Today I saw something that made my eyes go wide: A friend reached for the mouse, clicked the Start button, and then went back to the keyboard to type the name of the app he wanted to launch.
I asked him what I considered an obvious question: "Why didn't you just press the Windows key?"
"The what key?" he responded.
Seriously? This isn't common knowledge? Apparently not, because after a quick survey of some friends and family, I discovered that few people ever bother with the Windows key, and some don't even know what it's there for.
(The horror. Time to re-up your PC World subscriptions, people!)
Needless to say, a tap of the Windows key (which on most keyboards is just to the left of the Space Bar) takes you to the Start menu, where--in Vista and 7--you can start typing to dynamically search for apps, files, e-mail, and the like.
So stop thinking of that little key as some kind of wayward Microsoft marketing effort and start putting it to good use!