WIN key shortcuts and how to disable them

In this guide, we will show keyboard shortcuts that effectively utilize the Windows [WIN] key. We bet most of you only used the WIN key to open the start menu. We will show you how to improve your productivity and operating speed using the WIN key.

Most of these shortcuts work with most versions of Windows including Windows XP and Windows Vista. If there are any exceptions to this, they will be pointed out.

Shortcut List

  • [WIN] : Shows / Hides the Start menu
  • [WIN] + R : Displays the Run dialog box
  • [WIN] + F : Displays the Find / Search Window
  • [WIN] + [CTRL] + F : Searches for computers on a network
  • [WIN] + F1 : Displays the Help Window
  • [WIN] + E : Starts the Windows Explorer
  • [WIN] + D : Minimizes all Windows and displays the Desktop
  • [WIN] + M : Minimizes all Windows
  • [WIN] + [SHIFT] + M : Undoes the above Minimize command and restores all minimised windows
  • [WIN] + [CTRL] + [TAB] : Switches focus between Start Menu, Quick Launch, System Tray and the Desktop.
  • [WIN] + [TAB] : Switches between the minimized windows displayed in Taskbar (In Windows Vista this switches between the windows in a 3D view – FLIP 3D, similar to ALT + TAB)
  • [WIN] + [BREAK] : Displays the System Properties window
  • [WIN] + L : Locks the computer immediately

Windows Vista Specific shortcuts:

  • [WIN] + [TAB] : Switches between the minimized windows using FLIP 3D)
  • [WIN] + G : Switches between Sidebar gadgets
  • [WIN] + [SPACE] : Activates the Windows Sidebar
  • [WIN] + [U] : Opens the Ease of Access center
  • [WIN] + [X] : Opens the Windows Mobility Center

To end this tutorial, we would like to show you a bonus hack using which you can disable all the [WIN] key shortcuts.

Just open Windows Registry Editor by Start > Run > regedit

Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer and create a new DWORD value named ‘NoWinKeys‘ and set its value to 1.

Restart your computer for the changes to take effect. To re-enable them, just change the value to 0 again or delete that key.