Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 14th Jan 2010 11:37 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems It's funny how while software changes so fast, and many hardware components evolve at ridiculously fast paces (processors, memory, hard drives), the keyboard has remained largely unchanged over the years - until recently, that is. Even Lenovo has now buckled under the pressure, switching to a chiclet-style keyboard for ThinkPads - while also removing the SysReq key.
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Windows key
by tyrnight on Thu 14th Jan 2010 14:15 UTC
Member since:

I know this will start flame war..

But the Windows key is very useless to every one I asked the question to. Im sure there are those that use it 20 times a minute.. but to the every day user, it only opens the start button. Redundant...

Edited 2010-01-14 14:16 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Windows key
by palraabjerg on Thu 14th Jan 2010 14:27 in reply to "Windows key"
palraabjerg Member since:

My solution is to consider the "Windows"-key a meta-key that no application uses, and which you can therefore assign solely to actions in the window-manager. I use it like that with StumpWM. This suddenly makes the key immensely useful as a switch allowing for direct control of most of the windowing environment through the keyboard.
But ironically, yes. The "Windows" key persists on being absolutely useless in Windows.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Windows key
by darknexus on Thu 14th Jan 2010 14:44 in reply to "Windows key"
darknexus Member since:

Actually, I find the Windows key (though I don't think it should have that logo on it) to be quite useful even in Windows. There are quite a few shortcuts on it that, while officially documented, remain obscure. My favorite one is windows+r to pop up the run dialog from anywhere. There's also windows+m to minimize everything and go to the desktop, windows+d to go to the desktop without minimizing windows, windows+tab to go to the taskbar, and a boatload of others that I'm sure a lot of Windows keyboard power-users end up using. Even using it to open the start menu is more convenient than the official shortcut for that (ctrl+esc). For example, in XP I could do "windows s c" (classic start menu obviously) and up comes the control panel. Quick and simple, though it's not quite so nice anymore given the way Windows 7 now treats keyboard-based navigation in the start menu and other places. It's far from useless even in Windows, though I'd argue that it is considerably more useful in environments such as GNOME (and probably most other X window managers), where you can assign shortcuts to just about any command you want. The windows key comes in very handy there, since it's a modifier that no application uses. The only exception is SUN's modified version of GNOME, used in Opensolaris, which maps the windows key to GNOME shortcuts in a manner similar to Windows itself though, of course, these shortcuts can be changed.
Ironically, the windows key becomes the command key in OS X if you use a non-Apple keyboard with it. It's not very ergonomic IMHO and it can be easily remapped, but I've always found that a tad ironic. Of course, the command key on a Mac keyboard does become the Windows key when used on a PC. Obviously they used the same keycodes, just a different placement and logo.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Windows key
by Declination on Thu 14th Jan 2010 17:18 in reply to "RE: Windows key"
Declination Member since:

I have a logitech keyboard that uses Win key as option by default. Perhaps this is non-standard behavior though. But it does actually have option written beneath the windows logo.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Windows key
by Drumhellar on Thu 14th Jan 2010 18:53 in reply to "Windows key"
Drumhellar Member since:

They just dont' know what the windows key does.

win-d: minimize all windows (very useful)

win-left, win-right: maximize a window to the left or right half of a screen

win-up: maximize a window

win-p: when multiple monitors are connected, choose between using one, the other, duplicate, or span (very useful for laptops plugged into projectors or TVs)

win-#: launch/minimize/switch-to pinned programs from the taskbar . Each number corresponds to their position.

win-R: run dialog.

There are many more useful windows-key combinations. I think the only reason people think the windows key should go is because it has the windows logo on it.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Windows key
by jgagnon on Thu 14th Jan 2010 20:56 in reply to "RE: Windows key"
jgagnon Member since:

Win-E to open an explorer window

Win-F to open a find window (searching)

Win-L to instantly lock your computer (not sure what happens if you don't have a password set up)

Win-M to minimize all windows (similar to Win-D)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Windows key
by boldingd on Thu 14th Jan 2010 21:15 in reply to "RE: Windows key"
boldingd Member since:

Or when you're playing TF2, you try to hit Ctrl to crouch... and your game disappears, your screen blanks, and three seconds later, your Desktop pops up, with your Start menu active.

I think that's the general complaint: "I was in the middle of X, I tried to hit a modifier key, hit the (expletive-of-choice) Windows key, and the Start menu popped up and stole input focus!". If there was a way to make it not open the start menu every time it's pressed, or a way for applications to notify Windows to disable the damned thing when they have focus, people would probably hate it a lot less.

Reply Parent Score: 2