Navigating through Windows via the keyboard

This tip was submitted to the searchWin2000 Tip Exchange by member Gurce Isikyildiz. Let other users know how useful it is by rating the tip below.

If you're fed up with double-clicking through endless directories to get to the file you want, and prefer keeping your hands on the keyboard instead of the mouse, this tip might be for you.


  • Press the Windows key (or ctrl+escape if you don't have a Win key) to bring up start menu
  • Press 'R' for run...
  • Type in a directory where you want to start looking, e.g., "C:" and press enter (a window will pop up with the directory contents)
  • Start typing the name of the directory you want to jump to, e.g., "Program Files". Windows will highlight this directory for you (even before you finish typing it).
  • Press enter to jump into that directory
  • To go back a directory, press the backspace key
  • You can press F2 to rename a highlighted directory/file (and press escape to cancel your name change)
This sort of clever keyboard navigation seems to exist in quite a few areas of Windows. Wherever you find a listbox of items, it might work there too, so give it a go. For example, in MS Outlook Express, try clicking inside your email address book, then type in the name of a friend to quickly highlight it. Or in the "Users and Passwords" windows from Control Panel, try typing the name of a user to quickly highlight it.

    Requires Free Membership to View

This was first published in February 2002

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.