How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

Microsoft Windows has a feature called Mouse Keys that lets you move the mouse pointer, pixel by pixel, by pressing the arrow keys on your numeric keypad. Mouse Keys is an “Ease of Use” feature, helping users who cannot operate a mouse. Other users may find Mouse Keys useful if their mouse breaks, or runs out of batteries, for example.

  • How to enable/disable Mouse Keys.
    • Using keyboard shortcut
    • In Windows 10
    • In Windows 8
    • In Windows 7, Vista, or XP.
  • How to use Mouse Keys.

How to enable/disable Mouse Keys

Keyboard shortcut

In all versions of Windows, you can toggle Mouse Keys on and off with a keyboard shortcut.

  1. Press LeftAlt + LeftShift + Num Lock on your keyboard at the same time to get a dialog box similar to the example shown below.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

  1. When the window appears, press spacebar or Enter to choose Yes.
  2. Repeat this process to turn Mouse Keys off.

Windows 10

In Windows 10, you can toggle Mouse Keys in your Ease of Access settings. If your mouse isn’t working, use the Tab key and Spacebar to navigate through menus.

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard.
  2. In the box that appears, type Ease of Access mouse settings and press Enter .
  3. In the Mouse Keys section, toggle the switch under Use numeric pad to move mouse around the screen to On.
  4. Press Alt + F4 to exit this menu.
  1. Press Windows key + R to open the Run box.
  2. Type ms-settings: and press Enter . (Don’t forget the colon: after ms-settings).

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

  1. In your Settings window, the text cursor is already in the search box. Type mouse keys. Press the down arrow on your keyboard to select the first suggestion, Control the mouse pointer with the keyboard.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

  1. Press Enter . The Ease of Use settings for your mouse is opened.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

  1. The black box indicates your keyboard controls the on/off button labeled Turn on Mouse Keys to use the numeric keypad to move the mouse pointer. Press Space to toggle the button to the On position.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

  1. Mouse Keys are now enabled, but by default, they only work if Num Lock is turned on. Press the Num Lock key on your keyboard to toggle Num Lock on and off.

You’ll hear a high pitched beep when you turn on Num Lock. This sound lets you know your numeric keyboard is controlling your mouse pointer. Press 8 , 6 , 4 , and 2 (up, left, right, down) on your numeric keypad, and the mouse pointer moves one pixel in that direction.

If you are using a laptop, Num Lock is usually toggled by pressing Fn + Num Lock . Some laptop numeric keypad’s share keys with other numbers and keyboard letters (e.g., 7 , 8 , 9 , U , I , O , J , K , L ). When the Num Lock is on, these keys produce a number when pressed. See your laptop’s manual for information specific to your laptop.

To stop using Mouse Keys, press Num Lock to disable your numeric keypad. To permanently disable Mouse Keys, repeat steps 1–4, and toggle the Mouse Keys button to Off.

Windows 8

If the shortcut key combination listed above did not work, you may enable or disable Mouse Keys, using the following steps. If your mouse isn’t working, use the Tab key and spacebar to navigate through menus.

  1. With nothing selected, type the word “Mouse” anywhere on the Start Screen.
  2. Arrow down to Ease of Access mouse settings and press Enter .
  3. Toggle the switch under Mouse Keys to On.
  4. Press Alt + F4 to exit this menu.

Windows XP, Vista and 7

If the shortcut key combination listed above did not work, you may enable or disable Mouse Keys using the following steps. If your mouse isn’t working, use the Tab key and spacebar to navigate through menus.

  1. While viewing the desktop, press the Windows key or click Start in the lower-left corner.
  2. Select Control Panel from the list on the right side.
  3. In the Control Panel, open Ease of Access.
  4. Under Ease of Access Center, select Change how your mouse works.
  5. Check the check box next to Turn on Mouse Keys.
  6. Click Apply, then OK.

If you want to change the cursor’s movement speed or other settings, select Set up Mouse Keys.

How to use Mouse Keys

The following table shows each of the keys on the Numeric Keypad and how they interact with the mouse cursor. Make sure you’re only using the Keypad to execute these actions.


There are situations when you need to move the mouse pointer from the right edge of the monitor to the left edge (after closing a maximized application, for example). It may be very annoying, especially if you are obliged doing it hundreds of times every day (a wide-screen monitor makes it even worse).

The situation is more aggravating when you work with multiple monitors. You need moving the mouse pointer through several monitors (probably, wide-screen too), not one. Actual Multiple Monitors provides a robust and convenient solution for this problem – Wrap the Desktop feature.

This feature allows ignoring boundaries of all monitors. So, if the mouse pointer exceeds any boundary, it will appear on the opposite side of the desktop instantly.

How do you turn on Mouse Wrapping on multiple monitors?

To enable Mouse Wrapping, you need to open the Actual Multiple Monitors Settings dialog and find the tab, called Mouse.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

Find and check the option ‘Wrap the desktop’, among all others multi-monitor mouse settings. Also, you can sel ect the wrapping mode:

    Horizontally – removes the vertical boundaries. When the mouse pointer crosses the left boundary, it appears at the right boundary of the monitor, and vice versa.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8
Vertically – removes the horizontal boundaries. When the mouse pointer crosses the top boundary, it appears at the bottom boundary of the monitor, and vice versa.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8
Entirely – removes all desktops boundaries. This option combines the behavior of two previous options.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

Since this moment, the mouse pointer will pass through the boundaries of your desktop.

3. Conclusion

In addition to Wrap the Desktop, Actual Multiple Monitors offers many other mouse options for multiple monitors:

  • Tight monitor boundaries. The mouse pointer will be stopped on the border of monitors for preset time before going to the next monitor. This feature protects the mouse pointer from accidental moving to the next monitor. It solves the problem with intuitive click on the Close button of a maximized window, for example.
  • Lock mouse in monitor. Mouse pointer will not be able to leave borders of the current monitor. This feature will be useful when working with full screen applications, because losing focus for a full screen application often leads to an automatic minimization of this application.
  • Scroll inactive windows. You can scroll any inactive window with the mouse wheel while keeping your current application active. This feature will be useful for typing information in some program fr om a document that does not allow simple text copying (like images, scans, etc.).
  • And much more…

Actual Multiple Monitors

  • How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

Resize windows: Simplify your web construction with Resize Window

The Resize Window control will help you resize any window in a flash: Right click on it and you will access the drop-down list of window sizes including 640×480, 800×600, 1024×768, 100%x100%, 50%x50%, 0%x100%, etc.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

Desktop Mirroring – New Feature of Actual Multiple Monitors 3.1

Know more about new feature of the best multiple monitor software Actual Multiple Monitors 3.1 – Desktop Mirroring.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

How to Mirror any Window to a Desired Display on Dual Monitors in Windows 8

Desktop Mirroring – additional feature for dual monitors in Windows 8. Mirror any window, application, monitor, or area in the special window on any display.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

New Selector for the Move to Monitor Title Button

Move a window to the desired position of multiple monitors in one click by the improved Move to Monitor selector.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

The Most Popular Resources to Download Dual Monitor Wallpapers

Use this article to find cool dual screen wallpapers and personalize your dual monitor desktop.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

How to Make Your Desktop More Useful with Actual Window Guard

Best software to get full control of startup windows.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

How to make your computer work faster

Adjust finely the priority of your programs with Actual Tools software.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

How to find a folder to which Skype saves received files and open it in 2 clicks

With the latest updates, Skype no longer prompts the user to save a file somewhere, but immediately saves all files to a specially designated folder, and finding the folder to move files fr om it to another directory, or open them with an application other than that set by default, is sometimes a difficult task.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

Recent Folders & Favorite Folders – New Title Buttons for Convenient Work

In the new version of Actual Window Manager you’re got the opportunity of using two new title buttons – Recent Folders and Favorite Folders. These buttons will make your work more convenient.

How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

Improved Windows 8/8.1 Dual Monitor Taskbar

Multiple monitor support in Windows 8.1 contains only several new features, including a limited multi-monitor taskbar. This is not enough to make work with several displays convenient. That is why Actual Multiple Monitors provides a large set of different tools improving multiple-monitors environment. This is a best alternative to the native Windows 8.1 multiple monitor support.

Windows and the Windows logo are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

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Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview should put to rest any doubts that the company wasn’t serious about creating a touch-first operating system. So mice and keyboard PC users looking to upgrade to Windows 8 later in 2012, are going to have to get used to living in a touch-centric world. Unless Microsoft makes a major reversal in the coming months, that is.

Windows 8 Metro interface Not only do you have to deal with the new touch-friendly Metro interface borrowed from Windows Phone 7, but you’re going to have to throw out your old way of navigating with a mouse and get used to the idea of hot corners.

If you’re unfamiliar with hot corners, basically you will be triggering system actions by hovering over the upper and lower corners of your screen.

Here’s a look at what you can expect when using a mouse in Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Getting In

To sign-in to a Windows 8 session, you have to log in with your Microsoft Account (formerly your Windows Live account). But first you have to get past the Windows 8 lock screen. To do this you can either click and drag the picture up towards the top of the screen or just double right-click to get the sign-in page.

Bye, Bye Start Button, Hello Start Screen

No Start button in lower left of screen To move between your desktop and the rest of your Windows 8 PC, you’ll turn to where you always have to switch between programs: the lower left corner of the desktop.

But you’ll notice the Start button is no longer there. Instead you have a hot corner in the lower left that brings up a prompt to go back to the Start screen.

This shows what is perhaps the biggest change PC users are going to have to get used to in Windows 8. The traditional Windows desktop is no longer the primary interface. Your PC desktop is now just another app that you switch into and out of using the Metro-style Start screen.

Getting back to the Start screen from the lower left corner works whether you’re in the traditional desktop or any other app. Just let your mouse hover over the lower left corner, and a mini-Start screen will pop-up. Clicking the pop-up will take you back to the Start screen.

You can also right-click the Start screen hot corner to bring up a menu of features familiar to longtime Windows users such as Programs and Features, Network Connections, Device Manager, Command Prompt, Task Manager, Control Panel, Windows Explorer, Search, and Run.

If you move to the Start screen hot corner when you’re on the Start screen itself, the lower left corner acts as a back button, taking you to your most recently used app.

Going Back

Hover over the upper left corner of your screen to get back to your most recently visited app. Since Windows 8 is optimized for touchscreen devices, all Metro-style apps are presented in full screen, meaning you need a convenient way to quickly switch between previously used apps.

To do this, you hover over the upper left corner of your screen. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the Desktop, the Start Screen, or any other app, the upper left corner will always let you get back to your most recently visited app.

To see a selection of all your most recently used apps, hover over the upper left corner and then pull your mouse down towards the center of the left side of the screen.

The BackStrip shows a thumbnail strip of all your recently opened apps. This will bring up a thumbnail strip of all your most recently opened apps.

If you want to navigate between different screens inside an app–an example would be when you are moving between photos in the Metro-style Photos app–a back arrow should appear when you click or hover over the displayed content.

The Right Side

The Windows 8 Charms Bar contains a set of system commands such as Settings and Search. The right side of your screen has one purpose: to activate the Windows 8 Charms Bar, which contains a set of system commands such as Settings, Search, Devices, and a link back to the Start Screen.

The Charms Bar also has a share feature that, as its name implies, lets you share content with others.

In my tests, I was only able to share content via e-mail, but that should change as more Metro-style apps become available and hook into the Windows 8’s sharing feature.

You can access the Charms Bar by hitting the upper or lower right corner. This will only bring up the bar, but the links won’t be active, presumably to stay out of your way in case you triggered the Charms Bar by accident.

An active Charms Bar will have a black background. Once you hover over one of the Charms, however, the bar becomes active. An active Charms Bar will have a black background.

Moving Side to Side

The Start screen has such a large collection of app tiles that it can’t fit on one full screen so you have to slide the screen over to see the next set of apps. There are several ways you can do this.

You can use the navigation slider that appears at the bottom of the screen, or, if your mouse has a scroll wheel, you can use that to move between app screens. In my tests, I could also use a two-finger gesture on my laptop’s touchpad to scroll across all my Start screen apps.

Metro Internet Explorer

Metro IE puts the URL address bar and basic browser controls at the bottom of the screen. Windows 8 comes with two versions of Internet Explorer: one for the desktop and another touch-friendly Metro-style version.

Metro IE puts the URL address bar along with basic browser controls such as stop, back, forward, refresh, and settings at the bottom of the screen instead of the top.

To get rid of the browser bar so you can have a full screen view of your web page, click anywhere on the content you’re viewing.

To get back to the browser bar, right-click on an empty area anywhere on the page you’re viewing. The right-click will also show you a menu of your open tabs at the top of the screen. You can also get to a Metro-style view of your frequently visited pages by clicking on the plus button in the open tab view.

Navigating Windows 8 with a mouse is a little tricky, and somewhat confusing for Windows veterans, but once you get the hang of it. well, it’s like navigating a touchscreen with your mouse.

Have you downloaded Windows 8 Consumer Preview? Or do you have no interest in changing to a new version of Windows? Either way, we’d like to hear your opinion. Please take PCWorld’s Windows 8 Survey. It’ll take five minutes or less.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video about Microsoft Windows 8, check out PCWorld’s complete Windows 8 coverage.

#1 JAGUAR1950

New to this site and wondered if anyone else is having the same problem:

Started approximately 2 days ago I have a continuous spinning blue circle next to my mouse pointer on the desktop. I have checked on several other forums trying to find a fix, although many people are also complaining of the same problem.

My computer is running fine with no other problems can anyone HELP? Please.

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#2 rp88

Edited by rp88, 24 May 2015 – 10:30 AM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#3 JohnC_21

When Windows 8 shuts down it is not a true shutdown. It’s more of a hybrid shutdown to allow for a fast boot. Try a true shutdown and reboot. Type CMD in the search box and Right Click > Run as Administrator.

At the command prompt type the following.

/s tells the computer to do a shutdown and not a reboot. /t /0 tell the computer to shutdown immediately.

After the computer shuts down reboot and see if you still have the spinning circle.

And Welcome to BC.

Edited by JohnC_21, 24 May 2015 – 11:05 AM.

#4 JAGUAR1950

Thanks for the help guys:

Tried the command prompt and a reboot but still have the spinning circle its driving me NUTS. .

#5 JohnC_21

Did you add any program during the last two days? You can do a System Restore before the issue began. If you added any file or folder to the desktop after the Restore Point, copy it to your documents folder.

#6 usasma

Still visually handicapped (avatar is memory developed by my Dad

  • BSOD Kernel Dump Expert
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    The spinning circle indicates that something’s going on in the background.
    The problem is figuring out what it is – especially when it doesn’t cause other problems (such as slowness).

    Disable all the non-Windows extensions and reboot to see if that fixes it.
    If it does fix it, then re-enable half and see if the problem returns – continue to re-enable by half’s until you isolate the problem.

    If it doesn’t work, post back for some other suggestions.

    My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

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    30% blind in the left eye.

    If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that’s the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

    #7 JAGUAR1950

    After some more in depth research via Windows this Spinning circle problem appears to have been caused by: Windows auto update I am not sure which update is causing the problem but an update is not downloading correctly and is hanging / looping during download.

    Thus the Blue Spinning Circle on the desktop next to the mouse pointer this is within the past two weeks.

    Managed to solve the problem: Go to Control Panel – Trouble Shooting . System and Security Fix problems with Windows Update.

    You may have to run this as Administrator: Problems found FIXED.

    This worked for me and appears to have solved my problem.

    Thanks for all the help guys appreciated.

    #8 JohnC_21

    Interesting, As you said it seems to be a common problem. Thanks for posting the solution.

    Changes to Windows

    Navigating in Windows has changed in the following ways:

    • Windows 8 introduced the Start screen and full-screen Modern apps that are installed via the Store app; they use touch, mouse, and keyboard together.
    • Windows 8.1 reintroduced the Start button to make it easier to access the Start screen, and enabled an option to go directly to the desktop.
    • Windows 10 combines the best of Windows 8.1 with the return of a Start menu, Universal apps, and new features like Cortana, Notifications, Virtual Desktops, and Continuum. The Edge browser also replaces Internet Explorer. Windows 10 Universal apps are similar to Modern apps, but they run on a variety of Microsoft devices, including desktops, laptops, hybrids, tablets, and smartphones. You can resize Universal apps just like traditional desktop programs. Continuum enables you to switch between Desktop and Tablet mode.

    Get started with Windows 10 and Windows 8.1

    • Windows 10: See Microsoft’s Get Started with Windows 10.
    • Windows 8.1: See Microsoft’s Getting around your PC.

    Find tasks and features in your version of Windows

    In Windows 10and Windows 8.1, it can be easiest to find programs and features by searching for them.

    Also, all versions allow you to customize the Start menu or Start screen by right-clicking a program or app and choosing Pin to Start . If an application is already pinned to the Start screen, you’ll see Unpin from Start instead.

    Most of the same functions and features are available in all versions of Windows, but their locations have changed. In Windows 10 and Windows 8.x, some applications and features have both a Universal/Modern version (such as Settings) and a traditional version (such as the Control Panel).

    For help, contact your campus Support Center.

    Following is a list of common features and tasks and how to find them in your version of Windows.

    In the app, move your cursor to the top border of the screen; when the app’s title bar slides open, click X to close.

    Alternatively, move your cursor to the top of the screen and then drag down to the bottom.

    From All Apps, select Windows System , and then Command Prompt .

    Alternatively, search for command or cmd .

    Search for Devices and choose Devices from the results.

    Alternatively, from the Charms menu, select Settings , then Change PC Settings , then PC and devices , and then Devices .

    Search for Devices and choose Devices and Printers from the results.

    Alternatively, from the Control Panel, switch to View by Large Icons or View by Small Icons , and then go to Devices and Printers.

    From All Apps, select Windows System , right-click Command Prompt , and then choose Run as Administrator .

    Alternatively, search for command or cmd , right-click Command Prompt , and choose Run as Administrator .

    From the desktop, right-click the Network icon, and then select Network and Sharing Center .

    Alternatively, from the Control Panel, switch to View by Large Icons or View by Small Icons , and then go to the Network and Sharing Center.

    Right-click the Network icon and select Network and Sharing Center .

    Alternatively, go to Network and Internet settings and select Network and Sharing Center .

    From the Start screen, enter your search terms; alternatively, press Win-q .

    For best results, from the drop-down menu, choose Everywhere .

    From the Charms menu, select Settings and then Change PC Settings .

    Alternatively, press Win-i and select Change PC Settings .

    This is document alac in the Knowledge Base.
    Last modified on 2020-01-14 05:04:50 .

    Report abuse

    Replies (3) 

    Hi Sunnie. I’m Greg, an installation specialist, 10 years awarded Windows MVP, and Volunteer Moderator, here to help you.

    I will give you everything that works to troubleshoot a mouse. Even if you have tried a step please do it over in sequence. I will be standing by to help as needed.

    Try all other ports on the PC, often the front and back will have different USB controllers

    When did it last work correctly? What has changed since then? Is there a System Restore point to roll back to before then?

    Change the batteries if wireless, try another USB port, reset mouse from button on bottom if available.

    Try the mouse in another PC to isolate if it’s the mouse or Windows causing this.

    Try another mouse in this PC to confirm if Windows is the problem. It seems you did this but try one more time as this absolves the mouse and should change our focus.

    Access the Device Manager reached by right clicking the Start button, choose the Mouse, then Driver tab. First try Update this Driver > Automatically, then Roll Back if available. If not choose Uninstall button, restart PC using keyboard to Ctrl Alt Del, on blue screen tab to Power Icon in bottom right, press Enter, arrow down to Restart, press Enter to restart to reinstall the driver.

    If this fails then from Device manager try uninstalling the USB controllers, restart PC to reinstall. First program the power button to Shut down the PC at Settings > System > Power & Sleep > Additional Power Settings > Choose what Power button does so you can do the restart from it.

    Is there mouse software installed in Settings > Apps > Apps & Features? Uninstall it to see if the problem stops. This is unneeded bloatware.

    Adjust the mouse settings in Settings > Devices > Mouse, checking all settings including the Additonal Mouse Options box – check Settings on all tabs.

    Report back all results for possible other things to try.

    To check if Windows is causing this you can also go over this checklist to make sure the install is set up correctly, optimized for best performance, and any needed repairs get done:

    Start with Step 4 to turn off Startup freeloaders which can conflict and cause issues, then Step 7 to check for infection the most thorough way, then step 10 to check for damaged System Files. Then continue with the other steps to go over your install most thoroughly.

    Update your drivers from the PC maker’s Support Downloads web page, using the full model number, Serial Number or Dell Service Tag on sticker. Compare the latest drivers available for download with the ones presently installed in Device Manager reached by right clicking the Start Menu. Make sure you have the latest BIOS or UEFI firmware, Chipset, Display (Video), Sound, USB3, Bluetooth, Network and all other drivers, or else download and install the latest now.

    If nothing else helps you can run a Repair Install by installing the Media Creation Tool and choosing from it to Upgrade Now. This reinstalls Windows in about an hour while saving your files, apps and most settings, solves many problems while also bringing it up to the latest version which you need anyway and by the most stable method:

    I hope this helps. Feel free to ask back any questions and let us know how it goes. I will keep working with you until it’s resolved.

    Standard Disclaimer: There are links to non-Microsoft websites. The pages appear to be providing accurate, safe information. Watch out for ads on the sites that may advertise products frequently classified as a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Products). Thoroughly research any product advertised on the sites before you decide to download and install it.f that fails then try to Uninstall the driver and restart PC to see if device works now.

    Windows MVP 2010-20

    Millions helped via my tutorials and personally in forums for 12 years. Now an Independent Advisor.

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    I am running Windows 10 (subscription). I have a Logitech MX Master 3 mouse. Over the last week or so my cursor started jumping around on my screen. At first it constantly seemed to jump to the left bottom corner. I thought it was the mouse and went through all sorts of troubleshooting exercises to correct the problem – I reloaded drivers, shut the system down and restarted, unpaired the mouse and re-paired it, tried to see if it worked on the cord as opposed to wirelessly, disconnected Bluetooth to see if there was interference there. Nothing worked. I ran my antivirus software and did a computer scan and nothing out of the ordinary showed up. It was really messing with my productivity as I never really knew where my mouse was going to be on the screen. and it was jumping around every 5 to 20 seconds. Then I came up with the bright idea to switch out my mouse for the MS surface mouse for my laptop. I disconnected the Logitech mouse and paired the surface mouse and the same problem was there with the other mouse. So, I assumed, it’s not the mouse. I did a little research and saw a recommendation to do a windows update. So I did that. It seemed to fix the problem as I wasn’t seeing the cursor jumping around. Alas, several hours later I noticed that my cursor once again was not where I expected it to be. Because I’ve tried two completely different mice from different manufacturers and am having the same problem, I guessing this could be an OS issue. Hoping someone can come to my rescue and help me get this issue resolved! It’s really frustrating to try and work with a cursor that keeps jumping around on the screen!

    Mark Noel

    Glenwood Springs, CO 81601

    *** Email address is removed for privacy ***

    Jason Fitzpatrick is the Editor in Chief of LifeSavvy, How-To Geek’s sister site focused life hacks, tips, and tricks. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at Review Geek, How-To Geek, and Lifehacker. Jason served as Lifehacker’s Weekend Editor before he joined How-To Geek. Read more.

    How to use the mouse to get around in windows 8

    Ever since Vista, Windows’ Control Panel has been a little difficult to navigate. Windows 10’s new Settings app is better, but not as feature filled. Here’s an easier way to get to the page you want: Use these shortcuts and the Windows Run menu.

    Why These Shortcuts Save You Time

    One of the first things most people do when booting up a new computer (or after a fresh install of Windows) is head over to the Control Panel to make changes to the way Windows looks, the way their mouse and keyboard functions, and to otherwise personalize their Windows experience. This is usually, thanks to the way Microsoft shuffles the location of things within the Control Panel, when people immediately (and understandably) start complaining about how they can’t find anything.

    While we’re sure there’s a design reason behind something as trivial (but annoying) as moving the location of the “Power Options” or “Time and Date” menu between Windows versions, it’s incredibly annoying when you navigate the Control Panel in what should be a familiar route, only to find you can’t locate the thing you’re looking for.

    Now, in fairness to Microsoft, even though they move stuff around all the time they have done a pretty good job making it relatively intuitive to type search terms into the search box in the Start Menu to find them (even if where those items end up being is different from where you recalled). Nonetheless even then it can be a bit of a guessing game to get to exactly where you want to go. Plus, these will work great if your Start menu is borked for some reason.

    Fortunately there’s a handy little geek trick (and we like geek tricks) you can call on that makes it entirely irrelevant where the item you’re looking for is buried in the Control Panel (or even what the menu it’s buried under is named). Unbeknownst to most people, the Control Panel is merely a big panel of shortcuts pointing back to a collection of individual Control Panel tools parked in the Windows directory. Every one of these tools, all of which end in the file extension *.cpl, is directly accessible via the Run Dialog box and command line.

    Even better, there is very little change in names of these files over time–many of the *.cpl entries haven’t changed since the days of Windows 95. If you get in the habit of jumping to the Control Panel entry you want with the shortcuts, then it doesn’t matter if the entry moves significantly between Windows 7, 8, 10, and whatever updates come with Windows 10 or further Windows iterations–you’ll never waste time looking for entry you want again.

    How to Use Control Panel Shortcuts

    To use the *.cpl Control Panel shortcuts all you need to do is simply type the shortcut for the Control Panel tool you need into either the Run Dialog box (accessible in Windows via Win+R) or into the Start Menu command box (available on the Start Menu of Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10).

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    Although we’re listing the *.cpl shortcuts for Windows 10 in this article, the majority of them, as we noted above, are backwards compatible. For reference (and a bit of historical fun) here are the Microsoft help files pertaining to Control Panel shortcuts for Windows 95/98 and Windows XP. You’ll find nearly all of them in our list.

    You can run any of these commands either by typing them into the Start Menu search bar, pressing Win+R to open the run dialog box and entering them there, or even from the command line by using the command “control [shortcutname.cpl]”. In very rare cases, the shortcut will only work via command line (noted below by the inclusion of the “control” prefix in the command listing.

    • control access.cpl: Accessibility Options
    • appwiz.cpl: Add/Remove Programs
    • bthprops.cpl: Bluetooth Devices
    • timedate.cpl: Time/Date Properties
    • desk.cpl: Display Properties
    • inetcpl.cpl: Internet Properties
    • joy.cpl: Joystick Properties
    • main.cpl: Mouse Properties
    • main.cpl keyboard: Keyboard Properties
    • mmsys.cpl: Multimedia/Sound Properties
    • ncpa.cpl: Network Connections
    • powercfg.cpl: Power Options
    • sysdm.cpl: System Properties
    • wscui.cpl: Windows Security Center
    • firewall.cpl: Windows Firewall
    • hdwwiz.cpl: Device Manager
    • intl.cpl: Windows Region Settings
    • telephon.cpl: Phone and Modem Settings
    • tabletpc.cpl: Tablet Settings (unavailable on non-tablet PCs)

    In addition to the above shortcuts, there are a few command line tricks that will take you directly to relevant folders like “control printers” to jump to the Printers folder and “control fonts” to jump to the fonts folder.

    By and large, we managed to get by these days with using the actual Control Panel (or, more frequently, the search function within the Start Menu) but with a little effort to memorize a few key terms, you can zip right to where you want to go with ease.

    Navigating Microsoft Windows using the keyboard for many commonly performed tasks can dramatically increase your productivity. Also, a situation may arise when the mouse stops functioning or you need to work on a computer without one. The following sections contain many key combinations used to navigate Windows using your keyboard. You can navigate this page by clicking a link below, or scroll through the entire page and learn all the methods individually.

    Some of these key combinations have different effects or do not work the same way for Windows 8 and 8.1.

    • Opening a program from the Start menu.
    • Opening a program on the desktop.
    • Closing, minimizing, maximizing, or moving a window.
    • Closing or changing tabs.
    • Moving between open windows and applications.
    • Navigating between fields and buttons on a window.
    • Manipulating and moving through text.
    • Scrolling in a window.
    • Right-clicking an icon or other element of Windows.
    • Checking and unchecking a checkbox.

    Opening a program from the Start menu

    To start off, you can access the Microsoft Windows Start menu by pressing the Windows key on the keyboard or by pressing the Ctrl and Esc keys at the same time.

    Because Windows 8 does not have a Start menu, pressing the Windows key or Ctrl + Esc keys shows the Windows Start screen or go to the Windows desktop.

    In the Start menu, you can use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move up, down, left, or right in the Start menu. Once you’ve located the program you want to run, press the Enter key.

    You may quickly open a program by pressing the Windows key , typing the program’s name, and then pressing Enter .

    Opening a program on the desktop

    To run a program with an icon (shortcut) on the desktop, you can move to the desktop by pressing the Tab key on your keyboard. Pressing Tab while on the desktop switches between the desktop, Start, and each of the items on the taskbar. You can determine what area you’re currently at by looking for an item that is selected. An item that is selected is highlighted or has a border of dots.

    In some cases, you may have to press Tab several times before getting to the desktop icons. Once one of the desktop icons is selected, you can move to other icons using your arrow keys.

    Once the icon on the desktop you want to run is selected, press the Enter key to open that program.

    Closing, minimizing, maximizing, or moving a window

    Closing a window

    Press the Ctrl and F4 keys on the keyboard at the same time to close the current open program or window.

    Users may also press the Alt and spacebar keys at the same time, then arrow down to the Close or Exit option in the menu and press Enter .

    Minimizing or shrink a window

    To minimize a window, press the Windows key and down arrow at the same time (sometimes twice).

    Maximizing a window

    To maximize a window, press the Windows key and up arrow at the same time.

    Moving a window

    Before you can move any window, it must not be maximized. To make the window appear in windowed mode, press the Alt and spacebar keys at the same time, move to the restore option, and press Enter . In windowed mode, you can move a window if you press Alt + spacebar , select Move from the menu, then use the arrow keys to move it.

    Closing or changing tabs

    Closing a tab

    In most programs, pressing the Ctrl and F4 keys at the same time closes a tab.

    Switching tabs

    To move left to right between tabs in the currently selected window, press the Ctrl and Tab keys at the same time.

    To move right to left between tabs in the currently selected window, press the Ctrl , Shift , and Tab keys at the same time.

    Moving between open windows and applications

    To move between any open programs on your computer, press and hold the Alt key, then press the Tab key. If this is done successfully, a window appears that displays each of the open programs on your computer. Repeatedly pressing Tab while continuing to hold Alt moves between each of the open programs. When the program you want to switch to is selected, let go of both keys to make it your current window.

    Navigating between fields and buttons on a window

    To move your cursor between objects of fields in a window (such as a dialog box), you’ll often use the Tab , spacebar , arrow, and the Enter keys. Tab is usually the default, but if it does not work, try using the arrow keys. If you need to press a button, such as OK or Cancel, press the spacebar or Enter key.

    Manipulating and moving through text

    Below are the different methods of how you can move through text in a document without the aid of a mouse. Not only does this help users without a mouse, it can also save you a great deal of time when working with text documents.

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    Arrow keys – Using the arrow keys on the keyboard move the cursor up, down, left, or right in the document.

    Ctrl and Arrow keys – Holding down the Ctrl key while pressing the left or right arrow keys move the cursor one word at a time. Using this shortcut is much faster than only using the arrow keys. Holding Ctrl while pressing up or down moves through each of the paragraphs in the document.

    End and Home keys – Pressing the End key takes you to the end of a line or document, while pressing the Home key moves you to the beginning.

    Shift key – The Shift key allows you to highlight text. For example, holding down the Shift key while using the right or left arrow keys highlights the text to the left or right. If you hold down shift while pressing the down arrow keys, you highlight one line at a time in that direction.

    Finally, you can use the Shift key in combination with the other above recommendations. For example, pressing and holding Shift and Ctrl and using the arrows highlights a word at a time. Holding down Shift and pressing the End key highlights from the current cursor position to the end of the line or document.

    Scrolling in a window

    Scrolling up or down in a window is often accomplished with the up and down arrow keys, Page up and Page down keys, or the spacebar .

    Right-clicking an icon or other element of Windows

    In some situations, you may need to right-click an icon, text, or other Windows element. To do this without a mouse, select the icon or move the cursor to the text you need to right-click. Then, press and hold the Shift and F10 keys at the same time.

    Checking and unchecking a checkbox

    Some Windows settings pages require you to check or uncheck a checkbox to change settings. Press the Tab key to cycle through each entry in a settings page. Then, press the spacebar to check or uncheck a checkbox for the highlighted entry.