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How well do you know your Keyboard ? do you know what is the power of the that key with windows logo ? If you know this,Hats off to you. Rest of the article is for unfortunates one like me. I didn't give any importance to this key for a long time. I used to consider it one of those useless keys that keyboard can do without. If your keyboard is designed for Windows operating sytem (There is very good chance that it is), You should see a pair of keys positioned on each side of space bar between CTRL and ALT key that have small window logo on it. Do you know what it can do for you ? It is a hot key to many of the import functionality in Window. Specially in WINDOWS XP PRO, you must use this window key. It is a little used treasure and can do a lot as shown in following table.

Press following key combination To get following result:
   
Display the Start Menu
+ D
Minimize of Restore all window
+ E Display Windows Explorer
+ F Display Search for files
+ R Display Run dialog box
+ L Lock workstation
+ U Open Utility Manager
+Q Scroll through all users on your PC
+ CTRL + F Display Search for computer
+ Shift + M Undo Minimize (of all windows)
+ F1 Display Help and Support Center
+ BREAK Display System properties dialog box

Let me go one more level down. Following are a set of keyboard shortcuts that are available in Windows XP (in fact were available in prior versions of Windows as well for a long time). If you know these very good. If not, you would do yourself a great favorby learning it and keeping it by heart.

KEY(S) What do they do ?
   
CTRL+C Copy.
CTRL+X Cut.
CTRL+V Paste.
CTRL+Z Undo.
DELETE Delete.
SHIFT+DELETE Delete selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin.
CTRL while dragging an item Copy selected item.
CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item Create shortcut to selected item.
F2 Rename selected item.
CTRL+RIGHT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word.
CTRL+LEFT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word.
CTRL+DOWN ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph.
CTRL+UP ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph.
CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys Highlight a block of text.
SHIFT with any of the arrow keys Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document.
CTRL+A Select all.
F3 Search for a file or folder.
ALT+ENTER View properties for the selected item.
ALT+F4 Close the active item, or quit the active program.
ALT+Enter Displays the properties of the selected object.
ALT+SPACEBAR Opens the shortcut menu for the active window.
CTRL+F4 Close the active document in programs that allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously.
ALT+TAB Switch between open items.
ALT+ESC Cycle through items in the order they were opened.
F6 Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop
F4 Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
SHIFT+F10
Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
ALT+SPACEBAR Display the System menu for the active window.
CTRL+ESC Display the Start menu.
ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name Display the corresponding menu.
Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu Carry out the corresponding command.
F10 Activate the menu bar in the active program.
RIGHT ARROW Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu.
LEFT ARROW Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.
F5 Refresh the active window.
BACKSPACE View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
ESC Cancel the current task.
SHIFT when you insert a CD into the CD-ROM drive Prevent the CD from automatically playing.

Enough talk of real life keyboard. Ever heard of ON-SCREEN Keyboard ? Following is a screen shot of on-screen keyboard: You can execute it by going to START-ALL PROGRAMS-ACCESSARIES-ACCESIBILITY and clicking on On-screen keyboard or by tying OSK.EXE from START-RUN.

OSK utility is very useful:
There is a reason for everything. Till yesterday I was thinking about On-Screen keyboard as something that I would never use. Why because I have much better keyboard and that is for real. But that was till yesterday. I am not sure what went wrong with the keyboard and it suddently stopped working. I was in the middle of writing a note. At that time it was important that I write those few last words. I tried quite a few things with keyboard (plugging/unplugging) but nothing helped. OSK could have been used if only I had remembered it. So Even though many may never use this, it does come handy sometimes !

NOW FOLLOWING ARE THE LINKS TO MICROSOFT'S OWN SITE DESCRIBING VARIOUS BASIC TIPS THAT MIGHT BE OF IMMENCE IMPORTANCE TO YOU:

Windows® XP: Choose size, color and other display options for the mouse pointer.

Windows® XP: Decrease the speed at which the cursor flashes.

Windows® XP: Eliminate the need to hold down one key while you press another.

Windows® XP: Enlarge the icons on your screen so they are easier to see or to access.

Windows® XP: Get a quick animation that shows the location of the pointer by pressing a key.

Windows® XP: Get extra information on keyboard shortcuts in programs that offer it.

Windows® XP: Get sound notification when an accessibility feature is turned on or off.

Windows® XP: Get visual notification when an accessibility feature is turned on or off.

Windows® XP: Get visual warnings for system sounds.

Windows® XP: Hear a sound when locking keys (NUM LOCK, CAPS LOCK, SCROLL LOCK) are pressed.

Windows® XP: Hide underlined letters indicating shortcut keys in menus, commands and dialog boxes.

Windows® XP: Highlight or drag without holding down the mouse button.

Windows® XP: Ignore some of the ways Web authors have specified how their Web pages display.

Windows® XP: Make the information displayed on your screen either larger or smaller.

Windows® XP: Make the keyboard ignore inadvertently repeated keystrokes.

Windows® XP: Make the keyboard less sensitive to inadvertently repeated keystrokes.

Windows® XP: Make the mouse pointer more visible by displaying a "trail" that shows movement.

Windows® XP: Make the pointer disappear while you're typing so that it does not cover your work.

Windows® XP: Make the pointer move faster or slower in response to movement of the mouse.

Windows® XP: Pick your own colors for the display of links on Web pages.

Windows® XP: Pick your own colors for the display of text and background of Web pages.

Windows® XP: Save keystrokes by making the pointer move to the default button in a dialog box.

Windows® XP: See captions for speech and sound warnings from your computer.

Windows® XP: Set options for a person who has a mobility impairment.

Windows® XP: Set options for a person who is blind or has a vision impairment.

Windows® XP: Set options for a person who is deaf or has a hearing impairment.

Windows® XP: Set the mouse for faster or slower double-clicking speed.

Windows® XP: Set the mouse keys for use by either a left-handed or right-handed person.

Windows® XP: Turn off accessibility options after you've finished using the computer.

Windows® XP: Turn off feature that automatically moves most used commands to the top of the menu.

Windows® XP: Turn off the blinking of the cursor.

Windows® XP: Use a color combination for screen display that improves contrast.

Windows® XP: Use accessibility settings on the logon desktop.

Windows® XP: Use an alternate input device instead of a mouse or the keyboard.

Windows® XP: Use the numeric keypad instead of the mouse to move the mouse pointer.

Windows® XP: Use your own "style sheet" to format Web pages.

 


 
 

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