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  • Writer's pictureConcept Computers

The Windows Key

We came across another excellent post from our colleague who publishes Rick's Daily Tips. Like us, he explained that he was posting this because many of the tips he distributes include reference to the "all powerful" Windows key... but it occurred to him that this key and its purposes may not be as widely known as it is to us tech geeks. So without further ado, please read and learn about the little key that could (reposted from Rick's Daily Tips):

What is the Windows key (and what does it do)?

The Windows key is a special key on a Windows PC’s keyboard that’s serves as a “Modifier” key.

In a nutshell, a modifier key is a key that alters the function of another key when those keys are pressed at the same time.

What does the Windows key look like?

The Windows key looks like the one with the Windows logo as pictured in the image above.

Where is the Windows key located?

Although the actual location of the Windows key can vary a bit, on most PC keyboards you’ll find it sitting in the lower left-hand corner of the keyboard between the Ctrl and Alt keys.

Most people are familiar with the Ctrl, Shift and Alt modifier keys because they are commonly used to perform a number of important tasks when using various computer operating systems.

Here are a few common uses of modifier keys:

Note: In the examples below, the “plus sign” simply means to press the keys before and after it at the same time. You don’t need to press the ‘Plus’ key on your keyboard.

Example 1: Pressing the Ctrl+S key combination will save the currently open file in most any program that works with user files.

Example 2: Pressing the Alt+Print Screen key combination will capture a screenshot of the active window and save it to the Windows Clipboard. You can then “paste” the captured screenshot into your favorite image editor.

Example 3: Even if you have never used the Ctrl or Alt keys you have surely used the Shift key to type an upper case character into a document or form.

Just like the modifier keys mentioned above, the Windows key also makes other keys perform an alternate function when they are pressed at the same time.

Examples of commonly used keyboard shortcuts utilizing the Windows key:

Example 1: Pressing the Windows+E key combination will open a “File Explorer” window.

Example 2: Pressing Windows+S will open a “Search” dialog box.

Unlike the other modifier keys mentioned above, you can also use the Windows key all by itself…

Press the Windows key without pressing any other keys along with it and Windows 10’s “Start” menu will open up.

Bottom line: The Windows key is one of the handiest keys on the entire keyboard because it allows a host of other keys to perform useful functions that are in addition to their primary functions.

A big thanks to Rick for making this post!

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