A key may refer to any of the following:
1. With a computer keyboard, a key is one of the keyboard's buttons. Letters, numbers, functions, and symbols are all represented on keys. For example, the picture shows the Windows key, a keyboard key found on most keyboards today.
When a keyboard key is pressed down, that key is sent as input to the computer and appears on the screen. For example, clicking in the following box with your mouse and then typing any letter key on the keyboard makes it appear in the box.
2. A key is also a tool used to lock and unlock a computer, computer drive, or another computer-related device. If you have lost the key to your computer device, Computer Hope cannot help you recover it. Contact the manufacturer of the product that is locked.
4. The term key or keyed is used to describe a cable with physical dimensions causing a cable, such as a ribbon cable, to connect only one direction. In some rare cases, this may prevent a cable from connecting correctly to a drive. For example, the manufacturer of a floppy disk drive may have keyed their connection differently than the cable manufacturer has. In this situation, the user may be required to purchase a different cable or floppy drive or modify the key on the cable.
5. When referring to encryption, a key is a set of instructions used to encrypt and decrypt data.
6. When referring to a unique number or identification, a key is sometimes used to describe a CD key or serial key.