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Working with windows in Windows

Author: Julian Prokaza
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:00:00 GMT
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Some windows also have two more buttons at their top-right corner. The first, which looks like an underscore symbol (_), ‘minimises’ a window to a button on the Taskbar.

The second button changes according to the window’s current size. When the window is smaller than the Desktop, it looks like a square and clicking it will ‘maximise’ the window to fill the whole Desktop.

On a maximised window, the button looks like two smaller overlapping squares and this restores the window to its previous size and position.

Keyboard control So far, so simple, but here’s the first window trick. All windows also have a fourth button on the far-left corner of their title bar. This is only visible when the Windows Classic theme is active, but it’s still there – although invisible – with the default themes in Windows 7, Vista and XP.

If you can see the button, click it to open a menu of window options. It can also be opened with a keyboard shortcut – press the Alt and Spacebar keys together. Most of the menu options duplicate those three buttons we’ve just talked about.

There’s a keyboard shortcut for each, so the keyboard can be used to manage open windows. Alt and Spacebar then N, for instance, minimises the window to the Taskbar. Alt and Spacebar then X maximises, Alt and Spacebar then R restores the window to its previous size while Alt and Spacebar then C closes the window.

This window menu also has two other options that offer more useful tricks: Move and Size. From time to time, a window may open on the Desktop with its title bar positioned off the top of the screen. You might think that as the title bar can’t be clicked to drag it the window is stuck, right? Wrong.

Open the window menu with Alt and Spacebar, then press M for the Move option (a shortcut to remember for times when the menu can’t be seen). Now use the arrow (cursor) keys to move the window around to suit and press Enter when done.

The same applies to the Size option – Alt and Spacebar and S – but this uses the cursor keys to move each of the window’s sides back and forth.

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