Can I em­u­late the Win­dows key?

Computer Active (UK) - - Problems Solved -

QI have a home­built desk­top PC that’s fairly up to date, but I use it with a clas­sic but an­cient IBM Model M key­board. This was made in the UK, and it’s still work­ing well after bil­lions of key­strokes! In fact, this key­board dates from 1989, which I be­lieve is a good while be­fore Mi­crosoft came up with the idea of a ded­i­cated phys­i­cal Win­dows key for key­boards. I’m keen to make use of the many Win­dows key short­cuts you pub­lish, but not so keen on ditch­ing my faith­ful old key­board — so I’m won­der­ing if there’s a way to ‘re­pro­gram’ an­other key so that it acts as the Win­dows key? My PC runs the 64bit edi­tion of Win­dows 10. Garth Wil­liams

AYes, this is pos­si­ble us­ing a key­board-map­ping tool, such as Sharp­keys — which is a free down­load from www.snipca.com/25326. Sharp­keys is pretty easy to use but it does make changes to the Win­dows registry, so it’s sen­si­ble to back up be­fore pro­ceed­ing. Note that the pro­gram hasn’t been up­dated to say that it’s com­pat­i­ble with Win­dows 10, but we found that it does work with the op­er­at­ing sys­tem.

Launch Sharp­keys then be­gin by click­ing Add. You’ll see two col­umns of key codes, la­belled ‘Map this key (From key)’ and ‘To this key (To key)’. In the left-hand ‘From key’ list select the key on your IBM key­board that you’d like to serve as your sub­sti­tute for the Win­dows key. If you can’t find the key in the list, click the left-hand Type Key but­ton and tap the rel­e­vant key fol­lowed by OK. Now, in the right-hand ‘To key’ list scroll down to find and then select ‘Spe­cial: Left Win­dows (E0_5B)’, which is the code for the Win­dows key. Check your choices and, when you’re happy, click OK fol­lowed by the ‘Write to Registry’ but­ton. You may need to res­tart your PC for the change to come into ef­fect.

Fi­nally, if you ever wish to re­verse this change then re­peat these in­struc­tions but map the your se­lected key back on to it­self. So, for ex­am­ple, if you mapped the Scroll Lock key to the Win­dows key, then you should select ‘Spe­cial: Scroll Lock (00_46)’ in both the ‘From key’ and ‘To key’ lists (see screen­shot).

It is pos­si­ble to re­pro­gram a key of your choice to be­come the Win­dows key with the free Sharp­keys tool

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