Vista:: Shortcut keys

While I am using the Win-Tab (flip 3d) and Win-L (lock computer) key a lot I was wondering which keystrokes could be handy so I tried them out and here is the result:


Win-Space: Show sidebar

Win-D: Show desktop

Win-Tab: Flip 3D

Ctrl Win-Tab: Flip 3D which stays onto desktop, you can then scroll with up, down, left and right keys

Win-E: Opens explorer window

Win-R: Opens the run dialogue box, yes it still exists

Win-T: Tabs between running applications onto the taskbar, you know like you would hover over each task with the mouse and get a live preview of the app's.

Win-Q: When I tried this one out it launches the Office communicator for me, how does this behave for you?

Win-F: Opens the search window.

Win-G: Gives the sidebar the focus and when you press this key combination again it tabs between the gadgets on the sidebar

Win-L: Locks the computer, I use this a lot just quickly lock the PC when you go grab a cup of coffee.

Win-U: Opens the Ease of Access Center

Win-M: Minimizes all windows

Shift Win-M: Undo minimize windows

Win-X: Opens the Windows Mobility center

Win-Number: Press the Win key and then choose a number of the applications that are in the quick launch task bar. An example the third icon on the taskbar (starting from left) is IE so to run IE press Win-3 and it will launch IE.

Another shortcut of key combination I use often is the ctrl-shift-esc to open the Task Manager

Which shortcuts are you using?


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Comments (34)

  1. Brian says:

    What’s the difference between switching to the desktop and minimizing all windows?

  2. The show desktop actually only shows the desktop and even the sidebar is hidden.

    With the minimize all windows function you can after minimizing undo that by using the shift + window key + M. Which is something you cannot do with show desktop.

    Hope this answer your question.

  3. Joe says:

    is there no shortcut key to close the sidebar once it is open?

  4. Joe,

    Unfortunately there is no shortcut key to do that. Sorry



  5. Anonymous says:

    Коллеги, сегодня хотелось бы рассказать о "горячих клавишах", которые существуют в ОС Windows Vista.

  6. muddyh2o says:

    what’s the shortcut to get to shutdown?

    in xp, i could hit the start key, the hit the U key and i’d get the shutdown menu (restart, hibernate, etc)

    now it seems to require some mouse clicks or arrow movements


  7. Josh says:

    I can’t get the Flip 3D working, the Win + Tab does nothing. How do I get it working?

  8. Muddyh2o

    In Vista you will not be able to do it the same way because of the search focus but you could hit the tab key to get into the shutdown menu



  9. Josh,

    Do you see transparent windows? If not you don’t have areo enabled.

    Open the Windows color and appearance panel and there select open classic appearance for more color options.

    Here you should be able to see the Windows Aero select this and it will be fine. If you don’t see it it can mean that your video card is not areo compatible.



  10. Amish says:

    I am having the same problem as Josh. I tried enabling aero but for some reason it just goes back to windowns vista basic everytime. When I first installed vista on my computer, i was able to use the win + tab shortcut. Now, it has become a problem. Can anyone help?

  11. Amish,

    Can you give some more details about your video card and drivers that you are using.

    You can mail it to



  12. kane says:

    I had the areo problem on a laptop when the drivers didn’t get installed during install.  

    i had to have my system re-rated in control panel after i upgraded all the drivers for it to start using it.

  13. kane says:

    Control PanelPerformance Information and Tools

    "Update my score"

    Then see, if not its a driver problem or your hardware isn’t capable.

  14. Slansing says:

    Actually, I prefer Win-D… after it’s minimized, you can just hit it again to maximize everything again (instead of Win-m and Win-shift-m).  Also, I’m really sad that they moved the shutdown positioning – I’m used to Win-up-enter-enter to shutdown… (or at least *some* key combo).  I’m lucky though – my keyboard has a shutdown button, so I use that.

  15. clab says:

    ya i cant get the 3d view, Win-Tab, also when i go to color and appearance it doesnt show any colors to choose from all it does is show appearance changes, like choosing from classic 98′ and stuff for my windows..??? help

  16. Caleb

    It sounds like you either don’t have the right driver or your video card is not able to make usage of the new functionalities. Which video card are you using?

  17. AdamV says:

    I’m not a devloper so I can’t be sure, but isn’t there a big difference between Win-D and Win-M, in that if you just show the desktop it leaves the other apps in their minimised or maximised status, and just shows the desktop in front?

    This would mean that any prioritisation of resources done by windows would still recognise which apps should get more power ("foregroud apps") versus less (minimised/background apps).

    Or does this rely only on focus, not maximisation?

  18. primal says:

    Hey guys, some applications seem are not compatible with the Aero desktop. When you are running such an application with Vista is automatically switches back to Vista Basic theme.

    I experienced this with an older version of Quick Time which was installed on my machine by a Codec pack I installed. Quitting the version of quick time sorted the problem. Uninstalling and getting the latest version from Apple also worked.

    Hope this helps with you Aero issues.

  19. Praveen says:

    Shift + Tab —-> is Used for Rolling Back Ur Tab Result or Menu.

  20. Mark says:

    For those that who are looking for an easy Windows shutdown key sequence, I don’t know if anyone has posted this already, but:

    WinKey-D then Alt-F4

    brings up the shutdown box.

    Also, it seems that in the same way Ctrl-Winkey-Tab makes Flip 3D static, Ctrl-Alt-Tab does the same thing for regular program switching mode.

    Comments? – Mark/Toronto

  21. Mark,

    Thanks for sharing that with us.


  22. TxDot says:

    Arlindo, Do you know of a way to stop Vista from automatically assigning the Win+n (1-9) hotkeys to the icons in the Quick Launch toolbar? I use these hotkeys to switch desktops in AltDesk and it’s driving me crazy not being able to do this in Vista.

  23. TxDot,

    You can disable the hotkeys using Group Policies.

    Administrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsWindows ExplorerTurn off Windows+X hotkeys

    I didn’t test if this also works with a local gpo but you can try it out.



  24. jesse says:

    There is also another shortcut key which serves the same purpose as windows 3d, but not as sexy.


    It lets you cycle through open programs.

  25. jacques says:

    It amazes me how no one knows

    Win + Pause

    this brings up Computer Properties

    I used it a lot in XP and it still works in Vista

  26. Alice says:

    I am hoping you know what key combo in Vista I am hitting by accident that keeps sending off my emails before I’m finished. It’s driving me crazy!

  27. Hey Alice,

    I think the key combo is Ctrl+Enter

    Kind Regards,


  28. rupesh says:

    pleas tell me more about viste

    Thanks & Regards

  29. rupesh says:

    pleas tell me more about viste

    Thanks & Regards

  30. rupesh says:

    sometimes my vista suddenly gives physical memory dump error pleas help its very important for me


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