The “Windows” key (or Start key) was implemented on standard PC keyboards shortly after the release of Windows 95. I suppose Microsoft wanted to increase the Windows brand by implementing two new keys that would open up new features of their operating system. At the time, there were only five new features that the new key opened up, and these weren’t very useful.
For the most part, macros that use the Windows key are unconfigurable, and you must use the macros embedded within the OS. Windows Vista has added new features, allowing you quick shortcuts to some of Vista’s new features (and finally addressing macros that users have been requesting for years).
|Windows Key +||Action||Useful?|
|Win + G||cycles through all the Gadgets||no|
|Win + L||Locks the computer. This is a feature that should have been included since Windows 2000. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to press Ctrl + Alt + Del and then Enter just to lock my PC at work||yes|
|Win + U||activates the Ease of Use Center||no|
|Win + X||cycles through the Mobility Center||no|
|Win + Spacebar||moves the focus to the Sidebar||no|
|Win + Pause||opens System Properties within Control Panel||no|
|Win + Tab||opens Flip 3d. This is one of the most useless features ever. Pretty much the same as Alt + Tab, but takes longer because it’s harder to recognize a running program window than it is to identify a simple icon.||NO!|
|Win + Crtl + Tab||opens a persistent Flip 3d (doesn’t go away when you release the keys)||NO!|
|Win + D||toggles the desktop||no|
|Win + E||opens File Explorer (one of the most useful features ever)||YES!|
|Win + F||opens a search window||maybe|
|Win + R||opens the Run dialog||yes|
|Win + T||cycles through all the running applications in the taskbar||no|
|Win + M||Minimizes all windows on your desktop||only when your boss or spouse walks in|
There are a few other windows keys that are enabled if you have a Microsoft Keyboard and have Intellitype installed, but this is extremely stupid. Why should you need to install an extra layer of software for an appliance made by the same company who made the OS? Why can’t there just be an update?
So now we have a total of 13 Windows key actions… and still there are only two or three that are actually useful. Microsoft should let users define their own Windows-key combinations through the Keyboard applet