Windows logo key (also known as Windows key, start key, logo key, flag key, super key, or flag) is a
keyboard key which was originally introduced on the Microsoft Natural keyboard before the release of Windows 95. This key became a standard key on PC keyboards. Tapping this key invokes the operating system's start menu, if it has one. In Windows, Ctrl+Esc performs the same function, in case the keyboard lacks this key.
Historically, the addition of two Windows keys and a menu key marked the change from the 101/102-key to 104/105-key layout for PC keyboards: compared to the former layout, a Windows key was placed between the left Ctrl and the left Alt; another Windows key and—immediately to its right—a menu key were placed between the AltGr (or right Alt key on keyboards that lack AltGr) and the right control key. In laptop and other compact keyboards it is common to have just one Windows key (usually on the left). Also, on Microsoft's Entertainment Desktop sets (designed for Windows Vista), the Windows key is in the middle of the keyboard, below all other keys (where the user's thumbs rest). On Windows 8 tablet computers, hardware certification requirements initially mandated that the Windows key is centered on the bezel below the screen, except on a convertible laptop, where the button is allowed to be off-center in a tablet configuration. This requirement was relaxed in Windows 8.1, allowing the Windows key to be placed on any bezel or edge of the unit, though a centered location along the bottom bezel is still preferred.
On Windows 9x and Windows NT families of Windows operating system, tapping the Windows key by itself traditionally revealed Windows Taskbar (if not visible) and opened the Start menu. Starting with Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, this key still launches the Start menu but no longer shows the taskbar.
Pressing the key in combination with other keys allows invoking many common functions through the keyboard. What Windows key combinations ("shortcuts") are available and active in a given Windows session depends on many factors, such as accessibility options, the type of the session (regular or Terminal Services), the Windows version, the presence of specific software such as IntelliType and Group Policy if applicable.
Below is a list of notable shortcuts. Unless otherwise noted, they are valid in the next version of Windows.
Windows 95 Edit
The following shortcuts are valid in Windows 95.
- ⊞ Win+D shows the desktop, or restore hidden programs when pressed a second time.
- ⊞ Win+E opens Windows Explorer.
- ⊞ Win+F opens Find files and folders.
- ⊞ Win+M minimizes all windows.
- ⊞ Win+⇧ Shift+M restores windows that were minimized with ⊞ Win+M.
- ⊞ Win+R opens the Run dialog box.
- ⊞ Win+U runs Utility Manager.
- ⊞ Win+Pause or ⊞ Win+Break opens properties of My Computer.
- ⊞ Win+F1 opens Windows Help.
- ⊞ Win+Ctrl+F opens Find computers.
- ⊞ Win+Tab ↹ cycles through taskbar buttons.
Windows XP Edit
Windows XP adds the following shortcuts.
- ⊞ Win+B selects the first icon in the Notification Area.
- ⊞ Win+Ctrl+F opens Search for Computers. Requires Active Directory Domain Services.
- ⊞ Win+Ctrl+Alt+↵ Enter toggles full screen in Internet Explorer. This shortcut has been discontinued, replaced by F11.[when?]
- ⊞ Win+L locks the desktop and prepares for switching users if Fast User Switching is enabled.
Windows XP Media Center Edition adds the following:
- ⊞ Win+Alt+↵ Enter starts Windows Media Center.
Windows Vista Edit
Windows Vista adds the following shortcuts:
- ⊞ Win+G selects next Windows Sidebar gadget item, bringing all gadgets to the foreground in process.
- ⊞ Win+Space bar toggles Windows Sidebar. Windows Sidebar was discontinued in Windows 7.
- ⊞ Win+X invokes Windows Mobility Center. Works only if portable computer features are installed. This key combination is reassigned in Windows 8.
- ⊞ Win+Tab ↹ switches active app using Aero Flip 3D. Requires desktop composition, a feature of Windows Aero. Aero Flip 3D is discontinued in Windows 8 and this key is reassigned.
- ⊞ Win+Ctrl+Tab ↹
is same as above, but Aero Flip 3D remains even when this key
combination is released. Arrow keys or mouse may be used to navigate between windows.
- ⊞ Win+1 through ⊞ Win+9, ⊞ Win+0 starts the corresponding Quick Launch Bar program. ⊞ Win+0 runs the tenth item. Quick Launch is discontinued in Windows 7.
Windows 7 Edit
Windows 7 introduces the following:
- ⊞ Win+Space bar activates Aero Peek. Reassigned in Windows 8.
- ⊞ Win+P toggles between the devices that receive video card's output. The default is computer monitor only. Other options are video projector only, both showing the same image and both showing a portion of a larger desktop.
- ⊞ Win+↑ maximizes the active window.
- ⊞ Win+↓ restores the default window size and state of the active window, if maximized. Otherwise, minimizes the active window.
- ⊞ Win+← or → to align the window to the corresponding side of the screen, maximizing it vertically.
- ⊞ Win+⇧ Shift+← or → to move the window to the next or previous monitor, if multiple monitors are used
- ⊞ Win+T to iterate through items on the taskbar from left to right.
- ⊞ Win+⇧ Shift+T to iterate through items on the taskbar from right to left.
- ⊞ Win++ or ⊞ Win to zoom into the screen at the mouse cursor position using the Magnifier Utility.
- ⊞ Win+- to zoom out if the Magnifier Utility is running.
- ⊞ Win+Esc to exit zoom.
- ⊞ Win+1 through ⊞ Win+9, ⊞ Win+0 to either start or switch to the corresponding program pinned to taskbar. ⊞ Win+0
runs the tenth item. Press multiple times to cycle through the
application's open windows. Press and release quickly to keep the taskbar's preview open (which allows you to cycle using arrow keys).
- ⊞ Win+Home minimizes/restores all windows other than the active window.
Windows 8 Edit
Windows 8 introduces the following:
- ⊞ Win+C opens the charms.
- ⊞ Win+F
opens Search charm in file mode to search for computer files. If the
Search charm is already open, switches to file search mode.
- ⊞ Win+W opens Search charm in settings mode to search for Control Panel applets. If the Search charm is already open, switches to settings search mode.
- ⊞ Win+Q
opens Search charm in app mode to search for app shortcuts and
executable files. If the search charm is already open, it has no effects.
- ⊞ Win+H opens the Share charm.
- ⊞ Win+K opens the Devices charm for printing, connecting to a second screen/projector, or pushing multimedia content via Play To.
- ⊞ Win+I opens Settings charm, where app-specific settings, network options and shutdown button is located.
- ⊞ Win+X opens Quick Links menu and grants access to several frequently used features of Windows, such as accessing desktop or File Explorer. With Windows 8.1 update, it includes a shortcut to shutdown or restart the computer.
- ⊞ Win+Z or right click opens the command bar for Metro-style apps. This bar appears at the bottom of the screen and replaces both context menu and toolbar in Metro-style apps.
- ⊞ Win+Tab ↹ invokes the app switcher and changes between Metro-style apps. Unlike Alt+Tab ↹, the app switcher does not include windows that appear on desktop.
- ⊞ Win+Space bar changes input method. Unlike Alt+⇧ Shift, this combination also causes a pop-up notification to appear.
- ⊞ Win+PrtScr or ⊞ Win+Volume up instantly saves a screenshot to the "Screenshots" folder in "Pictures" library. All screenshots are saved as PNG files.
Windows 8.1 Edit
Windows 8.1 introduces the following:
- ⊞ Win+O locks device orientation
- ⊞ Win+S activates the Search Everywhere charm, opening a sidebar at the side of the screen.
- ⊞ Win+U activates the Ease of Access Center control panel applet
- ⊞ Win+V cycles through notifications
Windows 10 Edit
Windows 10 introduces the following:
- ⊞ Win+C activates Cortana
- ⊞ Win+Tab ↹ opens task view
- ⊞ Win+↑ or ↓ to align the window to the corresponding quadrant of the screen
- ⊞ Win+Ctrl+D creates a new virtual desktop
- ⊞ Win+Ctrl+F4 closes the active virtual desktop
- ⊞ Win+Ctrl+← or → switches between virtual desktops
Microsoft Office Edit
Additional installed software may introduce other shortcuts using the Windows key. For example, Microsoft OneNote adds several shortcuts:
- ⊞ Win+S to take a screenshot for OneNote; conflicts with ⊞ Win+⇧ Shift+S on Windows 8.1.
- ⊞ Win+N to open a new side note in OneNote.
- ⊞ Win+⇧ Shift+N to open OneNote.