A Celebration of The Windows Key

The latest version of google desktop has a useful feature of pressing ctrl twice to bring up a floating search dialog (similar to slickrun). You can then type search terms including names of shortcuts in your start menu. Typing “word” to start word works quite well and with the autocomplete you can usually get there in less letters.

I’ve been messing with mouseless windows for the last few weeks. Currently I’m on:

  • Find and run robot. I found launchy but it had bugs. Find and run robot is much more powerful anyway. Highly recommended.

  • Autohotkey is the business too. I’m currently using it for macros everywhere. So snippets of code that I want to use work in any text editor. I also have a couple of other scripts. My current favourite though is this one:

Control-Space and start typing. Hit enter and I’m there. no more alt-tabbing back and forth.

Actually there is no need to add anything to the path. try win+r “.” (just type the dot character). You’ll see that your default directory for win+r is your %homedrive%%homepath%. So you can just put links and executables in there. Admittedly that get cluttered a bit, but then again your real home is not used for much. Anything important is in subfolders of it.

question: sometimes my windows key will not work to expand the start menu. other windows key shortcuts work fine. I’ve seen this on two machines with XP. Have I inadvertently switched it off? Anyone else see this?

try a google for “Launchy” as an app launcher, absolute bliss…
small mem-footprint, multi-use; i hardly ever use the Start menu, or Run anymore

I’d never heard of the win+run shortcuts thing, and I love it! It sure beats all the clicking around the start menu!

Does anyone know how to change the WIN + (any number) shortcuts? I can’t find any literature regarding them on the internet.

Here is what I found when I experimented:
WIN+1: Nothing I can tell
+2: Nothing
+3: Runs my “Suspend.exe” program (which is located at C:\suspend.exe) - not sure why it runs this program… (I have this program set at a shortcut for my Fujitsu ECO button on my laptop)
+4: Nothing
+5: Nothing
+6: Lauches “cdplayer.exe” - but it closes right after…if you pay attention to the taskbar, you will briefly notice a cd icon show up. I only found out that it was cdplayer.exe by opening task manager and then pressing the shortcut repeatably.
+7: cdplayer.exe
+8: cdplayer.exe
+9: cdplayer.exe
+0: Starts the screensaver

Can anyone else replicate these shortcuts? And also, does anyone know how to modify them? Thanks!


Regarding the Win + number thing: in Vista, 1 through 0 open the first 10 shortcuts in the Quicklaunch toolbar. I have not tested in other Windows versions.

Also in Vista:
Win + X is the Windows Mobility Center. (I guess that is only important if you have a laptop.)
Win + B shifts focus to the system tray icons in the Startbar.
Win + T shifts focus to the task section of the Startbar.
Win + G is a substitute for the Ctrl/Ctrl thing to open the Google Desktop floating searchbar thing (if installed).

Even though they aren’t Winkey combos, I have always liked these:
Ctrl - Esc is a substitute for just kitting the Winkey.
Ctrl - Shift - Esc opens Task Manager
Shift - F10 is a substitute for the other Windows key (the right-mouse, or menu key, or whatever that thing is called).

One more thing (only remotely related): run gpedit.msc to open the Group Policy Editor MMC snap-in, open User Configuration/Administrative Templates/Start Menu and Taskbar and set Remote Help menu from Start Menu to rid your start menu of that annoying Help item. There’s other cool stuff in there as well.


I’ve taken to using launchy(http://www.launchy.net/) for quick launching programs, access to files/folders, and doing web searches.

It doesn’t catalog everything but for a lot of things it brings the computer to my fingertips fast.

The winkey+L is not working on my PC, the rest of the combination work fine. Can anyone help to advise? thanks

Just use Launchy. I set the hotkey to Win+Z.

I gotta say that I love doing things without the mouse. Its way cooler, its way faster, and its more mentally engaging.

However, I sometimes find myself using the mouse anyways.

The keyboard is like using a huge vocabulary, sometimes you just want to say things stupidly and with more words.

Plus, sometimes one hand is stuck under the desk ;o

I’ve always wondered what the difference between Windows + D and Windows + M is…

I use Winkey* for as long as I can remember. Locking my workstation, getting to the desktop, etc. Even when I started using Linux I configured all the common Winkey* combinations to match Window’s so I could comfortably use them.
However the Winkey+B I didn’t know yet. I prefer to work with the keyboard and this will help me to use the keyboard a little bit more. :slight_smile: Thanks

I’ve always wondered what the difference between Windows + D and
Windows + M is…
Guillermo on November 3, 2007 02:08 PM

Guillermo, I can’t answer that and don’t see why Windows+D was introduced (maybe because D is for Desktop) but Windows+M Minimises all windows and Windows+Shift+M restores them again. Makes more sense to use the same letter to me. Oh and I like the Windows+L, I’ve always wanted a quick way to do that!

The winkey+L is not working on my PC, the rest of the combination
work fine. Can anyone help to advise? thanks
ngsp on September 11, 2007 12:44 AM

ngsp, This only works on NT based versions of Windows (2000, XP) and Vista. If you’re using one of these versions and you can’t lock your computer (the long way is Ctrl+Alt+Del then click Lock Computer) you’ll need to tweak the network settings. I can’t remember what to do, but it should be possible on Winndows NT/2000 and later.

And my contribution to the thread - the button immediately left of the right Ctrl key (a menu with a pointer) brings up the context menu (same as right-click).

Hope my ramblings help :slight_smile:

PS. I just remembered, to set Google.co.yourcountry (google.co.uk for example) to search your country by default, click the ‘pages from UK’ button, then - leaving the search bar empty - click Search. The address bar now has the UK button selected when it loads. Now bookmark this page, or use it as your homepage.

Using shortcuts there is a HORRIBLE solution (kludge). You’re supposed to use App Paths.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths

…like other people said above.

I went through Heathrow last week, and there were a noticeably large number of adverts up in the security screening area. (All for a certain large consultancy)

My Laptop Has no windows key :frowning:

In response to Dom’s question. I run windows vista and the Win-number combinations launch the programs that are on my quicklaunch bar in order from left to right.

For example IE is the 4th icon over so Win-4 launches it.

I have more than 9 icons showing though and I have no idea how to launch the rest.


You can use SharpKeys to add a key map to your registry in place of the windows key if you need it. For example, my keyboard does not have a windows key either and I don’t use F6 for anything else so I mapped it so F6 is my windows key.