Article 48: Windows Navigation

Windows Navigation – How to Look Like a Pro

Have you ever asked anyone to fix a computer issue for you? Be honest, nobody’s judging. The typical IT problem goes true to the stereotype, they press like 4 buttons, their fingers glide over the keyboard, opening the exact right window faster than you thought possible, and then it is fixed. How do they do that?
Keyboard shortcuts mostly. There are a bunch of cool ways to get exactly where you need to go in Windows, and there are more shortcuts than just CTRL-C and -V. This week the Modern Nerd is going to up your game with a few shortcuts and Windows navigation tips.

The Basics – CTRL, ALT, Delete

These might be obvious. They might not. Either way, learning these things by heart will save you tens of seconds every time, which adds up a lot faster than you might think.

CTRL-C. Copy to clipboard.
Useful in word applications sure, but you can copy files, folders, music, videos, whatever you need.
CTRL-V. Paste from clipboard.
CTRL-X. Cut to clipboard.
F2 – Rename. Changing file names and extensions is sometimes useful.
CTRL-SHIFT-ESC – Open the task manager. Skips the CTRL-ALT-Delete step most of the time.
CTRL-A – Select all files, folders, or text.
F5 – Refresh. Reloads the current page or window.
CTRL-Z – Undo. Useful on copy, paste, rename, and delete commands.
CTRL-Y – Redo. Self-explanatory.
Windows Key + L – Lock session.

Getting Trickier – Mouse Modifiers

Next thing you can use is a modifier on your mouse. If you want to do more things than the simple left and right click allow, read on.

Shift – Select Range. In a list of several files, shift-click will select all of them.
Control – Add to selection. CTRL-click will add a file to your current selection regardless of its list position.

When dragging a file from one location to another, pause and hover your mouse hand. You’ll notice a pop-up that will tell you if you are moving, or copying a file. Adding shift to that command will flip it.

CTRL-Mouse Wheel – Zoom. This will make icons or pages larger or smaller to let you read them more easily or look at everything at once.

Under the Hood – Windows Explorer Modifiers

The last set of tricks I have for you aren’t keyboard commands per say, but will give you more access to things on your system. When you have an Explorer window open, open the Window and Search Options dialog box. And try not to get immediately intimidated. There are a lot of things here.

Showing hidden files and folders is a option. Hidden files are usually harmless, but occasionally they can cause errors or take up space when unneeded. Showing them in your window lets you see everything. Files that are designated as hidden will be slightly translucent.

You can also check the hide extensions for known file types box. This is useful when you have to edit how your computer views a file. This is an advanced feature, but if you have a song that you are trying to make a ringtone, then changing it’s extension from m4a to m4r is all it takes in iTunes.

These are just a few examples. Becoming more familiar with how your computer works will save you time, aggravation, and may help you create some really awesome things. Thanks for reading. You can get access to all of the Computer Fixer’s content by subscribing to our RSS feed and liking our page on Facebook. The Modern Nerd is updated every week, and our General blog will bring you content on other related topics.

Aaron Krick
Blog Contributor at the Computer Fixer

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