About ten years ago, I was teaching computers to elementary students. They had a unique talent for turning on Sticky Keys and wreaking havoc on their keyboards, and as a result, I spent way too much time trying to undo what they had done by turning off Sticky Keys and returning their keyboard to normal.
Not only kids will do this. Anyone can accidentally tap the Shift key too many times and open this feature without trying to. If you’ve ever tapped the Shift key several times while thinking about your next sentence, you may have experienced this too.
What are sticky keys?
Sticky keys are an Ease of Access feature that Windows provides for people who have trouble using keyboard shortcuts by pressing two keys at one time. Using Sticky Keys, the user can press a modifier key like Shift, Ctrl, Alt, or the Win key, and it will stay active while they press any other key.
For example, if you want to open the Run menu, you press down Win + R at the same time. With Sticky Keys, you can touch them one at a time, first Win, and then the R.
This feature is handy for people who suffer from various conditions such as repetitive strain injury. However, sometimes a user will accidentally activate Sticky Keys by pressing the Shift key five times in a row. The problem is, you can’t turn it off the same way.
Disabling Sticky Keys
If you know you don’t want to use Sticky keys, you can turn them off at the source to avoid accidental activation.
Here are several different ways to accomplish this.
Using Control Panel
1. Open control panel.
2. Click on Ease of Access.
3. Click “Change how your keyboard works.”
4. Untick the box next to “Turn on Sticky Keys.”
Using Windows 10 Settings
1. Open Settings.
2. Click on Ease of Access.
3. Scroll down and click on Keyboard on the left side of the window.
4. Click the toggle switch under “Use Sticky Keys.”
To avoid launching Sticky Keys by touching Shift five times, make sure you untick the box next to “Allow the shortcut key to start sticky keys.”
Of course, if you do have trouble with pressing two keys at the same time, you can use these same settings to enable Sticky Keys. You can further customize Sticky Keys in several different ways.
- to show the Sticky Keys icon on the taskbar.
- to lock the modifier key when pressed twice in a row. This option keeps the key active until you press the same key for the third time.
- enable the turning off of Sticky Keys when you press two keys at the same time instead of reentering settings to turn it off
- play a sound when you press and release a modifier key.
If you find Sticky Keys useful or even if you don’t, there are other accessibility options you can enable that will make your experience with your Windows machine better.