimized windows to their original state.

  32. Windows-P : Lets you quickly select a display mode. Useful for people with multiple monitors.

  33. Windows-Ctrl-Q : Opens Quick Assistant, a built-in application that lets you control other people's Windows PCs, or allow them to control yours. Used for troubleshooting.

  34. Windows Up Arrow : Maximize the active window.

  35. Windows-Down Arrow : Minimize the active window.

  36. Windows-Alt-Left or Right Arrow Key : Snap the active window to a portion of the screen. Hold Windows-Alt and press the arrow keys to adjust its position.

  37. Windows-Home : Minimizes all windows except the active window. Entering again returns all windows to their original positions.

  38. Windows-Shift-Left or Right Arrow key : Move the active application to the secondary monitor.

  39. Windows-Z : Start snapping layout in the upper right corner of the screen. Lets you quickly choose a layout and start adding apps to make the most of your screen real estate.

  40. Windows-, : Press and hold this shortcut to view the desktop. When you release it, your open window will return to the screen.

  41. Windows-T : Cycle through apps pinned to the taskbar.

  42. Windows-Alt-Enter : This shortcut opens taskbar settings when a taskbar item is selected.

  43. Windows-1 : Open the first application pinned to the taskbar. Replace 1 with any number from 2 to 9 to open the corresponding application.

  44. Windows-W : Open the widgets pane.

  45. Windows-B : Select the first icon in the system tray, which is located in the lower right corner of the screen.