Microsoft Windows is the most used operating system in the world along Linux and MacOS. It consists in a series of operating systems made to ease the user’s job by making it have a user friendly interface. Every computer has a keyboard, and the most used type of keyboards is the one provided for windows, which have a windows key. The windows key term refers to a button located on a keyboard between the Ctrl and Alt keys (located left to the space button). There are several keyboards that feature a second windows key between the Ctrl and Alt keys located to the right of the space button near the command button.
The windows key was introduced on keyboards before the release of Windows 95. It consists in a button with the windows logo on it, which has functional properties. During the time, the windows key was added a few functionalities. The most used properties appear in combination of buttons. On the Windows 3.1 version, the windows key is on the keyboard but doesn’t have any functionality if the user doesn’t install specific software (such as IntelliType or others). For the same functionality, the users needed to press the Ctrl + Esc combination. Recently, with the release of Windows 7, some new features were added to the windows key, to optimize the computer’s usage.
It is one of the most used keys on a keyboard due to its several functions, for example pressing it will bring the start menu up (since the release of Windows Vista, the focus is on the Quick Search bar), and if the user presses the button while any PC game is running, or any other software that hides the taskbar, the game or program will be minimized without exiting and the start menu will be brought up. But the biggest usage level appears when it comes to the shortcuts.
Since the first release of a keyboard containing a windows key there have been added several shortcuts to the basic ones. For example if the user presses windows + D all open windows will be minimized in order to show the desktop or restore hidden programs if pressed a second time. Another used shortcut is the windows + L, used to lock the screen. This is a feature specific to work environments where people have to protect their work. Once with the Windows XP Media center Edition release, the shortcut windows + Alt + Enter was used to start the Windows Media Center interface. Windows Vista and Windows 7 also brought their part of features. Using windows + G will select the next gadget and bring the all the gadgets in foreground. Also computers with desktop composition (a feature of Aero) will respond adequately. If the user presses windows + Tab, he will be able to switch windows by using the Aero Flip 3D, and if he presses the Ctrl button too, this feature will become sticky. In Windows 7, pressing windows + P will bring up the display and projector toggle. Also there are several other shortcuts, not presented in this article.