35 years ago I had an original 48K Sinclair ZX Spectrum. I never had any of the Plus or 128K models and practically never even touched one as I moved onto the Amiga quite early.

I'm now playing with some Spectrum emulators of those later Spectrums. Some of them including the 128 have a boot menu where the user can choose a couple of modes or actions:

128K Spectrum boot menu

Now I feel very stupid, because I've tried all the key combinations I can think of and I've spent about 20 minutes Googling, yet nowhere can I find out how to move the cyan bar up and down to select which action to take! It must be so incredibly obvious to the initiated that it is never discussed on the internet using the search terms I've been trying...

I've tried the PC arrow keys, the number keys, and all over the keyboard using either the left or right shift keys (caps shift vs symbol shift).

If it makes a difference I'm using the Spectaculator emulator. Even its on-screen keyboard and keyboard map features don't provide me this vital clue. What am I missing?

  • 1
    I am surprised caps shift 6 and 7 do not work... Apr 22, 2020 at 18:35
  • @RadovanGarabík: In fact they do! Perhaps I only tried shift-7 when I was already at the top? The symbols on the on-screen keyboard are hard to make out with my now-old eyes and it's annoyingly not resizeable. Thanks! Apr 22, 2020 at 18:43
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    ok, converting my comment to an answer then :-) Apr 22, 2020 at 19:02

2 Answers 2


The 128K mode retains the "old" cursor key combinations - in particular, CAPS Shift 6 stands for cursor down, CAPS Shift 7 for cursor up.

  • And, if memory serves, use the 'edit' key to bring the menu back up if you enter 128kb BASIC or the calculator and wish to exit. So shift+1. There's no return from 48kb BASIC, and we owned only Sinclair and Amstrad Spectrums so I've no idea whatsoever about TR-DOS.
    – Tommy
    Apr 26, 2020 at 16:57

What emulator are you using?

Spectrum +, +2 and +3 have additional cursor keys along the bottom row of the keyboard beside the space bar.

ZX Spectrum+

(From Wikipedia)

The ⬆️⬇️ keys are used to navigate the boot menu.

I suspect that your emulator isn't set up to emulate the Spectrum+'s keyboard with these extra keys: make sure you have the correct machine selected, and restart the emulator.

  • I'm using Spectaculator on Windows, at the moment trying a 128 emulation. Apr 22, 2020 at 18:47
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    Emulating the extra keys isn't really a thing. The extra keys on the Plus and upwards are hardwired in the keyboard membrane to press the appropriate key combinations found on the original Spectrum. For example, pressing CAPS SHIFT-0 is exactly the same thing as pressing DELETE, the Spectrum cannot differentiate these. Apr 23, 2020 at 9:07
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    @AlexTaylor I think all know meant was the the emulator in use isn't set up to do the same thing as the post-rubber keyboards and map physical cursor keys to shift+5678 just as if the user had directly pressed those keys. For the record, we always used to just press space to back out of the 128kb loader since it doesn't check for shift and therefore treats space as break.
    – Tommy
    Apr 26, 2020 at 16:52

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