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Use keyboard shortcuts to access favourite Windows programs

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The Start menu in Windows is designed to provide easy access to all the programs installed on the computer. It works OK and it does its job. After all, accessing programs is easy enough and they are all there in a list. However, it doesn't provide quick access to programs and navigating the Start menu can be slow and tedious. It can be difficult remembering where a particular program is located and you might need to scroll the menu list up or down, open sub menus and scroll some more before you find the item you are looking for. Then once you have found it you need to click it to run it. Easy? Yes. Fast? No way! Here's how to instantly access any item on the Start menu no matter where it is located.

Click the Start button and navigate to the program that you want to speed up access to. In this example we will use WordPad, so go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, WordPad. Right click the item on the Start menu and select Properties from the pop-up context menu that is displayed. Make sure that the Shortcut tab is selected in the properties dialog and click in the Shortcut key box. It currently says None, but if you now press the W key you'll see that it says CTRL+ALT+W. Click OK to close the dialog box.

You have successfully created a keyboard shortcut to the WordPad accessory on the Start menu. Whenever you need to run this program, just hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys and press W. WordPad will instantly appear before you. It saves all that Start menu navigating and scrolling.

You can repeat this procedure for all your other favourite programs on the Start menu, such as Ctrl+Alt+N for Notepad, Ctrl+Alt+M for Media Player and so on. If you want to disable a shortcut, just click in the Shortcut key box in the Properties dialog and press the Delete/Backspace key.