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  • Lowell


Updated: Feb 7, 2021

Here are a few ways to speed your access to Windows PC functions and programs. I knew some of these from years of using PCs, but found new ideas at

As the title suggests, hold down the Windows key(located a couple of keys to the left of the spaces bar, usually the next key after the Alt key) while pressing R on the keyboard. then release the Windows key. A dialog box like this opens.

You type commands into the box and then click OK or press Enter. Please note that the items you enter are saved in a drop down list - use that down arrow in the right side of the Open box. You can navigate these previous commands using the keyboard arrow keys. If something you type matches a previous entry, that entry will be displayed and you can click it.

In the instructions below, what you type is quoted and bolded. Do not include the quotes when you type entries.

  • Text Editor: Type "notepad" into the box and open the built-in text editor Notepad.

  • Open Programs and Features in Control Panel: Type "appwiz.cpl" to see the apps you've installed on your computer.

  • Open Entire Control Panel" Type "control"

  • Adjust Mouse Settings: Type "main.cpl"

  • Paint Program: Type "mspaint"

  • Calculator: Type "calc"

  • Find System Information: Type "msinfo32" this is handy id a technician asked you for information about your system during a telephone help session.

  • Run Windows Update troubleshooter: Type "msdt.exe /id windowsupdatediagnostic" Yep, that's a lot to type, but you should be able to copy that text from here and paste it into the Win+R text box.

  • Check Windows Updates: Type "ms-settings:windowsupdate" An alternative is to press only the Windows key and type updates. You should see an entry appear at the top of the Start menu to check updates.


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