Undocumented, awkward ALT+HOME shortcut?


J

JJ

I just noticed in my Windows XP SP3. There's an ALT+HOME shortcut that seems
to work as if the Internet key (on the keyboard) was pressed.

Funny thing is, the shortcut only work in Windows Explorer and at the
awkward moment: when the typing cursor is active. e.g. when:

- The address bar is focused.
- Renaming a folder from the tree view.
- Renaming a file/folder from the right pane.

I thouht this was caused by IE extension, but I have checked it from a clean
installation of Windows XP in VirtualBox. The shortcut is also working.

I've searched the builtin Windows help for "ALT HOME" (no quotes) to find
any listed ALT+HOME keyboard shortcut, but there aren't any.

Anyone know anything about this specific shortcut and how to disable it?
 
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N

Nil

I've searched the builtin Windows help for "ALT HOME" (no quotes)
to find any listed ALT+HOME keyboard shortcut, but there aren't
any.

Anyone know anything about this specific shortcut and how to
disable it?

No, but I wish I know how to ENable it. I have no Windows Key on my
keyboard, but I'd like to be able to emulate some of its magic
functions, particularly Win-D (to show the bare desktop) and Win-R (to
bring up the Run dialog box.)

Is there any way to do that?
 
V

VanguardLH

JJ said:
I just noticed in my Windows XP SP3. There's an ALT+HOME shortcut that seems
to work as if the Internet key (on the keyboard) was pressed.

Funny thing is, the shortcut only work in Windows Explorer and at the
awkward moment: when the typing cursor is active. e.g. when:

- The address bar is focused.
- Renaming a folder from the tree view.
- Renaming a file/folder from the right pane.

I thouht this was caused by IE extension, but I have checked it from a clean
installation of Windows XP in VirtualBox. The shortcut is also working.

I've searched the builtin Windows help for "ALT HOME" (no quotes) to find
any listed ALT+HOME keyboard shortcut, but there aren't any.

Anyone know anything about this specific shortcut and how to disable it?

"as if the Internet key (on the keyboard) was pressed". Well, obviously
the standard 101/104 keyboard layout doesn't include networking, media,
or other programmed keys. Winodws can recognize a few multimedia keys
on some keyboards; i.e., there are pre-programmed entries in the
registry for certain scan codes that media keyboards are supposed to use
for some very basic macro keys. Beyond that, you have to install
software to define the networking and media keys on your keyboard.

Look at whatever software you installed for you *unidentified* keyboard
to see what special macros or functions it can define for that keyboard.

Presumably because you did not mention it then you are not remoting into
a host and then wondering why there are additional Windows shortcut
keys. When remoting (RDP) into a host, Alt+Home displays the Start menu
for the remote host; see:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/301583
 
P

Paul in Houston TX

JJ said:
I just noticed in my Windows XP SP3. There's an ALT+HOME shortcut that seems
to work as if the Internet key (on the keyboard) was pressed.

Funny thing is, the shortcut only work in Windows Explorer and at the
awkward moment: when the typing cursor is active. e.g. when:

- The address bar is focused.
- Renaming a folder from the tree view.
- Renaming a file/folder from the right pane.

I thouht this was caused by IE extension, but I have checked it from a clean
installation of Windows XP in VirtualBox. The shortcut is also working.

I've searched the builtin Windows help for "ALT HOME" (no quotes) to find
any listed ALT+HOME keyboard shortcut, but there aren't any.

Anyone know anything about this specific shortcut and how to disable it?

It appears to be an IE shortcut key.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306832
It probably integrates with the Shell since.
It opens SeaMonkey for me since that is my specified viewer
but if IE is open it takes me to IE homepage.
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

In message <[email protected]>, Nil
No, but I wish I know how to ENable it. I have no Windows Key on my
keyboard, but I'd like to be able to emulate some of its magic
functions, particularly Win-D (to show the bare desktop) and Win-R (to
bring up the Run dialog box.)

Is there any way to do that?

I suppose you know that Ctrl-Esc does the same as pressing the Windows
key. But it doesn't work with the combinations (the one I use most is
Win-E to open Explorer, and at a sensible start place too). If you do
find an answer, please share.

You don't say whether this is a desktop or a laptop (or something else,
such as an integrated PC where you have no choice).

If it's an ordinary desktop, is there a reason you can't just change the
keyboard? They're dirt cheap these days.

If it's a laptop - does it have any "special" keys? If so, there may be
a way of redefining one (or more) of those to be the Windows key? I have
an old (Compaq Armada 1750) machine that is running Windows 98 (SE
lite), on which the keyboard has no Windows keys (so I assume it
originally predated Windows), but has four extra buttons at the top
left; I somewhere obtained drivers to make them be the Windows keys. If
you have any such keys, this may be possible for you.
 
N

Nil

I suppose you know that Ctrl-Esc does the same as pressing the
Windows key.

Not for me - Ctrl-Esc opens the Start Menu. That's all.
You don't say whether this is a desktop or a laptop (or something
else, such as an integrated PC where you have no choice).

If it's an ordinary desktop, is there a reason you can't just
change the keyboard? They're dirt cheap these days.

It's a desktop. I'm talking about my trusted old clicky-key IBM
keyboard. I love this thing and I've never used a keyboard that was as
comfortable to type on or as long-lasting. I've been using this thing
for decades, through several different computers. If it had some
problem or indication that its life was nearing the end I'd look for a
replacement, but it keeps on clicking.

I've seen signs of modern reproductions of these keyboards that do have
a Win key, and I'd be interested in them if they weren't so damn
expensive. But if you're wondering what to get me for Christmas...
 
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K

Ken Blake, MVP

In message <[email protected]>, Nil


I suppose you know that Ctrl-Esc does the same as pressing the Windows
key. But it doesn't work with the combinations (the one I use most is
Win-E to open Explorer, and at a sensible start place too). If you do
find an answer, please share.

You don't say whether this is a desktop or a laptop (or something else,
such as an integrated PC where you have no choice).

If it's an ordinary desktop, is there a reason you can't just change the
keyboard? They're dirt cheap these days.

If it's a laptop - does it have any "special" keys? If so, there may be
a way of redefining one (or more) of those to be the Windows key? I have
an old (Compaq Armada 1750) machine that is running Windows 98 (SE
lite), on which the keyboard has no Windows keys (so I assume it
originally predated Windows), but has four extra buttons at the top
left; I somewhere obtained drivers to make them be the Windows keys. If
you have any such keys, this may be possible for you.


To change the function of any keys, I recommend using the free
Sharpkeys. You can download it at http://sharpkeys.codeplex.com/

I use it to turn off Caps lock and Insert, two keys which I never want
to use, but am prone to hitting accidentally.
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

Nil said:
Not for me - Ctrl-Esc opens the Start Menu. That's all.

That's what hitting the Windows key on its own does ... (-:
[]
It's a desktop. I'm talking about my trusted old clicky-key IBM
keyboard. I love this thing and I've never used a keyboard that was as
comfortable to type on or as long-lasting. I've been using this thing
for decades, through several different computers. If it had some
problem or indication that its life was nearing the end I'd look for a
replacement, but it keeps on clicking.

Ah, understand - the one with F1 to F10 on the left (and no F12 and F12
anywhere)? Yes, solid as a rock (and very heavy).
I've seen signs of modern reproductions of these keyboards that do have
a Win key, and I'd be interested in them if they weren't so damn
expensive. But if you're wondering what to get me for Christmas...

Well, if you'll get me one with the numeric pad on the left (similarly
expensive ...)
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

In message <[email protected]>, "Ken Blake,
MVP said:
To change the function of any keys, I recommend using the free
Sharpkeys. You can download it at http://sharpkeys.codeplex.com/

I use it to turn off Caps lock and Insert, two keys which I never want
to use, but am prone to hitting accidentally.
Well, I very occasionally use caps lock. To detect hitting it
accidentally, however, I use Toggle Keys: it's under accessibility in
the Control Panel. This gives a beep when any of the lock keys are
turned on (and a different, lower, when turned off).For the insert key, ITK - one of Mike Lin's insanely tiny utilities
(http://www.mlin.net/other.shtml) - serves a similar purpose. (Though I
agree it's a key I hardly ever use, so turning it into a Windows key
might suit the OP - if you can tell him how to do it with your
sharpkeys!)
 
K

Ken Blake, MVP

In message <[email protected]>, "Ken Blake,

Well, I very occasionally use caps lock. To detect hitting it
accidentally, however, I use Toggle Keys: it's under accessibility in
the Control Panel. This gives a beep when any of the lock keys are
turned on (and a different, lower, when turned off).


I had tried Toggle Key, but at least on my computer, it was so quiet I
could barely hear it. Besides since I never want to use it, I'd rather
it did nothing than did what I didn't want and then have to undo it.
For the insert key, ITK - one of Mike Lin's insanely tiny utilities
(http://www.mlin.net/other.shtml) - serves a similar purpose. (Though I
agree it's a key I hardly ever use, so turning it into a Windows key
might suit the OP - if you can tell him how to do it with your
sharpkeys!)

It's very easy to use SharpKeys. It's really self explanatory. No
instruction is needed.

I wouldn't want it to be used for something else either. If I did what
you suggest, I would still hit it accidentally when I wanted to
backspace, and have it do something else I didn't want done.
 
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J

JJ

Look at whatever software you installed for you *unidentified* keyboard
to see what special macros or functions it can define for that keyboard.

I already mentioned that the shortcut also present in a clean Windows
installation. So there's no third party drivers nor programs. The shortcut
involves the ALT and HOME keys only. Do you need a special keyboard for
that?
Presumably because you did not mention it then you are not remoting into
a host and then wondering why there are additional Windows shortcut
keys. When remoting (RDP) into a host, Alt+Home displays the Start menu
for the remote host; see:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/301583

That's because I don't use any. And I *did* say that the ALT+HOME opens the
default Web browser program. Not the Start Menu.
 
J

JJ

It appears to be an IE shortcut key.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306832
It probably integrates with the Shell since.
It opens SeaMonkey for me since that is my specified viewer
but if IE is open it takes me to IE homepage.

Thanks.
It seems like a leftover shortcut they forgot to disable in Windows
Explorer.
The shortcut doesn't appear to be present in Windows 7 Windows Explorer.
 
N

Nil

I just noticed in my Windows XP SP3. There's an ALT+HOME shortcut
that seems to work as if the Internet key (on the keyboard) was
pressed.

Funny thing is, the shortcut only work in Windows Explorer and at
the awkward moment: when the typing cursor is active. e.g. when:

- The address bar is focused.
- Renaming a folder from the tree view.
- Renaming a file/folder from the right pane.

I thouht this was caused by IE extension, but I have checked it
from a clean installation of Windows XP in VirtualBox. The
shortcut is also working.

I've searched the builtin Windows help for "ALT HOME" (no quotes)
to find any listed ALT+HOME keyboard shortcut, but there aren't
any.

Anyone know anything about this specific shortcut and how to
disable it?

Alt-Home is the browser's shortcut to go to its Home Page. You can also
type web URLs into Windows Explorer's address bar, and it will bring up
that address in the default web browser. This also works for other
network addresses, like Windows network shares and FTP addresses. This
is all by design and I don't believe there's any way to defeat it.

I thought it was common knowledge. I use it often when using the
browser. I don't use the feature with Windows Explorer, but I knew it
was there. I don't know if or where Microsoft documents it, but it's
mentioned in lots of web sites. This one, for example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_keyboard_shortcuts
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

Nil said:
No, it's this common one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ModelM.jpg

Mine's branded "Lexmark", but it's identical. I've also got two spares.
I'm all set with keyboards for about the next hundred years, and this
thing could survive a nuclear blast.

That assumes you have motherboards to last a similar time that have the
right socket. Keyboard sockets are I understand disappearing.
 
N

Nil

That assumes you have motherboards to last a similar time that
have the right socket. Keyboard sockets are I understand
disappearing.

This is true. Parallel ports are gone. Serial ports are next to gone.
PS2 ports are getting pretty dang scarce. USB is the way of the
world... for now.

This kind of forced obsolescence is unfortunate. There's no advantage
to connecting a keyboard via USB vs. PS2. It's all down to pennies
saved in manufacturing and to forcing the purchase of new hardware even
when unnecessary.
 
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K

Ken Blake, MVP

This is true. Parallel ports are gone. Serial ports are next to gone.
PS2 ports are getting pretty dang scarce. USB is the way of the
world... for now.


Yes, but you can buy an adapter from the one to the other for around
$1.
 
P

Paul in Houston TX

JJ said:
Thanks.
It seems like a leftover shortcut they forgot to disable in Windows
Explorer.
The shortcut doesn't appear to be present in Windows 7 Windows Explorer.

Yea, Just tried my 7 machine. It does not open a browser window
but will take you to browser homepage if browser is already open.
Looks like they discontinued it's integration with the shell.
 
V

VanguardLH

JJ said:
I already mentioned that the shortcut also present in a clean Windows
installation.

Sorry but I've had way too many users claim they had a pristine install
of an OS inside a virtual machine only to find out they've added a PDF
viewer, drivers or other software to support the OS or the platform it
emulates, or something more than just the OS. That you are noting the
use of a keyboard combination that is not defined by Windows indicates
that something else got installed beyond just the OS.

You sure VirtualBox does have its own keyboard shortcuts? I forget
which VMM but one of them let you define the
Alt key for special
use by the VMM while the other
Alt key remained for use in
shortcuts by the guest OS. Since the problem shows up in the real OS
and not just in a guest OS (VM) then it looks like something loaded or
running in the host OS is still intercepting the scan codes from your
keyboard. Just because you are running a user-mode *app* (the virtual
machine) doesn't obviate software or driver in the real host from still
performing its function. So the guest OS (VM) still exhibits the same
behavior as in the host OS. Well, then something in the host OS is
doing its job of intercepting the keyboard's scan codes.
So there's no third party drivers nor programs. The shortcut
involves the ALT and HOME keys only. Do you need a special keyboard for
that?

And as I said, Windows already comes pre-configured with registry keys
for a few network/media keys that are common on keyboards with macro
keys, like mute, vol +/-, etc. If YOUR still *unidentified* keyboard is
not the 101/104 standard layout and has macro keys for networking
(Internet), e-mail, and volume/mute then some of those keys will work
just using the pre-configured registry entries.

While I mentioned software that comes with many if not most multimedia
keyboards, I also mentioned there are registry entries for a few common
functions.

Go look in the registry under:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AppKey

Each numeric subkey records an action to take for a particular button on
a multimedia keyboard. 15 subkey is to start whatever is your default
e-mail client. 18 starts the calculator. I'd have to dig more to find
out what the other valued keynames do for an action. More can be added
under the AppKey registry key but I don't know where it is documented
which keyboard key matches to which numeric valued subkey here.

Since you mentioned your unidentified keyboard has an "Internet" button
then it is not a standard layout keyboard. Could be the unidentified
keyboard is programmable without the use of software.

If a driver or software is intercepting your keyboard's scan codes then
it'll do the same when you load a VM. Using a VM does not obviate the
function of all software you've loaded in the host OS, especially if it
operates at the hardware level, like a driver.

Oh, and getting back to the default registry keys pre-defined in an
install of Windows for media functions, there is one for http. That is,
one of the subkeys under the AppKey registry key defines the "http"
action for a macro button on media keyboards. Well, http is the
protocol for the web. If, for example, you define a shortcut on your
desktop whose command is "http:" then double-clicking on it opens the
handler for that protocol, and that would be whatever is your current
default web browser.

For me, Alt+Home (in my host or real OS, not in a VM) does not open my
default web browser; however, I do use a media keyboard with a
"Web/Home" button. Alas, I've installed the software for this keyboard
so I cannot say yes or no whether pressing this button would use the
http appkey already defined in the registry for a pristine install of
Windows.​
 
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J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

Nil said:
This is true. Parallel ports are gone. Serial ports are next to gone.
PS2 ports are getting pretty dang scarce. USB is the way of the
world... for now.

This kind of forced obsolescence is unfortunate. There's no advantage
to connecting a keyboard via USB vs. PS2. It's all down to pennies
saved in manufacturing and to forcing the purchase of new hardware even
when unnecessary.

If you _have_ a PS/2 socket, then AFAICS using a USB keyboard is not
only no advantage, it is a disadvantage: it's not using a socket for
which there is no other use, at the same time using up one of the USB
ones.
 

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