A list of Windows Remote Desktop (RDP) keyboard shortcuts

Previously we covered the ultimate list of all Windows keyboard shortcuts with Win keys as well as the complete list of the keyboard shortcuts for the Modern Mail app in Windows. Today we would like to explore some of the keyboard shortcuts used over Windows Remote Desktop (RDP).


Remote Desktop gives users the ability to remotely access the desktop of Windows clients and servers running Remote Desktop Services. With Windows XP, client versions of Windows also got an RDP server (host).

When using Remote Desktop (Terminal Services client or mstsc.exe), depending on your RDP client settings, some keyboard shortcut combinations that you wish to send to the remote machine (host) can't be directly sent to it. Instead, the local client PC will react to those keyboard combinations. To allow these special keyboard combinations to work with RDP, Microsoft has assigned alternate key combinations. The following table lists the alternate hotkeys that RDP recognizes.

Regular Windows keyboard combinationKey combination for RDPDescription of what hotkeys do
Win key or Ctrl+EscAlt+HomeOpens the Start Menu or Start screen
Alt+TabAlt+Page UpDisplays the Alt+Tab switcher where pressing Page Up while Alt is held down will switch programs from left to right
Alt+Shift+TabAlt+Page DownDisplays the Alt+Tab switcher where pressing Page Down while Alt is held down will switch programs from right to left
Alt+EscAlt+InsertCycles through open apps in most recently used order (sends the current active window to the bottom of the Z-order)
Alt+SpaceAlt+DeleteOpens the window menu of the active window
Print ScreenCtrl+Alt+'+'(Plus key on numeric keypad)Takes a screenshot of the whole screen to the clipboard which you can paste in Paint
Alt+Print ScreenCtrl+Alt+'-' (Minus key on the numeric keypad)Takes a screenshot of the active window to the clipboard which you can paste in Paint
Ctrl+Alt+DelCtrl+Alt+EndSends Ctrl+Alt+Del (Secure Attention Sequence) to the host.
-Ctrl+Alt+BreakToggles the RDP window between full screen mode and windowed mode

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Author: Gaurav Kale

Gaurav is a software enthusiast from India and Classic Shell tester & UX consultant. He started with Windows 95 and is good at software usability testing. He firmly believes that user experience is just as important as software code quality and architecture for software to be successful.

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