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9.6 Why does the <Backspace> key invoke help?

The <Backspace> key (on most keyboards) generates ASCII code 8. C-h sends the same code. In Emacs by default C-h invokes help-command. This is intended to be easy to remember since the first letter of ‘help’ is ‘h’. The easiest solution to this problem is to use C-h (and <Backspace>) for help and <DEL> (the <Delete> key) for deleting the previous character.

For many people this solution may be problematic:

When Emacs 21 or later runs on a windowed display, it binds the <Delete> key to a command which deletes the character at point, to make Emacs more consistent with keyboard operation on these systems.

For more information about troubleshooting this problem, see If <DEL> Fails to Delete.