Shifty business

If you tend to use just your mouse or just your keyboard, you're missing out on some power moves you'd get by using the two in tandem. The following tricks involve using the mouse while holding down the key. After you try one, you'll be glad you're not shift-less.

Extend selections. The key is most useful for selecting a range of text in a word processor or for selecting files in a folder. If one desktop icon is already selected (or has a dotted border around its name, indicating that it has the window focus), click another icon to select both icons and all other icons in between. Holding as you press any arrow key or the , , or key extends the selection of desktop icons in the direction indicated.

Delete forever. Pressing - deletes the selected file or folder without storing it in the Recycle Bin. For the same result, -drag an icon to the Recycle Bin. However, if you've set your Recycle Bin preferences not to store deleted objects, holding while deleting will achieve the opposite result - your objects will be deposited in the Recycle Bin.

Open a tree view. -double-click a selected folder icon to open that folder in a two-pane Explorer window. You must select the folder first; otherwise, using the key could cause your double-clicking to apply to a whole range of icons.

Open in the background. -double-click a selected application icon or shortcut to open that application minimised - but ready to go - on the desktop. If you have several windows open on your desktop, the app opens at the bottom of the stack; the current folder window remains active.

Close all windows. If each of your folders is set to allow browsing with a separate window (using View-Options), and you open a series of nested folders, -click the close box of the last opened folder to close it and all previous folders in the series. For the same effect, press as you choose File-Close from the folder window's menu.

Force a move. When you drag an icon from one disk to another, Windows creates a copy by default. And when you drag an application icon anywhere out of its installed location, Windows creates a shortcut by default. To force Windows to move the object (rather than creating a copy or a shortcut), hold down as you drag.

Go back. In any dialogue box, you can move from option to option by pressing the key. Similarly, if the desktop or taskbar is active, pressing cycles the focus from desktop icons to the Start button to the taskbar. If you have IE 4.x or Win 98, Quick Launch and other toolbars are included in the cycle. (Use the arrow keys to move the focus within these areas.) Pressing - reverses the order of this cycling, both in dialogue boxes and on the desktop. Note: The - combination does not reverse cycling properly in Windows 98; this is a known bug.

Start all over again. To restart Windows without rebooting the entire PC, choose Start-Shut Down and select Restart. Hold down as you click Yes or OK. Keep it depressed until you see 'Windows is now restarting' on your screen.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scott Dunn

PC World
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?