There are many ways of jumping straight into bits of Windows that would otherwise take a load of clicking around the place. ToW #312 covered some of them – especially on how to go directly to special folders like your pictures or downloads, but there are many other ways of jumping right into important bits of Windows under the hood.
WindowsKey+R / ncpa.cpl is one of the longest-serving and most useful, going back to Windows for Workgroups; it proceeds directly to the guts of the old-style networking control panel that can still be used to manage and connect to remote networks or configure advanced properties of the PC’s network stack.
Pressing WindowsKey+X shows a shortcut menu that gives you quick access to lots of different but handy bits of Windows options and settings – eg. the System page, which gives you easy way to find your machine’s name, what version of Windows you’re using, what spec hardware you have etc. Not stuff you’ll find you need every day, but when you do, this is the easiest way of getting to that page.
Maybe the easiest, but not the most direct – many of the settings pages can also be got at by running ms-settings:name, eg ms-settings:about, which will do the same – either by entering that from the Run command (WindowsKey+R) or by creating a shortcut on the desktop (right-click on the desktop, choose New -> Shortcut) and then enter the appropriate command. Try some other ms-settings: commands – appsfeatures, display. Chere here or here for some more ideas.