Standard Windows XP hotkeys: overview, features and recommendations

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Standard Windows XP hotkeys: overview, features and recommendations
Standard Windows XP hotkeys: overview, features and recommendations

Windows is the most popular operating system in the world. The number of its users is estimated in tens and even hundreds of millions of people. Microsoft developers responsible for creating new versions of the OS have always understood the level of responsibility that lies with them. Therefore, we tried every time to produce a product that would be comfortable to use. Windows XP is no exception. To improve the usability of the operating system, Windows XP hotkeys were introduced. This article will discuss in detail why they are needed, what actions they perform.

Windows XP desktop
Windows XP desktop

Term Definition

Hot keys Windows XP - buttons on the keyboard, which, when pressed simultaneously, perform some kind of programmed action. They are pre-set in the system memory. The user will only have to learn them in order to save time when performing any actions.

It's worth noting that hotkeys are available not only in Windows XP. Other operating systemsincluding mobile platforms, support certain combinations that make it easier to navigate the device.

Another thing is that they are different everywhere. For example, some hotkeys that work on Windows (switching the language to Shift and Alt) will not work on Mac OS. In the Apple operating system, a different set of buttons is responsible for this action, which are not available on Windows keyboards.

Photo of hot buttons
Photo of hot buttons

Why needed

These keys make the system much easier to use. Of course, it is possible to control with one mouse, but it will not be superfluous if the second free hand helps to control using the keyboard.

For example, you can press the key combination "Windows and M" to minimize the window with hotkeys on Windows XP. If you do not use them, you need to put the mouse cursor in the upper right corner and click. If you have more than one application open, this action is not very convenient.

Let's take another example. Each user will agree that it is much more convenient to press the combination of language switching keys once (for someone it is alt=""Image" and Shift, for someone it is "Image" and Ctrl) than to search the necessary icon in the status bar below, click on it and select the desired language.

And there are many such examples. All of them confirm the importance of using hotkeys, which really save time and make the user experience more comfortable.

Keyboard photo
Keyboard photo

Combinations with Ctrl

The Windows XP hotkey set, which includes the Ctrl key, isknown to every user. But it will be useful to remind him. If you hold down the C button simultaneously with Ctrl, then the text selected on the screen will be copied, X - cut, V - pasted; A - the entire text of the active page or active working field will be selected, S - the current document will be saved; O - a dialog is called that allows you to select a file to open, P - the document is printed, N - a new document is created. If you press the Z key at the same time, then the current action will be canceled, again - the previous action will also be canceled. True, in some programs such as Adobe Photoshop, this combination cancels only the last action and returns it by pressing it again.

If you press Ctrl and F4 at the same time, the current window of the running program will close.

The combination of Ctrl with "Image" and Del is one of the most famous sets of hotkeys. It opens the Windows Security window, where the user can choose what to do with the system: change the password, block access, or turn off the computer completely.

Combination with the End key on the right panel, activated by the Num Lock key, allows you to quickly jump to the end of the file, instead of long scrolling with the mouse wheel, for example, and with the Home key, it allows you to jump to the beginning of the document.

Interface in Microsoft Word
Interface in Microsoft Word

Combinations with Alt

Another popular button included in the Windows XP hotkey set is Alt.

For example, pressing this button in combination with Enter or double-clicking the left mouse button on an objectinvokes the properties of that object. It is worth mentioning that this combination is applicable only for files. It is they who have the properties.

By pressing "Image" and Tab you can switch between different applications of the system, and if you hold down Tab with F4, you can exit the application completely or just close the window.

If you press Tab and the space bar at the same time, the system menu of the window that is currently in the active state will appear on the computer screen.

Produce hot key combinations and Windows XP screen rotation. This is done with Ctrl, "Image" and arrows.

What does the Microsoft Excel interface look like?
What does the Microsoft Excel interface look like?

Combinations with Win

Not all users know about this button. Win is a standard Windows XP hotkey in all programs based on this operating system. It is usually located to the left of the space bar near the "Image" key and looks like four branded windows that greet users when the system boots.

If you simply press this key, the Start menu will open, and if you use it in combination with Tab, you will be able to switch between program windows, with F1, a set of Windows XP hotkeys is activated, giving tips or help on working with the operating system; with R - a window will open that executes the "Run" command, where you can enter various system commands (for example, open the console, open the root folder, and many others), F - a window will open to search for this or that information on a page or window, E - will open application "Mycomputer", D - the desktop will open, and if you press Win + D again, then all the windows opened earlier will return to their original position, M - as described above, will minimize all windows, L - will lock the computer.

The last combination is very useful for office workers or for those who need to quickly hide the information contained in the system from prying eyes.


It is often convenient to use Windows XP hotkeys and keyboard shortcuts to select multiple items, such as photos in an album or documents in a folder.

The following combinations can serve for this: Shift and arrows (left mouse button), Ctrl and arrows (left mouse button).

With Shift it is convenient to select large amounts of data. For example, clicking on the first object of the conditional list and on the tenth will select everything that is between the first and tenth inclusive.

With Ctrl you can select objects selectively. For example, if you press Ctrl on the first object and on the tenth, only they will be selected.

It depends on the situation.

Top row F keys

At the top of the keyboard are the F buttons, the basic hotkeys for Windows applications.

Pressing F1 calls up help for the currently active application. We can say that in this way they give Windows XP hotkeys advice to users. F2 - renames the selected object (this is much more convenient than clicking on it with the left mouse button and looking for the "Rename" column). F3 - Opens a search box on the desktop or in File Explorer. F4 - ona drop-down list appears on the screen that you can view, or you navigate to the address bar in File Explorer or Internet Explorer. F5 - in most system and non-system applications, activates the "Refresh" action. F6 - Moves the focus between panels in the File Explorer application. F10 - focus shifts to the menu of this active application.

What the Internet Explorer Interface for Windows XP Looks Like
What the Internet Explorer Interface for Windows XP Looks Like

Common hotkeys

The keyboard itself (whether a laptop or a full-fledged personal computer) has a large number of hot keys that, without combinations, perform some important actions that make it easier to work with the system.

For example, the Print screen key takes a screenshot of the current screen. It can be opened and processed or saved in any graphics editor (in particular, in Paint). By the way, if you press this key at the same time as Alt, then a snapshot of the window active at the moment the screenshot is taken will be placed on the clipboard.

The Esc key closes or minimizes this dialog or any other active window, and the Del key deletes the selected objects. If we are talking about a text document, then it deletes all text, characters that follow before the cursor. A long press of the Tab key will move the focus in the dialog box, and the space bar will act as an activation button or set the so-called flag.

Numeric keypad (activated with Num Lock)

On this type-setting field, as you can see, there are not only numbers, but also variousother objects, including algebraic signs, slashes, and arrows. If you use this field within the framework of, for example, "Explorer", then with the arrows, the "plus" and "minus" buttons you can configure navigation, that is, collapse and expand directories, go into them, view the contents, and you can display everything with an asterisk folders that are nested in this directory.

hot key combinations
hot key combinations


We introduced you not only to what hot keys are in the Windows XP operating system, but also gave specific examples of them, combinations, and also told what actions these combinations perform.

Knowing hotkeys not only for Windows XP, but also for other versions and other systems is very useful. Using them saves a lot of time. Yes, on the scale of a single action, this is seconds, but on the scale of a large project, these are minutes that add up to hours.

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