Digging through files, folders and programs to find your computer's volume control can be an annoying process. And while you do have a volume icon in your task bar, it only controls your master volume. In Windows XP, creating a keyboard shortcut will help you access volume control more quickly, as well as open other facets of volume control such as wave, synth, microphone and balance that are not immediately available in the task bar. See "tips" for notes regarding Windows Vista and Windows 7.
In Windows XP or earlier, click "Start" and click "All Programs." When the program list appears, click "Accessories," then "Entertainment," then "Volume Control."
Right-click on volume control, then select "Properties." In the volume control properties, select the "Shortcut" tab.
The box next to the words "Shortcut key" should say "None." Click in that box, then touch the key (number, letter, or symbol) you wish to use as your volume control shortcut key. This will make your shortcut Ctrl+Alt+(your desired key).
Click "Apply." Close the volume control properties box, then use your keyboard shortcut to open volume control to ensure it worked.
If you do not want your shortcut to be Ctrl+Alt+(key), you can change it by pressing the key sequence you would like to use. For instance, you can use Ctrl+Shift+(key). Windows Vista and Windows 7 do allow users to create keyboard shortcuts, but not for volume control. Fortunately, many desktop keyboards (sometimes sold with the computer, sometimes sold separately) have volume controls available right on the keyboard. Also, many Vista and 7 laptops have built-in keyboard volume control; usually the combination of the function (Fn) key plus another key can raise or lower volume. For instance, on some laptops, Fn+PgUp will increase volume, while Fn+PgDn will lower volume. Look for speaker icons on your laptop's keys; these are your volume shortcut keys.
When creating shortcuts, sometimes Ctrl+(key) will work, but be careful which key you choose to use. Certain key sequences are defaults on your computer and will not work if you try to make that combination your volume control shortcut. For instance, Ctrl+V is already assigned to the "Paste" function, so your computer will not let you use that as your volume control shortcut.