What is the key on my keyboard that has the Windows logo used for?
This question was answered on January 28, 2002. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
The Windows logo key is an anchor for many keyboard shortcuts Keyboard shortcuts have been a part of computing since the beginning and where a necessity before the days of the mouse Microsoft has programmed into the different versions of Windows, some helpful keyboard shortcuts that use the Windows key as the basis.
For instance, simply clicking the Windows key will launch the 'Start Menu' which could be very helpful if your mouse ever fails or if you don't want to take your hand off of the keyboard to click on the mouse (Use the arrow keys in all of the tips to toggle between the different options.)
The Windows key R will launch the RUN dialog box that allows you to manually run a program.
The Windows Key D will minimize all of the open windows, which clears your screen and displays the desktop without closing the currently open programs (Pressing it again will bring everything back to the way it was.)
The often ignored Help program that is built into Windows can be accessed by using the combination of Windows key F1 (the first function key at the top of the keyboard usually to the right of the escape key)
The Windows Explorer, which is a file manager can be launched with the Windows key E combination.
The next time you want to search for a file or folder on your computer, try using the Windows key F to launch the Find or Search utility.
If you are on a network and need to find a specific computer, you can launch the Find Computer dialog box with the Ctrl Windows key F combination.
Windows key Tab allows you to change the focus on the open programs of the Task bar (another helpful tip when your mouse fails!) so that you can press the space bar to open the program.
One of my favorites is the Windows key Break (usually above the arrow keys) which opens the System Properties dialog box, which is an often visited area of the computer for anyone that works on them.
In Windows XP, you can access the Utility Manager by using the Windows U combination The Utility Manager is used to activate the Magnifying option, the Narrator (which is a text-to-speech program that acts as a basic screen reader for the visually impaired) and the on-screen keyboard.
The Windows key L will lock the workstation in Windows XP, which is a handy privacy feature for anyone in an office full of nosey people!
No matter what window you open with the Windows logo key, you can close them at any time with the universal 'Close' keyboard command of Alt-F4.
If you want to know all of the available keyboard shortcuts for your version of Windows, open the help menu (Windows key F1) and search for keyboard shortcuts!
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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on January 28, 2002