Get the Damn Windows Key Working

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So you've got Linux Ubuntu and wonder how to have that Windows key do something useful, or just do anything. Here's how to set it up.

Let's make that Windows key do something useful, (other than just openly advertising the fact that Microsoft operates a cartel and we're all pretty much obliged to bow to that.)

Open this file, else it'll create if never before used:-

Setup Unmanaged VPS (4 Noobs!) ... with vpsBible
Secure WordPress. Properly. ... with wpCop, the platform's dedicated security website
Olly 'the_guv' Connelly's site and 'WordPress 3 Ultimate Security' book.

In there, paste:-

Now go here:-

Choose whatever tasks you want to assign to a Windows key+something combination, click on the current shortcut, if any, and click your preferred combo.

For instance, I change these:-

Show the panel's run application dialogue box Wins+R
Search Wins+S

If you have any problems, try adding this line to the .xstartup file:-

Want more shortcut ideas? Here's a start, Part 17 – Custom Keyboard Application Shortcuts.


About the Author:

Olly Connelly (yeah, that's me) blogs at, polices WordPress security at and helps noobs build web servers at, so if you've got sleeping problems you know where to come.


  1. Meins321  April 18, 2010

    Can please descibe how to use Windows Key alone? without any combo with “+E” or “+X” just how to use it alone?

  2. the_guv  April 1, 2010

    @anant .. sorry, never tried with that but daresay there are some guides about via the big G 😛

  3. Anant Shrivastava  March 19, 2010

    any means to get windows or or SuperL to work independently example to open ubuntu menu.

  4. the_guv  December 7, 2009

    @loevborg .. tx for that but tell me ..

    “some existing bindings will stop working” .. which ones? haven’t had problems. then again, using Keyboard Shortcuts is a good idea as well and covered in this guide as an alternative or additional method.

  5. loevborg  December 2, 2009

    I don’t think remapping the windows key (in vendor-neutral language Super key or Mod4 key) is a good idea. As Tony says, some existing bindings will stop working. What’s more, it’s not really necessary to use the key. For instance, you can set up “Win+T” to start a terminal in “System/Preferences/Keyboard Shortcuts”: just click on “Run a Terminal” and hit Win+T. It’ll show up as “Mod4+T”.

  6. the_guv  November 5, 2009

    @Tony .. fair play, tx .. similar deal with a bunch of apps, besides.

    F’rinstance, I use the Windows key in Quanta as part of a combinator to issue various commands (mainly wrapping code chunks) .. so beware that your splendid shortcuts can come undone when you change defaults. Easy enough to change back though.

  7. Tony Maro  November 4, 2009

    Keep in mind, the Windows key is bound to many of the default Compiz settings, so if you’re running the enhanced desktop effects, you might not want to mess with that.

    For instance, I use the “Desktop Expo” effect, and hitting Win+E will zoom out to view all my desktops side by side.

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