A+ Certification / Beginners

Identifying keyboard types

A number of different types of keyboards have been used over time. The list below identifies the different types of keyboards you need to know:

  • XT keyboard: The older XT keyboard has 83 alphabetic keys which include 10 function keys. This keyboard had the keyboard processor located on the keyboard itself. In addition to the alphabetic keys, it had a numeric keypad and cursor control keys on the right side of the keyboard.
  • AT keyboard: The older AT keyboard has 84 regular keys (an extra "System Request" key was added), which again includes 10 function keys. The AT keyboard has a bigger Enter key than the XT keyboard, and the keyboard processor moved from the keyboard itself to the computer's motherboard. The AT keyboard uses the AT keyboard connector, which is also known as the DIN-5 connector.
  • Enhanced keyboard: The enhanced keyboard is the popular keyboard used today and has 101 keys and includes 12 function keys. The enhanced keyboard has a numeric keypad along with cursor control keys located on the right side. The enhanced keyboard typically uses the PS/2 connection (also known as a Mini-DIN 6 connector) or a USB connection.
  • Windows keyboard: A Windows keyboard is similar to an enhanced keyboard containing 101 keys, but the Windows keyboard contains buttons, or keys, that control features of Windows. For example, on a Windows keyboard, there is a button to pop up the Start menu and a key to pop up the shortcut menu, as if you had right-clicked with the mouse.
  • Natural or ergonomic keyboards: The natural, or ergonomic, keyboards are a modification of the enhanced keyboards. The natural keyboard separates the alphabetic keys into two parts: one part for the left hand and the other for the right hand. The keyboard is bowed and may sometimes come apart to allow for natural placement of the hands. These keyboards normally also have a wrist rest to help your hands sit in a more natural position. These keyboards are designed to reduce repetitive stress injuries.
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