That STUPID Windows Key!
File this under: "What were they thinking?".
When Microsoft introduced Windows 95 over 22 years ago, they also introduced their first major hardware idea... the Windows Key, and I've hated that stupid key from the first time I saw it.
Windows 95 was radically different from all the Windows versions before it because it introduced the concept of the "Start Menu" as a way of finding and running programs. It was a big deal for Microsoft. They had a huge campaign to drive attention to the "Start Button" on the bottom of the screen, even going far enough to use "Start Me Up" from The Rolling Stones in commercials to draw attention to the new way to run programs.
The make the Start Menu even easier to find, Microsoft went one step too far, when they introduced a new key on the keyboard... that STUPID Windows Key. The purpose of the Windows Key was simple. When you hit it, the Start Menu popped up. That's why I HATE it. There is absolutely no reason for this key. It's way too close to the shift, control and alt keys, so people frequently hit it by mistake, and back then it was particularly difficult because a lot of people were still running DOS programs so it forced them to switch from text / DOS screens back to Windows, and they often didn't know how to get back.
In the early days of Windows 95, I went out of my way to find older keyboards for clients, and in some cases, advised them to physically remove the keys from their keyboards and cover the sockets with tape to cut down on complaints.
What I couldn't understand was WHY they configured it to launch the Start Menu whenever you hit it. Did they think that would save you the effort of dragging your mouse to the lower left hand side to click on "Start"? Even if you hit it on purpose, you still had to drag your mouse to the exact same place to actually click on something.
It's been over 22 years, and that STUPID Windows Key is still on every single keyboard, and it STILL serves absolutely NO useful purpose. I realize it has other purposes, such as keyboard combination shortcuts like "Windows-R" to run programs, but I hate the fact that it does ANYTHING when you hit it by itself.
I wouldn't mind if the key was located someplace else, such as at the top, but putting it near the shift, control, and alt keys was a bad idea. If nothing else, I wish they changed its purpose so that it only works in conjunction with other keys, like Apple's Command Key, so that it doesn't take you out of the program you're working on whenever you hit it.
Joe Crescenzi, Founder
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