What's the most useless key on the keyboard?

I nominate the tilde (~) key. Nobody uses ~ in URL’s anymore, so what’s the point?

And that backwards apostrophe (`) is equally pointless.

~'s are still useful for approximations. ~$65, etc.
The ` is definitely my most useless key.

I’d like to nominate the windows key (that one that pulls up the start menu) as the most annoying button. I’ve actually removed it (along with the insert key) from my keyboard.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never once used the ‘Scroll Lock’ or ‘Pause/Break’ keys for anything.

Another vote for the windows key, which was upon purchase of this blasted keyboard removed.

I use the Windows key and the ~ on a daily basis.

I’m with Shayna - the Scroll Lock and Pause/Break key are the ones that I’ve never seen used.

I’ve used the break key quite a bit, when working on an HP3000. So I’ll narrow it down to the scroll lock.

I’ll second the `~ key.

Another key I don’t seem to use that much is the carat (^). Well of course I do use the key itself quite often, but rarely with a Shift. I’ve probably use the carat in various programming languages (I can’t really remember), but they tend to use every character available on the keyboard so don’t really count.

Another near-useless key is Scroll Lock. It does have applications (e.g. try using the cursor keys in Excel with Scroll Lock on), but I can’t remember a time I’ve ever needed it.

There’s also the Pause/Break key. I used it a fair bit back when I was a little kid playing around with DOS, but graphical operating systems tend to have made the ‘Pause’ component redundant, and the Ctrl-Alt-Del combo, which used to kill your entire system, now lets you kill a single task, more-or-less replacing ‘Break’.

Finally, there’s the ‘other’ window key (not the one that brings up your start menu, but the other one that’s usually only on the right-hand side of the keyboard). In Windows, this key brings up a context menu. This would only be useful if I suddenly lost my right mouse button.

If you asked this question back before the days of the internet (probably by carving the question in stone tablets or something), I probably would have nominated ‘@’. But of course, after email became widespread, this key has experienced something of a renaissance. It seems to have become a trendy character to use in general – not just in email addresses.

On preview, I see that most of my nominations have already been mentioned. Too bad.

I work in IT and I am pretty sure it is Scroll Lock as referenced above. I have used the Pause Break flip side of that key even recently when I halted the whirling text in a DOS window so I could read it. As an IT professional who has used a computer at least 12 hours a day for the past 8 years or so, that is the most useless one. You can still count the whole key if you want. Pause Break has been used a handful of times but very other key and shift of the key gets somewhat regular use and I use the Windows key many times a day (the rest of you should look into it).

Exactly. Not only have I never used them, I haven’t succeeded in finding out whether they have any use. I mean any use that someone not a computer geek would be reasonably likely to ever find in the real world.

My Function keys are looking kind of dusty.

I’ve used everything except the scroll lock, Print Screen/Sys Rq (whatever that is), and the key on the bottom that looks like a cursor highlighting a line of text on a page. I don’t even know what that one is, let alone what it does. (I’m also not sure whether there’s a real distinction between the two.)

I use Pause/Break all the time at work. In Lotus Notes, ctrl-break will cause it to stop whatever it is that it’s doing. Considering that if it gets hung up failing to open a database or something it can stay stuck for minutes at a time, ctrl-break is really useful. We let all the end users know about it, too, because one of the most common complaints is that “Notes is locked up!”.

Print screen puts a screenshot of the current screen on the clipboard in Windows – very useful.

Our KVM switches for the servers use Scroll Lock to bring up the list of servers one can connect to.

The tilde and carat I use all the time when typing French or Spanish. In fact, I can’t really think of a key on my keyboard that’s truly useless; I even use scroll lock a lot when I’m looking at large Excel spreadsheets. Probably numlock is most useless for me – I touch-type and prefer not to use the 10-key for entering numbers.

PrintScreen is good for capturing screen shots (or Alt-PrintScreen if you just want the active window) but I have no clue what the heck SysRq is for. I’d say the least used key on my keyboard is the one between the Ctrl key and the Windows key that looks like a pop-up menu.

Pause/Break gets some use on my keyboard. Windows+Break opens the system properties screen which is a quick way to the device manager.


I use the tilde frequently for urls from my school. If you go to/work at Radford University and have a website, your url is www.radford.edu/~yourusername. I’m also a big fan of the Windows key and scroll lock. I have a laptop though, so I’m totally into keyboard shortcuts. I didn’t realize I even had a Pause/Break key until now, so that’s probaby my least used key.

I must mention that couple of days ago I was thinking about how much I hate the Caps Lock key. I have never felt the need to put more that a character or two in caps at any given time. Why do I have this damn key that just serves to fuck up my capitilization? It gets pressed more than the Pause/Break key, but never on purpose. I can’t remember a time when I used it because I wanted to.

After a quick glance at my keyboard, I think I use almost all of the rest of the keys. I’ve even gotten to the super nerdy point where I use the function keys at the top of my keyboard. I <3 F5!

The keys on the number pad, especially "/ " and " * " and the redundant “Enter”. I never use those.

On my laptop, I never use F8-F12, nor the tilde key. Actually one more. On the Mac, there is an “eject” key on the upper right. It has never worked for anything, and I don’t know why they put it there.

Oh, and on Macs, the Shift key seems to only work if you whack it with a hammer. I’ve got the strongest pinkies, just because of Mac keyboards. It’s like press the shift key and type a capital. Go back, press the shift key and type a capital. Go back, press the shift key and type a capital.

The Scroll lock is my most useless key.
The Windows key is very useful.
Windows E: Opens Windows Explorer
Windows Break: Pulls up the System properties, I’m work in IT an use this all the time.
Windows D: Reveal Desktop: Minimizes all windows to gain access to the desk top.
Windows R: Bring up the Run command
I use the Tilde a lot for Find and replace work in Word Documents for the very reason the it is unused. I’ll Replace to Paragraph breaks ^p^p with ~~~~~ temporarily while I am cleaning up HTML Docs in word.


The only keys I don’t regularly use are the ` and Scroll Lock. Hell, this keyboard doesn’t even have a dedicated key for the latter; I’d need to use a combination of keys to get to it. I use Break with the Windows key all the time. I use the Windows key on its own all the time. I use the ~ when I’m teclando en español.

At work, we use Pause/Break as the clear screen key on the 3270 emulator we use to access our ancient CICS server on a several-times-daily basis and Scroll Lock as the hotkey to access the KVM switch between workstation and server.

So, I wouldn’t say that there are any useless keys.

Heh. All my functions keys are caked over, except F2 [rename file], F5 and F9 [Quicksave & Quicklod for many games]; F6-68 are only lightly dusty, as they’re Hotkeys used in Vampire: The Masquerade.

Pause still works for many games, but these days I normally use ESC instead.

Print Screen I use frequently. Like others, I have no clue what SysRq even means.