How to Create a Windows Key If You Don’t Have One

Windows keyWachiwit / Shutterstock

If you prefer to use an older classic keyboard such as the IBM Model M which does not include a physical Windows key, there is an interesting way to “add” one using Windows 10 by borrowing a key that you don’t use very often. Here’s how to do it.

Free use of Microsoft PowerToys utility, you can easily reassign any key to make it work like any other key (or even give them a new function like cutting your audio). In our case, we will assign the Windows key function to a key of your choice.

(By default, the Command key on a Mac keyboard works like the Windows key if plugged into a Windows 10 computer. You don’t need to use this trick when using a Mac keyboard with Windows – just use the key. “Command” as your Windows key.)

First, if you don’t already have PowerToys for Windows 10, download it for free on the Microsoft website. After that, launch PowerToys and click on the “Keyboard Manager” option in the sidebar. In the “Keyboard Manager” options, click “Remap a key”.

In the “Remap Keyboard” window that appears, click the plus sign (+) to add a key mapping.

Now you need to decide which key you want to duplicate as the Windows key. We find the right Alt key to work very well (if you have one), because it is easy to use for one-handed Windows shortcuts and most people use the left Alt key more frequently. You can also choose a rarely used key, such as Scroll lock or Right Ctrl instead. It is entirely up to you.

When defining the mapping in PowerToys, use the drop-down menu under the “Key:” heading on the left to select the key you want to use as the Windows key. In this example, we are using “Alt (right)”.

In the “Mapped To” section on the right, select “Win” (which represents the Windows key) from the drop-down menu.

In PowerToys, select a key and assign it to the Windows key in Keyboard Manager on Windows 10

Click OK. “Windows will probably warn you that the key you are remapping will not be usable because you reassigned it to another function. In this case, click” Continue Anyway. “

After that, the new Windows key mapping should be active. Test it. If you press the key you assigned to Windows, your Start menu should appear. From there you should also be able to use it to launch handy shortcuts like Windows + I to open Settings.

When you are ready, close PowerToys and you can use your computer as usual. You won’t have to log out or restart your PC; your change will take effect immediately.

How to remove the new Windows key mapping

If you change your mind and want to assign Windows a different key or restore the function of the key you remapped, launch PowerToys and go to Keyboard Manager> Remap Key.

Find the mapping you defined earlier and click the recycle bin to delete it. Then click on “OK” to close the window. After that, you are free to create a new mapping or just close Power Toys.

RELATED: Why I still use a 34 year old IBM Model M keyboard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.