Fix: Esc key not working in Windows 10

By: Ovidiu Ionita
3 minute read
Fix: Escape key not working in Windows 10

The Escape key on a keyboard has been the standard “get me out” key for computer software since the beginning of computers. This was a very easy method of exiting different scenarios on a computer but for the last 10 years developers have started to focus on usability features, and having a single key on the keyboard that if pressed by accident can close an application is a big no-no.

In this article we’ll discuss how we can troubleshoot the Escape key in Windows 10 in different scenarios.

Quick solution to fix various PC issues

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1. Use SHIFT + Escape

Like I said in the first paragraph, the ease with which the Escape key could be used in the past posed a lot of problems if it was pressed by accident. This is why most of the newer applications have now switched to using the SHIFT + Escape keys combination.

For example Google Chrome uses the SHIFT + Escape keys combination to give you access to its internal task manager, as you can see in the image below.

Fix: Escape key not working in Windows 10

2. Test keyboard

Sometimes the problem isn’t with the operating system but with the hardware. Keyboards and mice are probably the most used and abused input components on a computer, meaning that they tend to break more often than other components.

If your keyboard is connected to your computer using a USB or PS/2 socket than you can disconnect it and install it on a different machine. This way you can test if the problem is with your computer or with the keyboard.

You can also try connecting a different keyboard to your machine and try using the Escape key on that one.

3. Check driver

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The keyboard driver translates the input from the keyboard so it can be read by the operating system. Drivers, like any other computer files, can get corrupted by different software or viruses. This can also be caused by upgrading or downgrading your operating system, if the installed driver isn’t fully compatible with the new version.

The method that I usually recommend to try and fix this is uninstalling the current driver and letting Windows reinstall it again. You can achieve this by right clicking on the Start button and selecting Device Manager. From here expand the Keyboards list, right click on your current keyboard and select Uninstall, like in the image below. Confirm this by click OK on the next dialog.

Fix: Escape key not working in Windows 10

Once the keyboard has been removed from the list reboot your computer to reload your operating system and force it to detect the keyboard. It will then proceed to reinstall the driver and hopefully fix problem.

NOTE: Newer USB keyboard are more complicated than they used to be. Now they have LED lights with 16 million colors, USB and Audio connections and even trackpads or special keys. In order to use them at their full potential you will need to install the driver provided by the manufacturer. You can find this either on the CD/DVD that it came with or by downloading it from the manufacturers’ website.

4. Check for viruses

Viruses have gotten really complex over the years and can even take control of hardware components. Actually most of computer software problems are caused by different types of viruses. If you have a 3rd party antivirus software installed than you can use that to scan your computer. If not, Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender, Microsofts own antivirus solution. You can access it by clicking on the Start button and selecting All apps. Under Windows System you’ll find Windows Defender which you can open by clicking on it.

Fix: Escape key not working in Windows 10

Another way to remove viruses from your computer is by using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. This antivirus software is free for personal use and can be downloaded from

Fix: Escape key not working in Windows 10

If you’re still having issues on your PC or you simply want to avoid them for the future, we strongly recommend you to download this tool (100% safe and tested by us) to fix various PC problems, such as file loss, malware and hardware failure.

If the steps above failed to fix your Escape key, please provide more details about your problem in the comment section below and we’ll try to help as best as we can.

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