Fix: Windows key not working on Windows 10

Windows key has multiple functionality, and it’s used by both basic and advanced users alike. Unfortunately, few users reported that Windows key isn’t working on Windows 10, and today we’re going to show you how to fix this problem.

Windows key not working on Windows 10, how to fix it?

If you use keyboard shortcuts often, not being able to use Windows key can be a big hindrance. Speaking of keyboard shortcut issues, users reported the following problems as well:

  • Windows key + Tab not working Windows 10 – Several users reported that Windows key + Tab shortcut isn’t working on their PC. This isn’t a big problem, and you can fix it by using one of our solutions.
  • Windows key not working after update – Few users reported that their Windows key stopped working after an update. If that’s the case, you need to find and remove the problematic update from your PC.
  • Windows key not working Razer Blackwidow – Several users reported this problem while using Razer Blackwidow keyboard. This problem can appear if you have Game Mode feature enabled on your keyboard.
  • Windows key + R, windows key + S, windows key + Q not working – Many users reported that various keyboard shortcuts aren’t working on their PC. This can be a big problem, especially if you tend to use keyboard shortcuts.
  • Windows key not working in Remote Desktop – Remote desktop is a useful feature of Windows that allows you to access other computers. Even though this feature is great, many users reported that Windows key isn’t working while using Remote Desktop.
  • Windows key shortcuts not working – Several users reported that all Windows key shortcuts on their PC aren’t working. This can be a big problem, but you should be able to fix it using our solutions.
  • Windows key disabled – Many users reported that their Windows key is disabled. In most cases, your Windows key will become disabled if you enable Game Mode on your keyboard.

Solution 1 – Use PowerShell

Few users reported that they managed to fix the problem with Windows key simply by using one PowerShell command. If you’re not familiar with PowerShell, it’s a powerful command-line tool that allows you to remove core Windows 10 components.

You can do all sorts of things with PowerShell, and since this is such a powerful tool, we advise you to use extra caution if you don’t want to cause damage to your Windows 10 installation. Usually you would start PowerShell by using the Windows Key + S shortcut, but you can open PowerShell by following these steps:

  1. Hold Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard to open Task Manager.
  2. When Task Manager opens, go to File > Run new task.
    Windows key + Tab not working Windows 10
  3. Enter powershell and check Create this task with administrative privileges. Click OK or press Enter.
    Windows key not working after update
  4. When PowerShell opens, enter Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”} and press Enter.
  5. After the command is executed Windows key should start working again.

We have to mention that PowerShell commands can sometimes have unpredictable results on your Windows 10 installation, therefore it might be better that you create a new System Restore point and use it to restore your Windows 10 if anything goes wrong after using PowerShell.

But if you’re still having issues on your PC after the SFC scan, we recommend you to download this tool (100% safe and tested by us) to scan and fix various PC problems, such as file loss, malware and hardware failure.


Solution 2 – Modify your registry

According to users, Windows key might stop working if there’s a problem with your registry, but you should be able to fix this problem simply by modifying your registry.

We have to warn you that modifying the registry can cause certain problems if you’re not careful, so we highly recommend that you export your registry and use the exported registry file as backup.

To change your registry, do the following:

  1. Open Task Manager and go to File > Run new task.
  2. Enter regedit and press Enter or click OK.
    Windows key not working Razer Blackwidow
  3. In the left pane navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout key.
    Windows key + R not working
  4. Expand the Keyboard Layout key, locate Scancode Map registry entry and delete it.
  5. After doing that, close Registry Editor and restart your PC.

If you can’t find Scancode Map entry, it might not be available on your PC, so you should skip this solution and try something else.


Solution 3 – Disable Gaming mode

If you have a gaming keyboard you probably have support for Gaming mode on your keyboard. Gaming mode is designed to disable certain keys during gameplay sessions that can interfere with your game.

For example, it can happen that you accidentally press Windows key during a game, and in most cases that will minimize your game and open the Start Menu. This can be a problem if you’re playing an online game with your friends, and this is why gaming keyboards have support for Gaming mode.

Many users aren’t aware that their keyboard supports Gaming mode and they sometimes turn it on by accident when cleaning their keyboard. If Windows key isn’t working on your keyboard be sure to check if Gaming mode is turned on. Many keyboards have Gaming mode switch on them, so be sure that the switch isn’t set to Gaming mode.

This switch is usually located above F2 and F3 buttons, and it has a joystick image next to it, so be sure to check your keyboard for this switch and use it to turn off Gaming mode.

Some keyboards, such as Apex M800, have a hidden Gaming mode and in order to disable it you need to hold SteelSeries button and press the Windows key to turn off Gaming mode. As you can see, different keyboards use different methods to disable Gaming mode, so be sure to check your keyboard’s instruction manual to see how to properly disable Gaming mode.


Solution 4 – Check for Win Lock button on your keyboard

While some keyboards have Gaming mode switch on them, others have Win Lock button. Win Lock button is designed to disable the Windows key on your keyboard, so be sure to check if your keyboard has this key available.

According to users, this key should be located next to the right Ctrl button on your keyboard, so be sure to look for it. After you locate Win Lock button, press it and your Windows key should start working again.


Solution 5 – Create a new user account

According to users, they managed to fix this problem simply by creating a new user account on Windows 10. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Accounts section.
  3. Go to Family & other people section.
  4. In Other people section click Add someone else to this PC button.
    Windows key not working in Remote Desktop
  5. Choose I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
    Windows key shortcuts not working
  6. Now select Add a user without a Microsoft account.
    Windows key disabled
  7. Enter the name for the new user account and click Next to complete the process.

After creating a new user account, sign out of your account and switch to a new one. Check if Windows key works without any problems. If there are no problems with Windows key on a new account, it means that the software is causing this issue. Now you just need to move your personal files to a new account and use it as your main account.


Solution 6 – Revert any changes to Windows services and packages

Windows 10 comes with DISM tool that lets you to create Windows 10 images that allow you to easily restore Windows 10 to an earlier state. Many people tend to use these images to quickly reinstall their Windows 10, but we have to mention that DISM is a powerful tool that allows you to change which components of Windows 10 will be installed.

Few users reported that changing DISM packages caused the problem with Windows key on their PC, so if you made any changes to DISM packages on your PC be sure to remove them in order to fix this problem.


Solution 7 – Perform an SFC scan

Your Windows 10 installation can sometimes become corrupted, and that can cause certain features of Windows to stop working. If the Windows key isn’t working on your PC, you might want to perform an sfc scan. To do that follow these steps:

  1. Start Task Manager and choose File > Run new task.
  2. When Create new task window opens, enter cmd and check Create this task with administrative privileges.
    Windows key + Tab not working Windows 10
  3. When Command Prompt opens, enter sfc /scannow and press Enter.
    Windows key not working after update
  4. Wait while the scan checks your Windows 10 installation.
  5. After the scan is completed, restart your PC.

When your PC restarts check if the problem is resolved. If the issue still persists, start Command Prompt again and run Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth command. After the process is finished check if the problem is resolved.


Solution 8 – Check for malware and viruses

Sometimes certain malware and viruses and cause problems with the Windows key and disable it completely. If you suspect that your system is infected by malicious software, be sure to perform a full system scan. In addition, download and run malware removal tools such as Malwarebytes to check for malware.

Windows key has multiple functionality and it’s often used by advanced users. If Windows key isn’t working on Windows 10, be sure to check if Gaming mode is turned on. If Gaming mode isn’t the problem, feel free to try any other solution from this article.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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