Use Ctrl+Z For More Than Text Mistakes In Windows

It's probably the third keyboard shortcut you learned on first using a computer—Ctrl-Z is "Undo". Reader Prarie Moon helpfully reminds us that this key combo does more than just fix text mistakes. It also un-deletes files and fixes renaming mistakes.

Photo by Jonathas Rodrigues.

Microsoft only provides a vague description of Ctrl+Z, noting that it "Undoes the last action" in Windows and most applications. If you've run through a folder and deleted a bunch of individual files, though, Ctrl+Z is a much easier fixer than heading to your Recycle Bin and right-clicking the particular file you want to save, as Prarie Moon writes:

In Windows, ctrl+z goes well beyond correcting typos:

  • Delete a file to the Recycle Bin from a folder window, and ctrl+z brings it back. It even brings back a bunch of files if you've deleted them in a single pass.
  • Ctrl+z also has many levels of undo when it comes to renaming files. Name a file whatever, realise you made a mistake, use ctrl+z right away, and you've unmade it. If you don't go off and do anything else right away, multiple un-renamings are possible. Try it for yourself.

What else does Ctrl+Z do that we've collectively forgotten about, or never bothered to learn? Tell us your tip in the comments.


    ctrl z also works in web browsers, which is something i didnt realise untill recently. so, you accidentally delete something out of the address bar, and you press ctrl z, and it comes back etc.

    I wish I never learned "shift-delete, return" that file's gone and only those annoying undelete programs will bring it back. Usually just thinking about an undelete program is enough to forget about it.

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