Jun 02 2004

Surviving windoze …

Tags: Rajiv @ 6:18 am GMT-0700

Over the past couple of years I have learned some tricks to survive on windows …

Keyboard shortcuts

  • Ctrl+Esc: Same as Win
  • Ctrl+Shift+Esc: Brings up the task manager. [It is faster than Ctrl+Alt+Del and then choosing task manager.]
  • Win+D: Toggle show desktop
  • Win+E: Start explorer
  • Win+F: Start find in files
  • Win+M: Minimize all windows
  • Win+shift+M: Restore minimized windows
  • Win+R: Run a program
  • F2: Rename a file/dir in explorer
  • F3: Find in the select dir of explorer

Know thy cmd

  • You can start one using Win+R cmd
  • start <dir-name>: opens an explorer pointing to that directory
  • start <file-name>: opens the file with its default handler. For example start <src.zip> will open the src.zip file in IZArc if it is your default zip file handler
  • F7: View command history
  • F8: Complete the command based on history
  • Right click on the title bar, choose properties, in the options tab switch on the “QuickEdit Mode” and “Insert Mode”
  • Making a selection on the cmd [by dragging the mouse over the text in the cmd when “QuickEdit Mode” is on] will make the scrolling stop. The application might also stop if it cannot write any more data to its outputstream, making it look like a “hung” application.
  • You can enable file/dir name completion in cmd on typing tab

File name completion in cmd

I always missed the tab completion feature of *nix shells in windows. Long ago Sachin told me how to acheive the same in windows. Do a Win+R regedit. In the tree navigate to : HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/CommandProcessor. On the right panel you will see CompletionChar. Double click on it and set the value to hex 9. Next time you start a cmd, you can use the tab character to for file/directory name completion.

Adding a “command” menu item to explorer folders

Wouldn’t you want to add a right click menu item in explorer selecting which you could open a cmd with the directory appropriately set?!

Screen grab showing a new menu item called command to Explorer's popup menu.

Do a Win+R regedit. In the tree navigate to :HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Folder/shell. Right-click on the shell folder and choose New > Key. Give it a name cmd. The name you give is the name of the menu item. Choose the cmd folder and choose New > Key. Give it the name command [has to be command … nothing else]. Choose the command folder and double click on the (Default) item in the right hand panel. Set the value to cmd. Next time you start explorer, right click on any folder and you will get the cmd menu item. Choosing the menu item will open a command prompt with its directory set to the selected folder in explorer.

Favourite command line utilities …

There is nothing like it if you can install cygwin. However if you are constrained for time/bandwidth, try the 3MB download from http://unxutils.sourceforge.net. It has all the utilites like tail, diff, and compression tools like gzip/bzip2 … natively compiled on windows.

Things I still badly miss …

One thing I really still miss is the locate command. Honestly, I haven’t tried the windows indexing service. So I have no clue how good a replacement it is. Nor have I tried the tools like: X1 or OmniMea. I have also that google’s “puffin project” is going to bring google to desktop. There seems to be some action regarding this even in the M$ Longhorn camp.

  • email
  • del.icio.us
  • DZone
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Ma.gnolia
  • Google Bookmarks
  • YahooMyWeb
  • SphereIt
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Mixx
  • TwitThis
  • Furl
  • Simpy

No trackbacks


  1. Simon B

    You can get a lot more use out of the Windows key than that…


    Simon B.

  2. Anonymous

    Here’s another one for you:

    F6 – Activate location bar in Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Firefox…

  3. Chris Stehno

    I have been looking for a way to open command windows in a specific directory for years. Thanks for the great info!

    Chris Stehno

  4. Rejeev

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to comments on this post

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>