Can I emulate the Windows key?
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