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Everything you need to know about Refresh function [F5 key] in Windows

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What does F5 key do in Windows? How does it work?

We all have used the Refresh button (F5 key) on the Windows desktop or inside the folder. It is the only option that we use constantly, sometimes in a frenzy. Also, this option has been there as long as we can remember. I have seen the refresh button in Windows 98, XP, Vista, 7, 8 and now Windows 10. I have seen people clicking the Refresh button, for like, five-ten times in a single go.

Have you ever wondered what does Refresh button do? A common understanding is that it makes the system faster. But does it? In this article, we will try to explain the functionality of the Refresh button on our computer.

What does Refresh do?

It rebuilds the pixels of the screen, thus updating the changes that the users have recently made and will display the changes accordingly.

Windows Desktop automatically refreshes itself.

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How to Refresh the computer? 

What does F5 key do in Windows? How does it work?If you want to refresh the computer, follow the given steps.

  • Right-click in a space on the desktop or inside the folder.
  • On the menu, click on the Refresh button.

Or, you can use the shortcut: F5 (The function key F5 is located at the topmost row of the keyboard).

Refresh option is present in all levels of Windows hierarchy.

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When to perform a Refresh function?

Users can use the Refresh function in the following situations.

  • In case, the users cannot find a desktop icon or folder which have been recently modified (renamed, removed, created, saved, etc).
  • For re-aligning the desktop icons.
  • If the users find out that they cannot open the folders.
  • Unresponsive desktop.
  • If the users have moved, renamed, saved the folders — a manual Refresh might re-arrange the folders in alphabetical order. This function works on shortcut folders/files also.
  • If some third party application has created the file, and it does not appear on the desktop.

Refresh function cannot be removed from the right-click menu nor can be changed in any way, as it is directly embedded into the Windows source code.

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What Refresh does not do?

Contrary to the popular belief, Refresh is not a performance booster for the PC. Furthermore, continuously refreshing the page might make the PC negligibly slower, as it has to perform extra read/write cycles on the hard disk.

Also, Refresh does not increase RAM performance or performs a disk-cleanup.

Bonus F5 functions explained

What happens when you press F5 in Microsoft Word?

Pressing F5 in Microsoft Word opens the Find and Replace tool on your Word document

What does F5 do in Powerpoint?

When you press F5 in Microsoft Powerpoint, a full-screen preview of the slides in your presentation will start.

What does F5 do in Microsoft Excel?

Press F5 in Microsoft Excel will launch the Go To tool, that can help users to find a specific piece of data, or go to a specific cell by inputting the cell number or find blank cells, among several other options.

What does F5 do in Chrome?

Similar to how the key functions in Windows, pressing F5 in Chrome will refresh the website that’s opened in the selected tab.

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: