Three Timesaving Tricks for Faster Use of Windows


Looking for some quick ways to use Windows better? Then I have three tricks for you. They may be simple but they will make Windows easier to use.

1. Restore a docked or maximized window to its original size and position

Windows 7 and 8.x let you dock an open window to the left side of the screen. This is handy for putting two windows side by side on the desktop. But what if you want to restore a docked window to its former size and location? Just double-click in the title bar and the docked window is back to where it was. (One exception to this that I have noticed is Word 2013, which first maximizes.)

Double-clicking in the title bar can also toggle between a maximized window and a window with the original size and location. Although switching between a maximized window and the original can also be done with the maximize button, the title bar is a much bigger target. On touch screens, this could be useful.

2. Quick ways to open another instance of a program or feature

Sometimes you want to have several instances of something open. For example, it is often convenient to have File Explorer open in two separate windows in order to carry out some file operation.  Clicking the usual way on the File Explorer taskbar icon won’t work to open a second window. However, if you use the mouse middle-button to click a taskbar icon of an already open program, a second window will open. Another way is to hold down the Shift key while clicking with the usual left button. Applies to Windows 7 and 8.x.

3. Quickly minimize all open windows except the active one

It isn’t unusual to end up with quite a few open windows on the desktop.  If you want to reduce the clutter, an easy way to minimize all but the active window is use the keyboard shortcut Winkey+Home.  To restore all the minimized windows to the desktop, repeat Winkey+Home.  Applies to Windows 7 and 8.x.

Another (but trickier) way to minimize all windows except one is to place the mouse pointer in the title bar of the window you want to stay open, hold down the left click button, and shake the window back and forth several times.  For example, try three shakes left-right-left. Applies to Windows 7 and 8.x.

And there you have it – three useful timesavers

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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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Always liked the shake option, not a lot of people know this one, the grand children think it is great fun.

I've been using Winkey+D (show the desktop) and Winkey+M (minimize all windows including the active window) for a long time, but these are new to me.