Windows Key is rather useful and it’s a part of many shortcuts on Windows 10. Even though many users use Windows Key frequently, some users want to disable it.
Disabling the Windows Key is relatively simple and today we’re going to show you how to do it.
How can I disable the Windows Key while gaming?
Every advanced Windows user knows how useful Windows Key is. Despite its usefulness, Windows Key can sometimes be a problem, especially during intense gaming sessions.
By default, pressing the Windows Key will open the Start Menu and that can be a problem during intense gaming sessions. By accidentally pressing the Windows Key you’ll lose focus on your game and that can be a big problem.
In order to avoid these kinds of problems, many gamers disable their Windows Key during the gaming sessions.
Disabling the Windows Key is relatively simple, and today we’re going to show you a couple of methods you can use to disable the Windows Key on your keyboard.
1. Modify your registry
Your registry holds important system settings, and by modifying it you can enable or disable many features. In fact, you can even disable Windows Key right from your registry.
Keep in mind that your registry has sensitive information in it, so if you want to edit it, use extra caution. To disable Windows Key by modifying your registry, do the following:
- Press Windows Key + R and enter regedit. Click on OK or press Enter.
- Optional: Before you make any changes to your registry it’s always a good idea to create a backup. To do that, just click on File > Export.
Select All as Export range, choose a safe location, enter the desired file name and click on Save.
After you create your backup, you can use this file to easily restore your registry to its original state. This is rather useful if you encounter any problems with your PC after modifying the registry.
- In the left panel, navigate to
ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlKeyboard Layout. In the right pane, right-click the empty space and choose New >Binary Value from the menu. Enter Scancode Map as the name of the new value.
- Double click Scancode Map value and enter 00000000000000000300000000005BE000005CE000000000 in the Data field. You can’t paste the value, so you’ll have to type it manually. Be extra cautious and double-check if the entered value is correct. Now click OK.
- After doing that, close Registry Editor and restart your PC.
After your PC restarts, the Windows Key should be completely disabled. To enable the Windows Key, you need to go back to Registry Editor and delete the Scancode Map that you created.
As you can see, this isn’t the simplest solution, and if you want to quickly enable or disable your Windows Key, this might not be the best solution for you.
If you don’t want to modify your registry manually, there’s a .reg file available that you can use to modify it. Simply download Disable Windows key.reg and run it.
When the warning message appears, click on Yes. If you want to enable Windows Key again, download and run Enable Caps Lock and Windows keys.reg.
This method is a lot faster and simpler, so if you’re not comfortable with modifying the registry manually, be sure to try using the .reg file.
This method is great if you want to disable Windows Key and prevent other users from enabling it. Modifying the registry manually might not be the simplest method, but you can always use the .reg file to modify it automatically.
2. Use AutoHotkey
If you want to disable your Windows Key, you might want to try using AutoHotkey. This is an open-source and powerful automation scripting language.
The application allows you to assign certain commands to your keys, but it also allows you to disable keys. AutoHotkey isn’t the simplest application, so you might want to learn how it works before you can use it correctly.
Basically, you need to create a script that will block Windows Keys and add that script to AutoHotkey. Simply click AutoHotkey icon in your Taskbar and choose Edit this Script. Now you need to paste the following script at the bottom:
- ~LWin Up:: return
- ~RWin Up:: return
Save your script, right-click AutoHotkey and choose to Reload This Script from the menu. After doing that, both Windows Keys will be disabled.
Keep in mind that this solution won’t disable shortcuts that involve Windows Key, instead, it will just disable the keys itself.
It’s worth mentioning that some online games might recognize AutoHotkey as a cheating application, so keep that in mind.
Before you use this solution it’s always a good idea to do some research and check if the game developers allow you to use AutoHotkey with their game.
3. Use SharpKeys
Another third-party application that can help you disable Windows Key is SharpKeys. This is a free and portable tool that allows you to remap your keys, but it also has the ability to disable keys or to assign them to certain functions.
To disable Windows Key using SharpKeys, you need to do the following:
- Download and start SharpKeys.
- Once the application starts, click on Add.
- Now you’ll see two columns. Click on Type Key in the left pane and press the Windows Key.
- Now click on OK to select the pressed key.
- Select Turn Key Off in the right pane and click on OK to save changes.
- Now click on Write to Registry button.
Now you just have to restart your PC or log out and log back in to apply the changes. After doing that, Windows Key should be disabled completely. To enable Windows Key again, do the following:
- Start SharpKeys.
- Select the desired key from the menu and click on Delete.
- After deleting the key, click on Write to Registry button.
- Now restart your PC or log off and back on to apply the changes.
SharpKeys is a simple but powerful tool and using it you can easily disable the Windows Key on your keyboard. Keep in mind that this is a powerful application, so you’re using it at your own risk.
SharpKeys can help you with this problem, and if you need more similar applications, you’ll be pleased to hear that we already covered the best keyboard mapping software, so be sure to check it out.
4. Use Gaming mode on your keyboard
Some keyboards even have a controller icon on one of its keys so you can easily find the shortcut key for Gaming mode. If you can’t find the shortcut on your own, we advise you to check your keyboard manual for detailed instructions on how to activate Gaming mode.
Keep in mind that not all keyboards support this feature, so before you can use it you need to check if your keyboard supports it. Activating the Gaming mode is the simplest and fastest way to disable Windows Key, but unfortunately, not all keyboards support this feature.
5. Use Disable Windows Key for Games
Disable Windows Key for Games is a simple and portable freeware application that will disable Windows Key on your keyboard.
The application is simple to use, and you just need to run it and it will automatically block Windows key when playing fullscreen games. The application doesn’t support any configuration, and once you start it it will quietly run in your systray.
According to the developer, the application can easily recognize if you’re running a game or doing something else, so it will block Windows Key accordingly.
We don’t know if this application works with games in windowed mode, so if you’re not playing games in the fullscreen mode this application might not be the best choice for you.
6. Disable the Windows key using your keyboard software
As we previously mentioned, many gaming keyboards support Gaming mode. These keyboards usually have their dedicated software that you can use to configure various settings such as macros and lighting.
In addition, you can also turn on Gaming mode from these apps. Keep in mind that not all keyboards and apps support Gaming mode, so be sure to check your keyboard manual to see if your keyboard supports this feature.
7. Use Winkill
If you want to disable Windows Key and its shortcuts, you can do it easily with Winkill tool. This is a small and portable application and it will run in your systray, so you won’t even know that it’s running.
Once you start it the application will block Windows Key along with most other Windows Key shortcuts.
Unlike previous applications we mentioned, Winkill allows you to toggle it on or off, so you can easily disable it once you’re done with your gaming session.
If needs be you can also turn it back on with a single click. Winkill is a simple application, and if you’re looking for a simple and easy way to disable Windows Key on your keyboard, Winkill might be the best choice for you. Download Winkill tool, here.
8. Use Disable Windows Key app
Another third-party application that can disable Windows Key for you is Disable Windows Key app. This is a freeware and portable application, and it will run on any PC without an installation.
After you start the application, it will be located in your systray so you won’t even know that it’s running.
The application allows a bit of configuration, so you can start it automatically with Windows if you like. You can also set the application to automatically disable the Windows Key once you start it.
Of course, the application allows you to toggle it on or off simply by clicking its icon.
Disable Windows Keyapp will disable Windows Key, but it won’t disable any shortcuts that use it, which is a major plus.
If you’re looking for a simple and friendly third-party solution that will allow you to disable the Windows Key, be sure to try this application out.
Download Disable Windows Key, here.
9. Use WKey Disabler
There are many third-party applications that can disable Windows Key, and one of these applications is WKey Disabler. Just like previous apps that we mentioned, this is a freeware and portable application and it will run from your systray.
The application doesn’t have any advanced features, and you can’t even toggle it on or off. As soon as you start the application your Windows Key and all its shortcuts will be automatically disabled.
Since there’s no way to toggle the application off, the only way to enable Windows Key again is to disable the app. WKey Disabler is a simple tool, and if you want to disable your Windows Key, feel free to try it.
Download WKey Disabler, here.
10. Use Registry Editor to block Windows Key hotkeys
If needed, you can also block Windows Key hotkeys by modifying your registry. To do that, follow these simple steps:
- Open Registry Editor.
- When Registry Editor opens, go to
HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorerin the left panel. Right-click the empty space in the right panel and choose New > DWORD (32-bit value). Enter NoWinKeys as the name of the new DWORD.
- Double click NoWinKeys DWORD to open its properties. Set Value data to 1 and click OK to save changes.
- After you’re done, close Registry Editor and restart your PC to apply the changes.
Once your PC restarts you won’t be able to use Windows Key shortcuts at all. This is useful if you want to prevent users from accessing certain hidden features of your system by using Windows Key shortcuts.
If you want to disable Windows Key only, you might want to try some other solution.
11. Use Group Policy Editor
You can also disable Windows Key shortcuts by changing Group Policy Editor settings. To do that, follow these simple steps:
- Press Windows Key + R and enter gpedit.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
- Now navigate to the User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer in the left pane. In the right pane, locate and double click Turn off Windows Key hotkeys option.
- Select Enabled option and click on Apply and OK to save changes.
- After doing that, restart your PC and check if that solves the problem.
This is a simple solution, but it should disable only Windows Key shortcuts. If you need to disable the Windows Key entirely, you might want to try a different solution.
Learn how to edit the Group Policy like an expert with the help of this useful guide.
Windows Key is incredibly useful, but it can sometimes be a problem during intense gaming sessions. There are many ways to disable it, and the best one is to set your keyboard to Gaming mode.
If the keyboard doesn’t support this feature, you can easily disable Windows Key by using any of our solutions.
If you have any other suggestions or questions, leave them in the comments section below and we’ll surely take a look.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.