One of the minor annoyances that I have found with Windows 10 comes down to the simple calculator app. The classic calc.exe has been replaced with a Windows 10 Modern app. It offers some new functionality like conversions, which is cool, but not worth the change when it fails at the basic tasks. The only custom key that I use on my keyboard is the Calc button. I will hit the button and then shift my hands to the numpad so that I may start typing in my calculations.
Starting with Windows 10, the Calc button on my keyboard would launch the Calculator app but would not give it focus. The window would be behind current windows or even if it was the top window, it would not accept typing. This required extra movement to use the mouse and click on the app. Then I switch back to the numpad and start typing in my calculations.
Doing some research, I found this to be a common problem for those using Microsoft keyboards. I use the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 and can confirm that it has the problem.
Microsoft has an application that gets installed with the keyboard driver. The Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center allows you to control the configuration for Microsoft Mice and Keyboards. This includes the special buttons like the Calculator button and what it does. For example, you could configure the calculator button to launch Excel instead.
Under basic settings, scroll down to the Calculator listing and click it.
The default action opens Calculator but you can program the button to open a program, webpage, or file or launch a macro. The macro can consist of separate key strokes such as “Windows Key+Calc.exe+Enter”. That will open the Start Menu, type calc.exe, and press enter to launch the application.
Alternatively, you can directly launch the application by choosing “Open a program, Web page, or file” and browse to C:\Windows\System32\calc.exe. For me, this has worked a little better than the default selection. If I currently have a window in focus on the same monitor where the calculator app will launch, it will successfully get focus. If focus is with a window in a different monitor, the calculator will not take focus when it launches.
Another approach is to create a simple script that launches calc.exe such as pictured below.
Save the above script as calc.bat somewhere and use the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center to point to that script. I found this still had the problem with focus depending on which monitor you are on when pressing the button.
I think the most consistent results were using the macro approach to type “Windows Key+Calc.exe+Enter”. It has the annoying flash of the Start Menu and the ability to be interrupted but it seems to work correctly in most circumstances.
Now, as for why they want be to rate and review the calculator app in the Windows Store is a completely different question…