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Helpful keyboard shortcuts for working with Windows Remote Desktop: Switching windows and more

Keyboard shortcut fans, or anyone looking to save time while working with a remote desktop session, will want to check this out. There are a handful of really helpful keyboard shortcuts that can make working with a remote desktop session a lot more productive. But I find that very few people know about them and are delighted when they do learn of them.

What I have to say here is a reprisal of a blog entry I did about 8 years ago. Sadly, the site on which I posted it (tipicalcharlie.com) is no more, and I'd been meaning for the longest time to resurrect some of the posts there, as they can be as valuable now as then. Thanks to the great internet wayback machine, I found a copy of the entry, as I've had more and more people say they had never heard of these capabilities, which still work today (from XP through Windows 2012, whether as host or remote).

Here is the entry, originally posted April 25 2005 (with some slight tweaks adding section headings and a couple other updates as noted):

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CF911: Tips for dealing with Windows service timeout, useful when CF's taking too long to stop/start

In my last entry, CF911: Is your ColdFusion service taking too long to shut down? Find out why, I discussed the first of a two part answer to helping people who are finding that sometimes ColdFusion takes too long to shut down (or startup). That one talks about how to find out where CF may be logging info to explain why it's taking so long.

In this second entry, I'll address the separate but related problem, particularly if you're running CF as a Windows service, that you may find you get timeout errors from the Windows Services panel itself. I'll share some tips to help with that, which I share often with clients of my independent consulting as a CF troubleshooter.

The first thing to understand is that there is indeed a timeout (configurable) for how long the Windows Services control panel is willing to wait. Beyond that, though, there are some 3 more tricks you can use to avoid that timeout. (And I would say again that sometimes you really want to focus instead on WHY CF is taking so long to startup or shutdown, but until you do, the following info may help give you some breathing room.)

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Saving windows command prompt history to a file

Do you find yourself working at the Windows (DOS) command prompt window (aka Start>Run>cmd), and after having entered many commands, wish you could save them to a file, such as before closing the window or perhaps when needing to restart?

This is a bit of esoterica, but as I've seen some searching for a solution in various help forums, I figured I'd share it here. It can be especially useful if you've been using the Microsoft LogParser command-line tool, which allows you to use SQL statements from the command line to analyze log files of all sorts. You may build up a large set of them during a session, and wish you could save them off before closing the command prompt window.

Quick Answer:

doskey /history > commands.log


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Have you sought a keyboard shortcut to "open table" in SQL Server Management Studio?

I'm a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts, so imagine my dismay when I noticed that the new SQL Server 2005 "open table" option, available in Management Studio when you're viewing the tables in a database, had no keyboard shortcut (or Admin menu equivalent). The feature opens an editable grid of data in the table, which is a great when you need to do a quick fix of the data. But you have to right-click to see the option--I wonder how many never even notice it?

So I asked around and got an answer to my keyboard dilemma which actually is a generic windows solution. Did you know that you can get the equivalent of the right-click by using Shift-f10? Whatever you have the keyboard focus on, it will open its corresponding context menu. Very nice.

So in SQL Mgt Studio, open the database, then its tables, then select the table (all of which can be done with the keyboard), and then use shift-F10. You'll suddenly see that each context menu option shows the standard underline under the key to hit to execute that command (it's the "o" for open table).

Hope that may help others.

Switching among source windows in Eclipse/CFEclipse

Those who know me well know I'm a big fan of keyboard shortcuts. I could give a whole session on them (and perhaps someday will), so I want to share one that I learned and which is useful if using Eclipse, CFEclipse, or FusionDebug. While many know ctrl-tab will swap among windows in many programs, that doesn't work in Eclipse. Try ctrl-F6 instead, which will show a drop down list of open files and let you scroll forward through them. To go backwards in the list, use Shift-ctrl-f6. Cheers.

PS For other keyboard shortcuts I've shared, going beyond things related to CF, check out the category/tag on the topic at my other (older) blog, tipicalcharlie.com: http://www.tipicalcharlie.com/tags/?/keyboard%2Bshortcuts (domain gone, page recovered from Archive.org)

PPS The entry above on ctrl-f6 is just one more point to be made about looking at Eclipse as a whole when using either CFE or FD. Don't just focus on what those plug-ins add, but rather also on the built-in features of the Eclipse interface which may help you with day-to-day functionality.

Update: Since writing this in 2006, note the several comments below where people offered still more. And of course since then CFBuilder has come out, and with its built-in Aptana offers still more of them. Indeed, in a talk I did on hidden gems, I list other shortcuts for switching windows.

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