If you have purchased a new computer (or new keyboard) in the past few years then the chances are that your keyboard has extra keys in the bottom row that earlier keyboards didn't have. The spacebar, ctrl and alt keys have been joined by two windows keys (with the Microsoft Windows logo on them) and a menu key. These keys provide additional shortcut functions that work in Windows 95/98/SE/ME and Windows NT4/2000/XP.
How many of you use these extra keys? Few of you probably use these keys to their full potential as these keys (especially the windows keys) can perform a number of useful tasks.
First, the menu key will display the same menu relating to the currently selected object on the screen as right clicking on that object displays. What is more, this function cannot be disabled the way that the right mouse button can and so the menu is always available via this key. (If your keyboard doesn't have this key then you can achieve the same result by holding down the shift key and pressing the F10 key.
The Windows key is even more useful because it provides a shortcut to a number of useful options. Press the key by itself and the Start Menu will be displayed allowing you to then use the arrow keys to select your desired option from the menu without needing to touch the mouse.
Holding down the windows key while pressing another key provides even faster ways of accessing a number of useful functions. Hold down the windows key and press:
As you can see, the windows key provides access to lots of the functionality of your operating system without needing to use the mouse.
Oh, and if your keyboard doesn't have the windows key, you can open the start menu by pressing the ctrl and esc keys together but you miss out on the other shortcuts that use the windows key.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.