Windows key

Updated: 04/12/2021 by Computer Hope

A Windows key may refer to any of the following:

Windows key

1. Alternatively referred to as the winkey, win, or WK, the Windows key is a key found on IBM compatible keyboards used with the Microsoft Windows operating system. The Windows key has the Microsoft logo on it and is found between the left Ctrl and Alt keys on the keyboard. Pressing the Windows key by itself opens the Start menu that also displays the search box.

Holding down the Windows key and pressing another key, to trigger a keyboard shortcut, can speed up common tasks. For example, the keyboard shortcut Windows key+E (press and hold the Windows key and then, while holding that key, press the E key, and then let go of both buttons) opens Windows Explorer. For a full list of Windows key shortcuts, see the Windows shortcut keys guide.


Users who are familiar with Macs can relate the Windows key to the Apple Command key.

Where is the Windows key on the keyboard?

As seen below, the Windows key is found between the Alt keys and Ctrl keys on both sides of the spacebar. Some PC keyboard manufacturers may substitute the Windows logo for another picture, but the key still functions the same. For example, some Linux users may put a Tux sticker over the Windows key or replace the key with a key that shows Tux.

Windows keyboard key

Next to the Windows key on the right side of the keyboard is the Application key or Menu key. It brings up a menu for the current window or highlighted text. Pressing this button is usually the same as pressing the menu that appears when you right-click the mouse.

Menu keyboard key

What keys are next to the Windows key?

On the left side of the keyboard, the Windows key is in-between the Ctrl key and the Alt key. On the right side of the keyboard, the Windows key is in-between the Alt key and the Windows Menu key (shown above).

Why is my Windows key not working?

If both Windows keys on the keyboard are not working, try the following steps to troubleshoot the problem. If only one of the Windows keys is not working, the key is either broken or dirty.

  1. Ensure that pressing the Windows key alone and the Windows key with another letter (e.g., E) both do not work.
  2. If you have a keyboard with an Fn key, make sure it is turned off.
  3. If you have a function key or other key with a Windows logo and a lock, see the below Windows lock key section.
  4. Individually press all other modifier keys in case one of them is stuck either physically or in software. For example, press the Shift, Alt, and Ctrl keys on both sides of the keyboard at least once.
  5. Reboot the computer.
  1. Try other suggestions mentioned on our keyboard key troubleshooting page.

What is the button or key with a Windows logo and a lock?

When playing a game, if you press the Windows key, it exits you from the game, and in some cases, may even crash the game. Some gaming keyboards have a function key with a Windows logo or a separate button next to a Windows logo. This key and button are designed to enable and disable the Windows key. So, when playing a game, you can disable the Windows key to prevent it from doing anything if it's mistakenly pushed.

If this is a separate button, pressing the button enables and disables the Windows key. There may also be an indicator light to indicate when it's enabled or disabled. If your keyboard has a function key with a Windows flag icon, use the Fn key and that function key to enable and disable the Windows key. For example, on a Cooler Master gaming keyboard, this feature is on the F12 key, so pressing Fn+F12 enables and disables the Windows key.

Where is the Windows key on a Chromebook or Apple computer?

Chromebooks and Apple computers do not have a Windows key. The Windows key is only found on keyboards designed for Microsoft Products. With Apple keyboards, the Windows key is replaced with the Option key. On Chromebooks, there's a Search key that's similar to the Windows key. However, it's located where the Caps Lock key is on most keyboards.

2. A Windows key may also be a short way of saying the Windows product key.

104 keyboard, Keyboard terms, Operating system terms