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Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

If you're planning on upgrading your PC to Windows 8, but you're not forking out for a new touchscreen computer, it's time to learn the keyboard shortcuts.

Now playing: Watch this: How To: Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

Microsoft has designed Windows 8 for touchscreens, but many of us will still be using the old keyboard and mouse to get around. So, it's time to learn the Windows 8-specific keyboard shortcuts.

In the video above, you can see most of the basic shortcuts in action. This is essential knowledge for any Windows 8 user sitting in front of a keyboard. The vast majority of these shortcuts start with the Windows button on the keyboard, and are completed by pressing another key simultaneously.

The basics

Windows key Your "get out of jail free" card. Striking the Windows key by itself will return you to the home screen.
Windows + D This command will exit whatever app you are in and take you to the Desktop view. Expect this to be a favourite of gamers for some time to come.
Type anything From the home screen, typing anything on the keyboard will launch a universal search. By default, this will search first for apps, but you can quickly switch to search a number of fields, including the web.
Windows + C The Charms menu is one of the iconic features of Windows 8. To access the Charms without a touchscreen, use Windows + C, then the cursor keys and Enter to choose the Charm you are looking for.
Windows + Q If poking around in the Charms is too much bother, Windows + Q will skip the first step and take you straight to Search. This is context sensitive, so it will launch a search based on the app you are in.
Windows + I Microsoft wants you to forget about Control Panel (even though it is still available). To jump into your system's settings, start with this command.
Windows + W If you need to search for a specific setting to adjust, this combo will bring up a search box dedicated to the task.
Windows + H Similar to iOS and Android, Windows 8 now shares content from app to app. Looking at a photo and want to email it? Press Windows + H in the photo gallery, and you're away.
Windows + "." Windows 8 can display two apps at the same time. Windows + full-stop snaps them into position, changintg the position if you repeat the command.
Windows + Z The full-screen app experience is one of the key design tenants in Windows 8, but this means that all of your options are hidden. To reveal them, press Windows + Z.
Windows + L When the day is done and it's time to put Windows to bed, Windows + L will lock your screen.

More advanced commands

Windows + X Probably the most useful command for advanced users, Windows + X opens a menu over the Metro homescreen giving access to classic system tools like Control Panel and Task Manager.
Windows + R Launch the Run dialogue (Desktop mode).
Windows + E Launch Windows Explorer (Desktop mode).
Windows + K Brings up a list of all connected devices, like wireless peripherals.
Windows + F Launch a file search.
Windows + "," Windows + comma minimises all applications and shows the Desktop, but for only as long as you hold down the keys.
Windows + M Minimises all active Desktop applications.
Windows + Shift+ M Maximises all active Desktop applications.

These shortcuts should be enough to give you a head start into using Windows 8 without a touchscreen. If you know of other tips or tricks, make sure you leave them for us in the comments section below.

Also, for a look at how to interact with the new Windows 8 interface, watch our beginner's guide video here.