The first major update for Windows 8.1 – dubbed Windows 8.1 Update 1 – was publicly released back in April 2014, and since then we’ve played with its many new features. Indeed, it’s a major update, one that should have been there since day one of the Windows 8 release, and while there are a few changes under the hood, the prime directive of Update 1 was seemingly to improve overall Windows experience for the desktop users. Today, we’re going to list six hotkey shortcuts that aim to improve your Windows 8.1 user experience one way or the other, from quickly closing Modern UI apps to accessing the Taskbar in Start Screen. So without any further ado, let’s get started.
1. Escape Key
Over the last two years, the Start Screen of Windows 8 has received a ton of negative press. So much so that Microsoft was finally forced to provide boot to desktop option to Windows 8 users. Still yet, the Start Screen remains an indispensable asset of Windows 8.1, and if you need to quickly move back to the Desktop from Start Screen, you can simply make use of the Escape key. You can press the Escape key to return to the Desktop but oddly hitting it again doesn’t take you back the Start Screen.
2. Win + T
Interestingly, Windows 8.1 Update 1 also adds the taskbar to the Modern UI. Not permanently, but it’s there. This means that you can access Taskbar in Modern UI apps and Start Screen. The only caveat however is that the Taskbar automatically hides itself after a few seconds. But you can press the Win + T hotkey combination to bring it up.
3. Win + Down Scroll Key
In Update 1, Microsoft has tweaked the way Modern UI apps work slightly too, which includes letting users minimize a Windows Store app directly to the Taskbar in order to quickly access it again. If you want to minimize a Modern UI app with your keyboard, the Win + Down scroll key does the trick. Unfortunately, Win + Up doesn’t maximize it again.
4. Win + Dot + Right or Left Scroll Keys
If you press the Win + Dot (Period) + Right or Left scroll keys, this will allow you to place up to four Modern UI apps (including Desktop) side by side. This combination is helpful when you need to quickly snap Windows or swap their current positions.
5. Alt + F4
Last, but definitely not the least, no other method can let you quickly close a Modern UI app than the good ol’ Alt + F4 shortcut combination. Try it, and you will thank us for that!
6. Home And End Keys
The desktop in Windows has always been an important asset to the users. It allows you to create application and file shortcuts in order to quickly access them. In Windows 8.1, if you press the Home key when in desktop mode, it will take you to the first desktop icon (as demonstrated to the left). Conversely, pressing the End key will move the focus to the last shortcut icon in the last row of the desktop. This can come in handy when quickly opening ‘This PC’ by placing this shortcut in the first row of your desktop icons (Home + Enter, anyone?).