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.

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Scott Dunn

PC World
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