How to Fix Windows Key Not Working

How to Fix Windows Key Not Working

/ Shayne Sherman

When you purchase a new operating system, you often hope for long-lasting systems and tools to come with it. Although devices are being made more efficiently every year, it doesn’t stop them from occasionally malfunctioning in significant or even minor ways.

The keyboard on your laptop or PC is used when you operate your system, just like buttons on other devices that are used daily—the keys on your keyboard are more than capable of losing functions or even being delayed.

This article is a guide of high-percentage solutions that you can use to solve any issues that you may be experiencing with your keyboard drivers.

Turn on the On-Screen Keyboard if Windows Key is Not Working

If the windows key is not working on your device, check for the potential reasons causing the problem. It could be something simple, i.e., Dirt stuck in the keyboard to something technical like any recent update, faulty driver, or hardware issue. The most accessible approach to using the onscreen keyboard available as a quick fix for keyboard-linked issues. Here are the steps to follow to enable the onscreen keyboard. 

Step 1: Launch the settings from the main menu. It could be done by clicking start, selecting settings from the list, typing settings in the taskbar’s search box, and double-clicking utility to launch. In the settings menu, choose the option of ‘ease of access.’

open ease of access

Step 2: In the ‘ease of access‘ window, select ‘keyboard‘ from the left pane in the options of ‘interaction.’ 

Step 3: In the keyboard window, click the ‘use the onscreen keyboard‘ option to use the facility. 

open on screen keyboard

Another easy way to launch an onscreen keyboard is to directly type ‘onscreen keyboard‘ in the taskbar’s search box and double-click the result in the list to launch. 

Turn off and Disable the Filter Keys Feature if You Find the Windows Key Unusable

With some updates for windows 10, there comes an issue linked to sticky/filter keys. If you find the Windows key not working due to the filter keys, then turning the filter keys off can fix the problem. Here are the steps to turn the filter keys off from your device. 

Step 1: If your device’s keyboard is not working, click the windows key + R simultaneously to launch the run utility using the onscreen keyboard. 

control panel

Step 2: Type ‘control‘ in the Run command box to launch the control panel. In the control panel, select the option of ‘ease of access‘ and click ‘Change how your keyboard works.’

Step 3: in the next window, uncheck the checkbox of ‘Turn on Filter Keys.’ Select Apply and click ‘ok‘ to continue. 

disable filter keys

Use a PowerShell Command to Restore and Fix Windows key Functionality

Powershell is a useful in-build command line utility that can be applied for making various administrative and troubleshooting changes. It works on the commands typed in the commanding prompt, and the power shell can resolve the issue if the windows key is not working. Here is how you can utilize it. 

Step 1: With your onscreen keyboard, click the windows key + R simultaneously to launch the run utility. 

Step 2: In the Run command box, type ‘power shell‘ and click Ctrl + Shift + Enter to launch the power shell. It will provide all the administrative permissions to the utility. 

Step 3: Allow the power shell to change your device by clicking yes and continue. Type the following command line in the power shell command prompt and click enter to continue. 

appxpackage powershell command

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation) \AppXManifest.xml”}

Once the command prompt is completed, the windows key will get functional. 

Make adjustments to your Registry Editor to Get Windows Key Working

Making suitable adjustments to the registry or restoring the registry to the last working condition may fix the windows key not working error. Here is how you can perform the function. 

Step 1: Launch the ‘Run‘ utility by clicking the windows key + R from the onscreen keyboard. In the run command box, type ‘Regedit‘ and click ok to continue and launch ‘registry editor.’

regedit keyboard layout

Step 2: Now search for the following key.

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout

Step 3: You can also locate and delete the ‘scancode map‘ key. As it is deleted, restart your device to check whether or not the error is fixed. 

Disable Game Mode on Windows

The game mode feature is available on Windows 10 to comply with gaming optimizations of the operating system. But this gaming mode may cause errors linked to the keyboard. Hence disabling game mode on your device can help to get the keyboard functional. Here are the steps to disable gaming mode to support your keyboard driver. 

Step 1: Launch ‘settings‘ from the main menu or click the windows key + I simultaneously from the onscreen keyboard. 

Step 2: In the settings menu, select the option of ‘gaming‘ followed by selecting ‘game mode‘ in the left pane of the gaming window. 

disable game mode 1

Step 3: Click off or toggle the game mode button. It will help to set the display off and resolve the windows key not working error. 

Create a New User Account to Fix Windows Key

Although not a quick-fix technique, this could be used if none of the other methods is working. One can create a new user account on the device and check if the windows key usually works. If yes, then shift all your data to the new user account. Here are the steps to follow for creating a new user account. 

Step 1: Launch settings from the main menu or click the windows key + I on the onscreen keyboard. In the settings menu, select the option of ‘accounts,’ and in the next window, select the ‘Family & other users‘ option. 

Step 2: In the menu of ‘Family & other users,’ search for the ‘Add someone else to this PC‘ option and click on it to continue. Otherwise, click on ‘I don’t have this person’s sign-in information‘ and select ‘Add a user without a Microsoft account‘ to add a new user. 

add someone else to this pc

Step 3: Add the user credentials for the account and click ‘next‘ to continue. 

Perform a System File Checker Scan and Other Scans With the Device Manager

Windows key fails to work if there exist errors with particular system files. To check for corrupted files and folders, Windows 10 facilitates you with an in-build system file checker utility. Running an SFC scan can point out the error, and here is how you can run the scan on your device. 

Step 1: Launch the Run utility by clicking the windows key + R from the onscreen keyboard. In the run command box, type ‘cmd‘ and click Ctrl + Shift + Enter from the onscreen keyboard to launch the command prompt by giving administrative permissions. Click Yes to proceed. 

control find cmd

Step 2: Type ‘sfc /scannow‘ in the command prompt and click enter to continue. 

sfc scan

Step 3: Once the SFC scan is completed and OS repairs the issue, close the prompt and restart your device to check if the error is resolved. 

Use the DISM from the Command Prompt if You See the Windows Key Not Working

Just like the SFC scan quick procedure, there is a DISM command line utility to fix the software-linked issue causing potential errors in the normal functioning of your device. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Launch the Run utility using the Windows key + R shortcut from the onscreen keyboard. In the command box, type ‘cmd‘ followed by clicking Ctrl + Shift + Enter from the onscreen keyboard to launch the DISM command prompt with administrative permissions. Click ‘Yes‘ to continue the command prompt action. 

control find cmd

Step 2: In the command prompt, type the following command and enter to complete the action. 

dism scan

Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup, Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

Step 3: Restart your device as the prompt demand action is completed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get my Windows key to work again?

There are a few possible explanations for the Windows key not working issue. First, check to make sure that the key is not physically damaged. The problem may be with the drivers or software if the key appears ok. Try updating your drivers or reinstalling the software beginning from the start menu. You may need to contact Microsoft for assistance if that doesn’t work.

Why can’t I use the Windows key?

The Windows key cannot be used because it is a reserved key used by the operating system to perform specific tasks. When the Windows key is pressed, it sends a signal to the operating system that tells it to perform a particular function. For example, pressing the Windows key + E opens File Explorer.

How Do I Fix My Gaming Keyboard?

There are several possible approaches to fixing keys on a PC game keyboard. One option is to use a simple keycap puller tool, which can be purchased online or at most hardware or electronics stores. This tool consists of two metal prongs placed under the existing keycap and gently pried up, allowing you to lift off the other keys and replace them with new ones.

Another option is to disassemble the keyboard and individually remove each key to clean them or replace them if they are damaged. This approach may require specialized tools, such as screwdrivers and tweezers, but it may be necessary if the keys are severely worn or damaged.

In either case, it is vital to take care when working with your keyboard to avoid damaging any of its internal components. You should also ensure that all of the replacement parts you use are compatible with your particular keyboard model to avoid any issues with functionality or performance.

How Do I Use the Keyboard Troubleshooter?

To find the keyboard troubleshooter, you must open the Controlling Panel on your computer. From there, you can access various tools and utilities that can help you diagnose and troubleshoot common keyboard issues.

Some possible options include running a scan using built-in diagnostic tools, performing a system restore, or reinstalling drivers and software associated with your keyboard. You may also want to consult online resources or seek assistance from a hardware technician for more advanced troubleshooting steps and solutions.

What is the alternate key for Alt-Tab?

There are a few possible explanations for why the Alt-Tab shortcut not working as expected. It could be that the operating system has disabled the shortcut, or it could be that the application you’re trying to switch to doesn’t support the shortcut. Another possibility is that another application is intercepting the shortcut keystrokes.

If you’re troubleshooting Alt-Tab issues, one thing you can try is to use the alternate shortcut keys for switching between applications.

Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert on all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. Aside from entertaining at his home theater, he enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie.