Six Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows 8.1 Update


Keyboard shortcuts are always popular but they are especially useful in Windows 8.x on non-touchscreen systems. A previous tip gave some of the common keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8 and here are six more for Windows 8.1 Update.

1. Winkey+T – If you are on the Start screen, you can use this shortcut to open the taskbar there. This is a new feature in Windows 8.1 Update.

2. Winkey+period+right arrow – Allows you to place up to four full screen apps side by side. The combination Winkey+period+left arrow can also be used. Personally, I find pressing all three keys used in this shortcut to be awkward. Another new feature in Windows 8.1 Update.

3. Home key – If you are using the desktop interface and the desktop has the focus, pressing the Home key takes you to the first desktop icon. This seems to be new in Windows 8.1 Update. Pressing the End key supposedly moves the focus to the “last” desktop icon. However, I am not sure how “last” is defined and personally I find that it is hard to predict which icon will get selected when the End key is pressed.

4. Escape key – Returns from Start screen to the desktop interface.  Similar in some way to pressing Windows key but does not work as a toggle. Pressing the Escape key again does not take you from the desktop back to the Start Screen.

5. Winkey+down arrow – This closes a Start screen app but the app remains running in the background. It will still be present in the desktop taskbar.

6. Alt+F4 – This is not new but is very useful and worth mentioning. It shuts down a full screen app completely so it doesn’t take up memory. If you are using the desktop, this shortcut will bring up a dialog for shutting down the computer when the desktop has the focus.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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I am a little confused about 8.1 update
Are there two 8.1's
And one of those is called update.
Or can I say (think) that any PC that has 8.1 has 8.1 update ?

PS Has anyone come across a program that can snoop around and list every possible current active available shortcut for your running OS ?

Crombierob, you aren't the only one confused by the way Microsoft has decided to name things. There are two versions of Windows 8.1 - the original Windows 8.1 and the newer Windows 8.1 Update. It would certainly have been clearer if Windows 8.1 Update had been called Windows 8.2 or 8.1.1 or something like that. In any event, Windows 8.1 Update is different from Windows 8.1. Another unusual thing Microsoft is doing is to give only a limited time for Windows 8.1 to be upgraded to Windows 8.1 Update. For example, see this link:

Thanks for clarifying that.
Considering the importance, and restrictions you mentioned, you would think that MS would clearly indicate in the OS, if that update has been applied.
Yet as best I can tell the only way you know is if there is a new Search Icon top right of that flippin Metro screen.
I am trying to assist someone remotely (on some programs that wont run in Windows 8.1). They had already gotten rid of the Metro screen, and there is no way I will risk putting that back up, just to look for the wee Search icon.

A couple of hours ago, I remotely went to the updates screen, to see if "8.1 update" was on offer. There were updates pending (not sure if they were "8.1 update").
I allowed the restart, in the hope that it was "8.1 update", and in the added hope that it may help the programs that won't run.
The remote software is meant to start by itself after reboots, but on this occasion, it did not restart. I will have to wait until the staff return to work tomorrow.

Good tips Vic. Trying some of them and they work as described. BTW, when jumping to a desktop icon, pressing the 'Home' key seems to take you to the first icon in the top row, while pressing the 'End' key seems to take you to the last icon in the bottom row. At least it works for me this way.
Yes, "Home" takes you to the first icon in the top row. My icons are not always arranged all that orderly and I can get "End" to take me to different icons with slightly different arrangements. People who are tidier than I am probably don't have this problem.
You've got it right Vic. I have had the option of "Align to grid" checked so the icons are neatly arranged in rows. If this option is unchecked, I think it is then up to the system to detect if the icons fall into the same row :)