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Navigating through Windows via the keyboard

If you prefer keeping your hands on the keyboard instead of the mouse, this tip might be for you.

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.

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