Updated: 10/11/2017 by Computer Hope

A key may refer to any of the following:

Windows key1. When referring to a computer keyboard, a key is a single button on the keyboard. 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.

2. A key is also a tool used to lock and unlock a computer, computer drive or other computer related device. If you have lost the key to your computer device, Computer Hope cannot help you to recover it. Contact the manufacturer of the product that is locked.

3. When referring to the computer Microsoft Windows Registry, a Registry key, or key for short, is a term used to identify an item in the Registry, such as HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

4. The term key or keyed may also be used to describe a cable with physical dimensions that causes a cable, such as a ribbon cable, to be connected only one direction. In some rare cases, this may prevent a cable from being properly connected 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 either be required to purchase a different brand of cable or floppy drive, or modify the key on the cable.

5. When referring to encryption, a key is a set of instructions that is 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.

FN key, Function keys, Hard drive terms, Hardware key, Keyboard terms, Keystroke, Special key