Microsoft adds a Windows key to its newest mice

Microsoft adds a Windows key to its newest mice

Summary: Microsoft is readying two new mice, both of which feature buttons designed to help Windows 8 users find their way back to the Start screen.

TOPICS: Windows 8, Microsoft

Microsoft is continuing to try to find ways to help Windows users figure out how to use Windows 8. Its latest tactic involves adding a Windows home key to the two latest Microsoft mice.


On May 23, Microsoft announced the Sculpt Comfort Mouse and Sculpt Mobile Mouse, both of which include buttons to help users to find their way quickly to the Start screen.

The Sculpt Comfort mouse has a touch-sensitive blue strip running along the side, which Microsoft calls the "Windows touch tab." The Sculpt Mobile Mouse features a similar Windows button.

The Sculpt Comfort model adds support for some additional gestures which Microsoft officials believe may help users better navigate Windows 8.

As described in a new post on the Microsoft Windows Experience blog: "If you swipe up on the blue strip, it cycles through all your open Windows Store apps in Windows 8. And if you swipe down, it will reveal all the open apps (on the left side of your screen) for you to select the one you want."

The Sculpt Comfort Mouse is due out in June for $39.95 (estimated retail price). The Sculpt Model model is going to be available this month for $29.95 (ERP).

The Sculpt Comfort mouse and the Sculpt Mobile mouse both work with Window 7, Windows 8 and Mac OS 10.4 and higher. Neither seems to work with Windows RT, based on the spec information provided by Microsoft.

While on the topic of improving Windows 8, Microsoft earlier this week made available for download a really nice Windows 8 training brochure. It's a multi-page, colorful PDF that includes lots of navigational tips and tricks. I wish this had been in my box with my Surface RT....

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • How i read this...

    Windows 8 needs specialized hardware in order to make it more user freindly. Here's hoping they fix the OS with 8.1.
    • Huh?

      How did you read it like that?
      Michael Alan Goff
      • windows 8!

        I am happy with Windows 8 and do not want to see the start button being reinstated on the task bar. I would prefer to put something else on where the user Start button used to be. After all, I have Charm, which contains Start button and more. Also, by clicking on the bottom left corner, I can get what it want.

        Windows home key on a mouse. That would be handy, but anyone, who sees it as a great improvement on Windows 8, is missing the bigger picture. Just wait for the Q2 reports, where many us will learn how many new copies of Windows 8 have been sold.

        Windows 8 is a massive threat to those two or so companies that believed Microsoft will never acknowledge the importance of merging technologies. Now they noted that Microsoft moved into their area, the only way could defend it, they thought, is to besiege Windows 8 with negative media. Hence, Start button, Windows Key, I do not want to touch the screen and so forth is what we hear.
        • LMAO

          Talk about drinking the kool-aid...
          • Here Here!

            Like a Jim Jones cult, I will take you out with one punch!?!?

            I recently upgrades all three laptops in my house to Windows 8 for three reasons:

            Primarily, Windows 8.1 is just around the corner. At $14 dollars, it was too attractive to say no to. I teach lots of students; many have no choice but Windows 8 and I have to support them.

            That being said, Windows 8 isn't THAT bad. Yes, it sucks. Not as bad as Vista ME, but it is a stinker. I am a confirmed MS hater and I hope they die a fast death. But really, Windows 8 it is not THAT bad. Stupid interface that was poorly executed and has no real place on the desktop. But the program itself runs pretty good. I use it because I have to, not because I want to. I ignore the Metro interface and go about my business using it like it was Windows 7. If MS thought they were going to change the world or even the PC market place with this dog, they are very wrong. But like it or not, we have to live with this POS.

            Hey MS! We are not drinking the kool-aid. Like Jim Jones you might force it down our throats, but we don't have to like it.
            Das Goat
        • Shipped, not sold...

          If Windows 8 had been a blockbuster, Microsoft wouldn't be making any fuss about 8.1. It would have been called Service Pack 1, or silently pushed to avoid "tarnishing" the brand.

          On the other hand, Microsoft's doing the opposite.

          Can you figure why? Maybe not, since you're happy with Windows 8 and most probably you are the niche market MS focused to begin with...

          Oh.... wait... Apple, Samsung and Google are good niche market players... MS sucks there... so... well you figure it out for yourself (it's no harder than Win8).
      • Specialized Hardware

        I remeber when windows first came out and people complained about a mouse as specialized hardware.
        • There were mice before Bill Gates was born

          Unix had X-Windows and a mouse way before the IBM PC was even thought of. These Microsoft employees are forced to blog good things about Microsoft for one hour of their work day. They don't want to be laid off.
          • The first MS Mouse shipped in 1982, the X-Window System shipped in 1984

            And Bill Gates was born in 1955 - well before Douglas Engelbart invented the mouse in 1964 (which he patented in 1970).

            It's worth noting that Microsoft has been shipping mice since early in the MS-DOS days (i.e., before the Macintosh shipped in 1984).

            Note that Unix has had the "X Window System" for quite a while, but I don't believe it ever had "X-Windows". Fact checking isn't just for reporters (even if it's just a pass through Wikipedia).
          • The first mouse was conceptualized in 1961

            And released internally 1965. (

            The X window system was released in 1984 (derived from the W system in 1983...

            But there were a number of windowing/GUI systems back then (going all the way back to the PDP-1 at least)
        • And non-standard keyboards

          with Windows key and menu key.
      • The first sentence

        "Microsoft is continuing to try to find ways to help Windows users figure out how to use Windows 8."

        Seems fairly obvious from the first sentence of the article how someone could read it that way, given that it flat out says it.
        • If you want to read it that way, sure

          For me, it's saying that this is a way to help people.

          Did you know that OS X without the trackpad is much worse than with it? I guess OS X must just suck.
          Michael Alan Goff
          • OS X users don't need a special zone on the trackpad

            mouse, trackball or other pointing device to help them find and launch programs. Odd that Microsoft never felt the need to add a swipable strip on earlier Mice to bring up the start menu.
          • Windows 8 users

            don't need it either.
      • Did you read it?

        Uhhh, the very first sentence:
        "Microsoft is continuing to try to find ways to help Windows users figure out how to use Windows 8"
        • To me

          that says exactly what is says… help.

          It says nothing about how people -need- this to figure it out.
          Michael Alan Goff
      • It's his or her point of view...

        Hubris is killing Windows as Microsoft publicly says they "principled not stubborn" but act the other way around.

        It hard to realize that Windows XP was the "best of breed" of traditional Windows and today has an uphill battle to repeat that success.

        What to do? "Upgrade" till you get it right? That ain't the solution, now nor never.

        Developers nor users are dumb (well, at least not all of them). Exhaustion creeps after a cycle or two and must wait... and wait... and wait... until MS either dies or gets it right.
    • Can't get more user friendly

      than a key with the windows logo that you press to bring up the "Windows Start" screen Or how about that one with the picture of a menu? I wonder what that does.
      • When I first saw it, I thought it was where your thumb was suposed to go.

        Of course, it doesn't do crap if you are left handed.

        Mice with multiple buttons has existed ever since there were mice.