Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Windows Key

The least used key in my keyboard is the windows key. This is the key with the windows logo on it. Personally, I have not used it too much because I really do not know what is it for. I rely on the movement and use of the cursor, the enter button, the mouse or touch pad and it's right and left key for navigation and opening up and closing down a function, folder or program.

So what it really does? Is it important? Does it do something that only that button can do?

The Windows Key

Pressing the the windows button corresponds to a click at the start button. This is a shortcut when you want to search on something within  your computer and saves you a stroke or two in grabbing your mouse or positioning your cursor with the touch pad before clicking it. 

Windows Key + Any Number

It can also bring about a function when pressed with a combination with another key. The windows key plus a number will launch up a program that is pinned at the task bar near the start button. The program that will be launched depends on the items pinned at the task bar. Clicking it with the number 1 for example, will launch internet explorer. A combination click with number 4 will launch chrome and so on. 

Windows Key + Arrow Down /Arrow Up

And if you have opened up a lot of windows, you can restore down the active window by a combination press with arrow down button, another press with the same combination will minimize it, and if you keep pressing the keys, it will continue restore down and minimize all your active windows in your desktop. You can maximize the window after restore down if you press arrow up combination straight after restore down. This saves you the precision click to the rather small squares.

Windows Key + Home

If you would like to just minimise all windows or programs except the one you are working at or the active window, a press with the home button will do this trick. This is something that you can not do with a mouse or touch pad.

Windows Key + Pause/Break

If you want to know what's the version of your operating system or somebody else's computer, the total physical RAM installed, the computer name and the Windows product ID, a combination press with the pause button will show these information.

Windows + T

This will cycle the cursor over the programs in the task bar in sequence. This lets you choose a program without lifting the mouse. It is like hovering your mouse over the list of programs at the task bar.

Windows Key + Alt + Numbers

A further combination of two other keys, alt and a number, will open the jump list of the application pinned in the task bar. Pressing windows button + alt + 3 will open up the previous activites of the 3rd program in my task bar which is windows media player. I can use the arrow button to choose which of the previous activities I would like to perform again. It is like a right click on the said program sitting at the task bar.

And Other Combinations

Windows + B selects the system tray
Windows + D  toggles the minimize and maximize button of an active window
Windows + E opens my computer
Windows + F opens the search function
Windows + G will bring forward a gadget over an active window
Windows + L will lock your computer, and you need to log in again to resume
Windows + P will open the monitor preference if you are connecting to another monitor and can choose extended desktop or clone view
Windows + U opens the ease of access preference where you can open up the virtual keyboard for example.
Windows + X opens the mobility access

My Thoughts

Whilst the functions that the windows button can do are not that all necessary, it is interesting to know what it does, just in case you will run into trouble with your mouse and keyboard or you just want to use the virtual keyboard for example, specially when you are banking online, it is easier to press windows key + U rather than going into the control panel and looking for the ease of access menu, or you are in a hurry to log out. 

And if you want to shutdown your computer after reading this blog without using a mouse, you press these  buttons in sequence, windows then right arrow then enter

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