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Use the Windows key in Ubuntu Linux

Every PC keyboard has a key with the Windows logo on it, but even though you use Linux, it still has its uses. If you use Ubuntu Linux with the Unity interface then the Windows key can be used to access your programs and files quickly and easily. Ububtu calls it the Meta key, not the Windows key though, so from here on we'll refer to it as Meta.

When you start Ubuntu and get to the desktop, the Launcher is displayed on the left hand side of the screen. This is a vertical panel of icons that contain common applications and tools. The top icon displays the Dash, which enables you to find and run any program or utility that is installed. When a program is run that needs the screen space the Launcher occupies, it goes away and hides.

If you need to run another program or perform other tasks, you can push the mouse to the left side of the screen to reveal the Launcher and then you can click an icon or show the Dash. For people that like to keep their hands on the keyboard, such as when word processing, there is a keyboard shortcut that goes straight to the Dash. It's the Meta (Windows) key. Tap it and the Dash appears as a semi-transparent window overlaying the screen.

Ubuntu Unity

Another way to use the Meta key is to Press and hold it. This time the Dash does not appear, but the Launcher does and each icon in the panel has a number or letter on it. Keep holding the Meta key down and press that number or letter, it's the same as clicking it.

So Meta+1 will show your home folder (If that's the first icon in the list), and Meta+s will display all your desktops so you can easily switch to another one. It's a useful keyboard shortcut.