Use the Start Screen of Your Surface with a Mouse and Keyboard

If you plan on using the Desktop app to crank out some serious work, you’ll want to attach your Surface’s keyboard or plug in a mouse and keyboard. The mouse and keyboard feel right at home on the desktop, of course, but the Start screen is a different world.

Yet, the mouse and keyboard still let you navigate the Start screen, although a little more awkwardly. If you wish, you can simply use your fingers while navigating the Start menu; plugging in your keyboard or a separate mouse and keyboard won’t disable the touch controls.

But if you’d prefer to leave your hands on your keyboard, trackpad, or mouse, this is how to control the Start screen with a mouse and keyboard.

How to … With a Mouse With a Keyboard
Open the Charms bar. Point at the screen’s top- or bottom-right corners. Win+C
Return to last-used app. Point at the screen’s top-left corner and click. Win+Tab, Enter
Return to Start menu. Point at screen’s bottom-left corner and click. Win
See currently running apps. Point at screen’s top-left corner and then slide the mouse downward. Win+Tab (Keep pressing Tab to cycle through open apps.)
View the Power menu. Right-click in the Start screen’s bottom-left corner. (None)

Chances are good, though, that you’ll still use your fingers on your Surface’s screen even after plugging in a mouse and keyboard. You’ll probably use the keyboard only for typing text, and the mouse for pointing at small items on the desktop.

Don’t forget the dedicated Charms bar keys atop the Surface’s Touch and Type Cover keyboards. They let you jump quickly to the Charms bar’s Search, Share, Devices, and Settings features.

Power users take note: If you right-click any screen’s bottom-left corner, a Power menu appears. That menu places many oft-used settings a mouse-click away. (If you’ve attached a keyboard, summon the Power menu by pressing Win+X.) On the desktop, hold down your finger on the Start button; when a square appears, lift your finger to see the Power menu.

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