Windows key

Updated: 05/21/2018 by Computer Hope

A Windows key may refer to any of the following:

Windows key1. Alternatively referred to as the winkey 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.

Using the Windows key in combination with another key allows you to perform tasks more quickly. For example, pressing the 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 overview.

Tip: 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 in the picture below, the Windows key is found between the Alt keys and Ctrl keys on both sides of the spacebar. With some PC keyboard manufacturers, they may substitute the Windows logo for another picture, but they 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-hand side of the keyboard is the Application key or Menu key, which 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-hand side of the keyboard, the Windows key is in-between the Ctrl key and the Alt key. On the right-hand side of the keyboard, the Windows key is in-between the Alt key and the Windows Menu key (as 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. Make sure 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. 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.
  4. Reboot the computer.
  5. Try other suggestions mentioned on our keyboard key troubleshooting page.

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

104 keyboard, Keyboard terms, Operating system terms