GCN LAB IMPRESSIONS

5 keyboard shortcuts you won't find in Windows 8

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working on a major review of Windows 8 for the October issue of GCN. Part of that process has been learning to use all the keyboard shortcuts that new OS offers.

But it occurred to me that some of the current shortcuts you use could be going away. They simply have no place in Windows 8. So while many of you are holding out on upgrading,  the fact is that one day, you probably will be working with Windows 8, either at the federal agency you work for, or in your own home.

When you do, don’t try to use these shortcuts, because they are being eliminated from Windows 8.

Crtl+Esc. This used to bring up the start menu, which was helpful if your keyboard did not have a dedicated Windows key. But since the start menu is being eliminated in Windows 8, this shortcut won’t make the new team roster.

F6. You will still probably have an F6 key, but it won’t do anything. It used to let you cycle through various elements in a window, such as when looking at an online form or a page with frames. I’m not sure why this one is being killed, other than perhaps as part of the effort to eliminate frames from Web pages, which is a good thing in terms of disability access and Section 508 requirements.

Alt+Esc. I always liked this one. It lets you cycle through windows on your desktop in the order they were opened. For someone like me who sets up his desktop every morning in a very meticulous way, I enjoyed being able to open windows in the order I was likely to use them and then scroll through them that way all day. My OCD may flare up at this one’s loss.

Win+Home. This shortcut only ever worked in Windows 7. It lets you close every window on your screen other than the active one. It was useful, for example, if you opened a bunch of news stories in windows and then decided you weren’t going to read them all anyway, --  or if you wanted to quickly free up memory.

Win+Shift+M. This only worked in Vista, so I’m not sure how many feds ever got the chance to use it. It opened up every minimized window on your desktop. For a three-button shortcut, it wasn’t very helpful actually, but then again, neither was Vista.

That’s all I’ve found so far, so not a very big kill list, but with Windows 8 coming out soon, this may be your last chance to use these soon to be extinct shortcuts.

For more keyboard shortcuts (that you better learn quickly), check out 11 great keyboard shortcuts and 11 more great keyboard shortcuts.

Reader Comments

Thu, Apr 18, 2013

I just got a Surface Pro, and now I can't use F6 in my apps, because it opens the "share charm". I am looking for a way to change this back to original F6 functionality since I use it a lot in many applications.

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 MIke

Every one of these hotkeys work in Windows 8. You must have been misinformed.

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 Paul

I think we have some leaway before we have to worry about it in the federal workplace. We've only now gone to windows 7, and only 32-bit at that. By the time we go to 8, Microsoft will be rolling out Win 2100.

Fri, Sep 7, 2012

That F6 sounds like a browser (IE) shortcut rather than a Windows shortcut. Like F5, I would expect this to do different things in different programs.

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 Amit Sharma

Crtl+Esc can work if you install the start button. You can download and install start button from the link http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/

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