Network Productivity Group

... a computer consultancy


The tip...

Technical tip #43, July 15, 2002, the "Windows" key.

Perhaps all probably already know this little set of tricks.  I found them in the box with my new keyboard.  (Those $5 keyboards just don't last like they used to.)  I love to know how to do things with my keyboard that I usually do with my mouse.  Why?  If I'm typing I don't have to fumble for the mouse.  If I'm mousing I don't have to move my hands to the keyboard.  Being able to operate a machine with no mouse is a rare and demanding but not, unfortunately, rewarding skill, but, still, one I pursue with diligence. 

In any event, my new keyboard with its neat little "Windows" key - they ALL have them now, right down there mixed in with the CTRL and ALT keys - can do these magic tricks if I combine my Windows key with:

  • "E" - opens Windows Explorer
  • "F" - opens Find
  • "M" - minimizes all (you 98 buffs might better know this as "Show Desktop")
  • "R" - displays the RUN dialog box
  • TAB - activates the next taskbar button (gives control of the computer to the next program running).

Of course, the Windows key all by itself opens the Start button menu.  There are left and right Windows keys and their function is identical.  Most of the Windows 98 and later keyboards also have an "Application key" next to the right Windows key.  This is usually identical to a RIGHT mouse click.  What a right mouse click pops up depends on where you are in Windows or an application program but I always find it enlightening to try.  Many powerful wonders are found there.

I work on so many machines, so often heavily customized by the principal user that just know a short cut to the desktop and to Explorer are major liberating influences in my usual day.

Try 'em, they work.


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