» » » » Explorer Restart Substitute for Reboot.

By: Hugo Luis Alberto Repetto Posted date: April 26, 2009 Comments: 0

Windows Vista uses the Explorer interface as the primary means for manipulating files and folders in Windows. This interface appears in Windows Explorer as well as in ma ny applications which prompt you to open or save files, and of course in most standard Desktop windows.

Windows Explorer can be accessed in several ways, including by going to Start>All Programs>Accessories, or by going to Start>Search Box and typing "windows explorer" (without quotes) and pressing Enter, or by clicking on the Computer link in the Start Menu, or by pressing WINDOWS+E at any time. The interface is familiar to any Windows user and the basics have rema ined the same, however there are important changes and handy new features which are explained in more detail in this chapter.


BASIC FEATURES
Instant Search: The Instant Search box is present in all Explorer interfaces, shown at the top right of the window. This is a very useful feature which allows you to refine what is displayed in the current window by typing in a search term or even partial characters. This is covered in detail in the Windows Search chapter.

Address Bar: At the top of each Explorer-based window is an Internet Explorer-like Address Bar which has back and forward arrows at the left, a refresh button at the far right, and the path to the currently displayed directory in the address box. Useful aspects of the Address Bar include:

You can view/jump to any subdirectories under each branch of the displayed path by clicking the small black arrow next to that particular directory branch.

You can type in a specific directory pa th by left-clicking on an empty space in the navigation pane.

You can click on the small arrow between the box and the arrows on the left and select a recently viewed directory to go to.

You can view recently opened directories by clicking the small arrow next to the Refresh button at the right of the box.

You can copy the current directory path by right-clicking in the box and selecting 'Copy address as text'.
Navigation Pane: This is the area to the left of Windows Explorer which lists quick links to your favorite folders at the top left, and below that is the normal Folders listing of all directories and subdirectories on your hard drives.

Command Bar: Beneath the navigation pane is the green command bar which contains a range of buttons.

These buttons will change depending on the particular file(s) or folder(s) you are viewing or have highlighted. For example if you go to a folder and highlight an .MP3 file, the command bar will display a Play button. You may instead see a Burn, Share, Email, Open, Preview, Print, or Slideshow button depending on the specific files and folder type.

You will always see Organise and Views buttons on the command bar, which allow you to access a range of useful functions that let you customize the Explorer interface. Under the Organise button, aside from
common tasks such as Copy, Rename and New Folder are the following features:

Under the Layout item you can select whether to display the Menu bar - if selected the Menu Bar will be enabled permanently in Explorer and Explorer-based interfaces. If you don't wish for it to be permanently displayed, you can show it temporarily at any time by pressing the ALT key while in an Explorer-based window.

Under the Layout item you can select whether to enable or disable the Details, Preview and Navigation panes. The Navigation Pane is covered above, the Details and Preview panes are covered further below.

The 'Folder and Search Options' link opens Folder Options, covered in detail under the Folder Options section below. Importantly, you can set ea ch folder type's view more quickly by using this option.

You can use the Views button to change the way folder contents are shown. By clicking the button you can cycle through the various available options, including Tiles, Details, Lists and Icon views


You can also use these features instead:

You can click on the drop arrow next to the button and manua lly select the view by clicking on it, or using the slider.

You can hold down the CTRL key and use your mouse scrollwheel to cycle through the various views.

Preview Pane: The Preview Pane if enabled sits at the right side of the Explorer window, and is usually blank if no file is highlighted. Once you highlight a particular file, a preview of the contents will be displayed where possible. Since this can increase file browsing time, disable it if you don't need this functionality.

Details Pane: The Details Pane if enabled sits at the bottom of the Explorer window, and displays details about the highlighted file or folder, including information from its Properties tab, as well as any preview of its contents if possible. Note that you can edit the properties for a file by clicking on customizable fields in the Details Pane and entering new information (if the file is not write-protected). Again this should be disabled if you don't need or use this functionality. You can always right-click on a file and select Properties then look under the Details tab to see the same information.

Live Icons: The contents of some folders are shown as Live Icons, which are icons that show a preview of the actual current contents of the pa rticular file - e.g. the Pictures folder. You can disable this for specific folders by switching to Details or List view for example, which helps speed up browsing such folders.

Sort By: The contents of any folder displayed can be sorted by a range of properties. By default the contents are automatically sorted in Ascending order by Name (file name), and the sorting is dynamic; that is, there is no need to refresh the screen whenever new files are added, Vista will automatically resort everything instantly to maintain appropriate order. To sort by something other than file name, right-click in the content area and select 'Sort By', and you will see the common properties such as Date Modified, Type and Size on which you can sort the contents, either in Ascending or Descending order. You can click the More option and select any one of a larger range of properties upon which to sort the current view of contents.

Group By: You can create subcategories within a content view by right-clicking in the content area and selecting 'Group By', then selecting the particular property by which you wish to group the contents. This will arrange the contents under headings for each subcategory. Once again you can select the More item to see additional properties for use in grouping contents. If you wish to remove grouped view, right-click, select 'Group By' then choose the (none) item.

Stack By: Instead of grouping contents with headings, you can 'stack' files into smaller folders within the current folder. These Stacked Folders are clickable, and when opened their contents are displayed. The folders are also able to be manipulated like a normal folder, such as moving them to other subdirectories.

However they are only virtual folders and their main purpose is to help you organize directory contents.

Filter By: If you only want to view a certain subset of the contents in a folder, aside from using the Instant Search box (see above), you can click highlight a column header and click on the small black arrow at the right of the header. Here you will be able to select a check box to filter the contents by a particular category.

If the category you wish to use for filtering isn't available, you can add more column types by right-clicking on a column header, selecting the More item and selecting which additional columns to add.

To further customize Windows Explorer, you need to use the Folder Options component of the Control Panel, as covered further below.

FOLDER OPTIONS
Folder Options can be found under the Control Panel, or by pressing the Organise button in the Command Bar of Windows Explorer and selecting 'Folder and Search Options'. As the name suggests, Folder Options has a range of options which affect the way folders are viewed, but it also has important Search-related options. Each tab of the Folder Options box is covered separately below:

GENERAL
Tasks: If the 'Show preview and filters' option is chosen, all Windows Explorer-based windows will have a Details pane at the bottom of the screen, a Preview pane at right hand side, and filter options at the top of the screen. To turn this added features off select the 'Use Windows classic folders' instead. Choose whichever one suits your taste. Note that you can manually turn off the Details or Preview panes individually in Windows Explorer - see further above. In general disabling the Preview pane provides the most responsive Explorer window.

Browse Folders: If 'Open each folder in the same window' is chosen, then launching an option or utility in one window will mean that it opens in the existing window. If 'Open each folder in its own window' is chosen, a new window will open for each utility or option launched from within an existing window. I recommend the first option, as this reduces the number of open windows which in turn reduces memory usage.

Click items as follows: The 'Double-click to open an item (single-click to select)' is the default behavior most Windows users are familiar with, and the one which is assumed when providing descriptions in this, and most other guides. If you prefer a more web-like behavior, you can select the 'Single-click to open an item (point to select)', and further choose whether to have selectable items and icons underline all the time, or only when you hover your mouse over them. In general the double-click method is most familiar and prevents frequent accidental launching of programs or options, so it is recommended.

VIEW
Folder views: When you change the look and layout of a particular folder in Windows Explorer, such as column widths, whether files are show in List, Details or Thumbnail view and so forth, to apply your changes to all folders of that same type, click the 'Apply to Folders' button here. However you must do this for each type of folder separately; that is, the layout you choose for a music folder will not apply to anything other than other music folders for example. So you should take the time to set up one of each general type of folder the way you want it in Windows Explorer, then in each case open Folder Options>View>Apply to Folders. Usually it is quicker to just click the Organize button in the Command Bar area of Explorer and select 'Folder and Search Options' and this will open up Folder Options as well.

Most of the options in this section are dependent on your own particular tastes in functionality and appearance. However certain settings are important and I provide my recommendations for these below.

It is recommended that you tick the following options:

Display simple folder view in Navigation pane - Removes the dotted lines in the Windows Explorer folder Navigation Pane, which I believe looks better. The dotted lines can however help in quickly identifying parent directories if you have complex layers of folder and sub-folders.

Show hidden files and folders - Shows hidden system files and folders, including Directory Junctions -see further below. It is important to have this option ticked if you want to see all the files and folders on your system, especially when using this guide.

Remember each folder's view settings - Makes sure that Windows remembers your specific folder settings for each folder. Remember though that different folder types require individual configuration.

Show drive letters - Important in knowing which specific drive you're viewing (e.g. C:, E:).
Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color - Highlights files which have been encrypted or compressed in a different color.

It is recommended that the following are unticked:

Display file size information in folder tips - Holding your mouse over a file or folder will show further information; this can cause small delays while navigating so is best switched off.
Hide extensions for known file types - Needs to be disabled to correctly see and if necessary change the file extensions for various files, especially when undertaking tweaking.

Hide protected operating system files - Needs to be disabled for advanced tweaking purposes.
Show popup description for folder and desktop items - Switching this off removes the popup
information boxes which appear whenever you hover the mouse over a folder or desktop item. These are unnecessary and can also cause slight pauses while navigating folders or the desktop.

The options not mentioned above can be ticked or unticked according to your tastes, and their individual functionality is covered in this Microsoft Article.

SEARCH
These options relate to the Instant Search box found at the top of every folder window in Vista, as well as the Instant Search box found on the main Start menu. This functionality allows you to find a file within the current folder, and is covered in detail in the Windows Search chapter. If you use search indexing or just want the fastest results I recommend that you select the following settings:

In indexed locations, search filenames and contents.
Include subfolders when typing in the Search box.
Find partial matches.
Include system directories.

If you start to notice that you're often not finding what you're after, or if you've disabled search indexing, I recommend the following settings which are slower but more thorough:

Always search file names and contents.
Include subfolders when typing in the Search box.
Find partial matches.
Don't use the index when searching the file system.
Include system directories.
Include compressed files.

Be careful as the second set of options though thorough may be much slower, and can tie up a great deal of system resources when searching for a non-indexed file. This may make using the Instant Search box in the Start menu in particular a pain if you just want to quickly launch common Windows programs from it, so on balance I recommend the first set of options further above for most everyone. The time difference depends on how many files and sub-folders are in the particular folder in which you've commenced a search. For a small folder, it shouldn't make a huge difference; for a system-wide search it may take quite a long time.

Again, more details on optimal searching strategies are in the Windows Search chapter, and remember that earch functionality isn't so much about finding lost files, it makes accessing common files and programs much quicker.

PERSONAL FOLDERS
Every User Account has a set of Personal Folders created for that account. They can be found under your \Users\[username] directory, and contain such subfolders as Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos. Note that you may also see the legacy personal folders from Windows XP (such as My Documents) showing up your personal folder directory, but these are Directory Junctions not actual folders - see further below for more details on those.

While your first temptation may be to ignore these personal folders and create your own ones, I recommend against doing so. Aside from already being quite convenient for holding various file types, these folders are also linked to particular features in Vista, such as the User Account security features, and the Documents, Pictures and Music items you can enable on your Start Menu. Furthermore by default certain applications will initially start looking for the appropriate file types in those folders, e.g. Windows Media Player will initially open its file browser in the Music folder. So while you can place your files wherever you wish, I
would suggest taking advantage of this directory structure and if necessary create subdirectories under the existing folders if you want to further categorize your material - or you can use Windows Explorer's Grouping and/or Stacking features (covered further above) to sort things virtually under each folder.
Fortunately the location of these personal folders is not fixed; you can move them around to another place on the same drive, or even to another drive if you want to. To do so follow these steps:

1. Go to the relevant folder under your personal folders.
2. Right-click on it and select Properties, then go to the Location tab.
3. Click the Move button and specify a new folder and/or drive to move the current folder to.

Alternatively you can just type the new pa th in the Target box. When you're done, Windows will now recognize the new location as the home of your present folder, and all references to it throughout Vista should point correctly to this new location automatically.

It is important to note that if you try to alter any files or folders outside your own personal folders, you will often be faced with a UAC prompt. This is due to Access Control, and the reasons behind this are detailed under the Access Control and User Account Control sections of the PC Security chapter.

The bottom line is that it would be wise to take advantage of your personal folders, given they are tied in to several useful features in Vista and also require the least security credentials to alter.

DIRECTORY JUNCTIONS AND SYMBOLIC LINKS
When you enable the 'Show hidden files and folders' option under the View tab in Folder Options, as recommended further above, you will notice that a range of new directories become visible among your personal folders. That is, under the \Users\[username]\ directory you will see additional sub-directories such as \Cookies, \Local Settings, \My Documents, and \Recent. Yet when you click on them, you will get an access error. This is because they are not actual directories and don't contain anything, they're Directory Junctions - redirection links which point to another directory, and this is also why they are denoted with a shortcut icon.

Directory Junctions exist for compatibility purposes, so that when an application not specifically designed for Vista attempts to put files or folders under the \My Documents directory for example (which doesn't exist in Vista anymore), the \My Documents junction in Vista redirects the program to place its files/folders under the correct new \Documents directory. Meanwhile the application's requirements are satisfied, because it sees the directory junction as though it were a real directory of the same name, so it doesn't report any errors or
problems.

Under Windows Vista the following junctions redirect to the following real directories:
Windows XP Directory Corresponding Windows Vista Directory

Application Data \AppData\Roaming
Cookies
\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies
Local Settings
\AppData\Local
My Documents
\Documents
NetHood
\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Network Shortcuts
PrintHood
\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Printer Shortcuts
Recent
\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent
SendTo
\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo
Start Menu
\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
Templates
\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Templates

Along with Directory Junctions, Vista also supports a similar feature called Symbolic Links. A Symbolic Link is like a shortcut, except a shortcut is actually a type of file (.LNK), whereas a Symbolic Link is not a file; it exists at the file system level. It can point to anywhere, whether a file, a directory, or even another drive.

If you wish to create a Directory Junction or Symbolic Link of your own, you can do so by opening an Administrator Command Prompt (see Vista Usage Notes chapter) and then use the MKLink command. For example to create a link simply called ReadMe in your current directory, linking to the file Text.doc under E:\Users\User1\Documents\, the following command can be used:

MKLink ReadMe E:\Users\User1\Documents\Text.doc

The link ReadMe will be created, denoted with a shortcut icon when viewed in Windows Explorer. If you want to see where this link points to, right-click on it, select Properties and under the Shortcut tab click the 'Open folder location' button. You can use either the /J or /D switches respectively to specify whether you wish to create a Directory Junction or Symbolic Directory Link (to link to a directory as opposed to the default Symbolic file link).

These features are not really designed for the average user, they are more for maintaining compatibility for older applications and games, and generally speaking you should not need to ever create Directory Junctions or Symbolic Links. If however after upgrading from XP to Vista you have problems with the default Vista junctions redirecting properly, see this Microsoft Article.

Simplify Your Lodging Needs
ADVANCED FEATURES
The following are some slightly more advanced features of Windows Explorer, including tips and tweaks for making Explorer ea sier to use.

MANIPULATE MULTIPLE FILES AT ONCE
If you have a range of files you want to manipulate together - e.g. move, copy, rename, change the properties of all of them - you can do so rapidly in Windows Explorer by doing the following:

1. Highlight the group of files you want to rename in one of two ways:
Hold down the SHIFT key and click on the first file in the group, then while still holding down shift, click on the last file in the group and everything in between will also be highlighted.
Hold down the CTRL key and click on any individual files you want to select until all the files you want to select are highlighted.

You can also combine the two methods, i.e. SHIFT select a range of files, then use CTRL to remove or add individual files to the highlighted ones.

2. Without clicking anywhere else, right-click on the first file you want to manipulate and select the appropriate function, such as Rename, Copy or Properties.

For example if you choose to rename the files, all the highlighted files will be renamed with the same name you gave the first file, however they will also have a number in brackets after them. For example, if I rename the first in a series of files Screen.jpg using this method, the remaining highlighted files will be renamed Screen (1).jpg, Screen (2).jpg, etc.

Note that you can also enable the 'Use check boxes to select items' option under the View ta bs of Folder Options, and this allows you to use the new Check Box method in Explorer to select multiple individual files by placing ticks next to the relevant items, or you can select all files at once by ticking the single check box in a column header. It is a matter of personal taste whether you enable this option or not, as some people don't like the check boxes, though they are usually hidden unless a file is highlighted.

DIRECTORY SHORTCUTS
If you want to open a Windows Explorer window at a particular folder quickly, there are two main ways to do this:

Go to Start>Run or Start>Search Box and type the path of the folder then press Enter. If you don't specify the full path, Windows Explorer will open up at the first incidence of that directory. E.g. enter only the word 'Downloads' in the Search Box and press Enter, and a Windows Explorer window will open at the \User\[username]\Downloads directory by default.
Create a shortcut - right-click on an empty spot in Windows Explorer or your Desktop, select
New>Shortcut, then enter the full directory path to the folder of your choice. When done this shortcut when launched will open Windows Explorer at the folder you specified.

SET WINDOWS EXPLORER DEFAULT STARTUP FOLDER
If you usually open Windows Explorer from a shortcut, this allows you to set which directory it will start in by default when launched from that shortcut:

1. Right-click on the shortcut icon you use to launch Windows Explorer and select Properties. Note that by default there is a shortcut for Windows Explorer under Start>All Programs>Accessories.
2. In the Target box replace the existing text with the following:

%SystemRoot%\Explorer.exe /e, path

3. In place of path above you should enter the actual path to the directory you want open by default. For
example E:\User\User1\Pictures. The path does not require quote marks around it. Make sure not to forget the comma after the /e switch and before the path. E.g.:

%SystemRoot%\Explorer.exe /e, E:\Users\User1\Pictures

4. Click OK, and now using this shortcut will always open a Windows Explorer window in the directory specified.

EXPANDED CONTEXT MENUS
A context menu is the small menu which pops up when you right-click on a file, folder or icon for example, whether in Explorer-based views or on your Desktop. If you want to view an 'expanded' context menu for a particular file or icon, hold down the SHIFT button while right-clicking on them. You'll see additional options such as 'Pin to Start Menu', 'Add to Quick Launch' and 'Copy as Path', or other options depending on the particular file or icon.

EDIT CONTEXT MENUS
Many of the entries in the context menu have been unnecessarily put there by programs you have installed.

The first step in getting rid of any unwanted entries involves opening the programs in question and looking through their options to see if you can unselect any 'shell integration' or 'context menu' options they have. If that fails, you can manually remove these entries by opening Registry Editor and following these steps:

1. Create a System Restore Point, then back up the registry keys which you plan on changing - see the Windows Registry and Backup & Recovery chapters for details.
2. The specific keys you should look under in Registry Editor are:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shell]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers]

3. Under each, aside from standard Windows items such as Offline Files, you may find keys which
relate to particular third party programs. Right-clicking on the relevant program key and selecting Delete will remove its context menu entries.
4. As you remove unwanted program entries, you can test the effects immediately by checking to see if the relevant entry was removed from the context menu.

If you make a mistake and remove an important entry, restore the relevant branch of the Registry you backed up in Step 1 - do not proceed without backups of each branch. If you're not comfortable manually editing the Registry and want to delete the main context menu entries, you can use the free Context Menu Editor utility instead, however it may not find all context menu entries.

ADD 'COPY TO' AND 'MOVE TO' CONTEXT MENUS
If you want to add two useful commands to your context menus - namely 'Copy To' and 'Move To', follow the steps below:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFileSystemObjects\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers]

Copy To= {C2FBB630-2971-11d1-A18C-00C04FD75D13}
Move To= {C2FBB631-2971-11d1-A18C-00C04FD75D13}

Create two new keys under the ContextMenuHandlers folder - that is, right-click on
ContextMenuHandlers and select New>Key twice and name them 'Copy To' and 'Move To' (without quotes) respectively. Then left-click once on each folder, go to the right pane in Registry Editor and double-click on the (Default) entry and assign the appropriate va lues shown above, including the parentheses around the numbers. This will create two new context menu entries that allow you to right-click on an item, select either 'Copy To Folder' or 'Move To Folder', and then specify the location to copy or move them to.

ADD 'OPEN WITH NOTEPAD' CONTEXT MENU
If you want to quickly open any file using Notepad, you can add a new 'Open with Notepad' context menu, by opening Registry Editor and following the steps below:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\]

Right-click on the key above, select New>Key and create a new key called Open with Notepad then right-click on this new key, select New>Key again to create a new key under it called command with the final result looking like this:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\Open with Notepad\command]

Highlight the command key and in the right pane, double-click on the (Default) entry and enter the following text exactly as shown:

notepad.exe %1

Note tha t there is a single space between notepad.exe and the %1. Now whenever you right-click on a file it should have a new context menu entry called 'Open with Notepad', which when selected opens that file instantly in Notepad.

FIX INCORRECT FOLDER VIEWS
If your folder views are constantly being shown incorrectly, even after you have followed the instructions earlier in this chapter to set individual folder view types, then go to the following Registry key:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\
Windows\Shell\Bags]

You can then delete the entire Bags Key by right-clicking on it and selecting Delete. This should reset all your folder views, requiring you to customize them again but this time the settings will stick. Note that if this happens often it indicates that you may have data corruption issues which you should investigate.

SHOW SUPER HIDDEN FILES
If you've selected 'Show hidden files and folders' in Folder Options as covered above, you will see most hidden files and folders. However there are a class of system files which still won't show up, and you will
need to change the following setting:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced]

SuperHidden=1

Setting the DWORD above to =1 will allow you to view all hidden files after you reboot. Obviously it is not recommended that you alter these files unless there is a specific need, they're hidden for a reason.

EXPLORER RESTART SUBSTITUTE FOR REBOOT
There is a method of doing a reboot of the Explorer process as a substitute for having to do a full restart of Windows under certain circumstances. This is done as follows:

1. Open Task Manager - see the Performance Measurement & Diagnostics chapter
2. Under the Processes tab right-click on the Explorer.exe process and select 'End Process'. Confirm the End Process prompt which comes up. The Taskbar and parts of the screen will go blank.
3. Still in Task Manager, go to the File menu and select 'New Task (Run)'.
4. Type "explorer" (without quotes) in the box which opens and press Enter. Explorer will be reloaded and the interface should return to normal.

This method can help resolve problems with the Vista interface showing glitches or being unresponsive, or if a particula r file or program is not responding. Furthermore if you've implemented a Registry change then restarting Explorer will often implement the change without having to reboot. This method does not replace the need to reboot in most other circumstances such as during the installation of drivers, or after serious
errors.

KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS
Most people know that you can use the keyboard to speed up access to common commands and functions in Windows. A range of these are mentioned throughout this guide, however below is a consolidated table of all the main common keyboard shortcuts you can use to quickly access useful functions in Vista.

Keyboard Combination
Function


CTRL + C
Copy selected item(s)
CTRL + X
Cut selected item(s)
CTRL + V
Paste copied/cut item(s)
CTRL + Z
Undo last action
CTRL + Y
Redo last action
CTRL+ +
Force all columns to be shown in Explorer interfaces
SHIFT + DEL Delete highlighted item bypassing Recycle Bin
WINDOWS Open Start Menu
WINDOWS + D Minimize/Restore all Windows
WINDOWS + E Open Windows Explorer
WINDOWS + F Open Windows Search
WINDOWS + L Lock Workstation
WINDOWS + R Open Start>Run box
WINDOWS + F1 Open Help & Support
WINDOWS + Number Open Quick Bar item - number corresponds to order of item on Quick Bar
WINDOWS + TAB Switches between active programs in 3D Flip mode
CTRL + WINDOWS + TAB opens 3D Flip permanently,
TAB or arrow keys to cycle elements, ESC to exit
ALT + TAB Switch between active programs in 2D Task Switcher
CTRL + ALT + TAB opens Task Switcher permanently,
TAB or arrow keys to cycle elements, ESC to exit
CTRL + SHIFT + ESC Open Task Manager
ALT + F4
Close highlighted program
Show PC Shutdown options if Desktop or Taskbar highlighted
SHIFT + LEFT CLICK Select multiple items within a range
CTRL + LEFT CLICK Select multiple non-sequential items individually
TAB
Step forward through screen elements
SHIFT + TAB Step backward through screen elements
F2
Rename/Enter text for item
F5
Update/Refresh active window
SHIFT + F10 Open Context Menu

KEYBOARD AND MOUSE SUBSTITUTES
If you're having problems using your keyboard or mouse, either because one or the other is broken, or you are differently abled, there are two substitute methods you ca n use in Windows:

Microsoft Onscreen Keyboard: This utility can be accessed by going to Control Panel>Ease of Access Center and selecting it, or go to Start>Search Box and type "osk" (without quotes) then press Enter. A virtual keyboard will be displayed, allowing you to use your mouse to click on virtual keys as though you were using a keyboard. To make things easier, position it somewhere convenient and then select 'Always on Top' under the Settings menu so you don't constantly have to switch ba ck and forward between tasks to use it.

If you can't click the left mouse button to select keys, or want a quicker way of selecting keys, under the Settings menu select 'Typing Mode' and then 'Hover to Select', then set the length of time needed to hover over a key before it registers as an entry (values in seconds between 0.00 and 1.00 second). Now you can ra pidly move your mouse cu rsor over keys on the Onscreen Keyboard and it will register as an entry.

Mouse Keys: If instead of your keyboard you're having problems using the mouse, you can enable the Windows MouseKeys functionality by going to Control Panel>Ease of Access and select 'Make the mouse easier to use' and then tick the 'Turn on Mouse Keys' option. MouseKeys allows you to use the Numpad keys - the numerical keys on the far right of your keyboard - to move the mouse cursor around on screen.

You can configure these keys further by clicking the 'Set up Mouse Keys'.
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