Windows Key Not Working? Here’s How to Fix It

Windows Key Not Working Heres How To Fix It Featured Image

If you landed here, chances are your Windows key has decided to take a vacation and left you high and dry. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. It’s a common issue many users face on Windows, but there are several solutions to fix it. This guide explores some effective methods that will restore your Windows key to its working state.

Good to know: dealing with a Caps Lock key with reversed functionality instead? Here’s what to do about it.

Fixing Windows Key Not Working

The malfunctioning Windows key can be attributed to various causes. For instance, if your keyboard is physically damaged, or there is dust or debris stuck under the keys, it can lead to the Windows key malfunctioning. Thoroughly cleaning the keyboard should be the first thing to try in such cases.

In some cases, updating the computer can result in system conflicts, leading to keyboard problems. To fix it, revert to a previous Windows build or wait for a fresh Windows update.

Other causes may be at play here, too. Each is explained in detail below, along with the solution correlated to it.

1. Turn Off the Filter and Sticky Keys Feature

The Filter Keys feature ignores brief, repeated keystrokes to enhance your typing experience. If Filter Keys are enabled on your system, they may cause interference with your Windows key. Another Accessibility option, Sticky Keys, makes keyboard shortcuts easier by allowing you to press each key individually instead of pressing them all at the same time. It could also be at fault in this situation. Try disabling both to restore functionality to your Windows key.

  1. Press and hold the right Shift key for eight seconds. A pop-up window will ask you to confirm whether you want to turn on/off Filter Keys. Click “No” to disable Filter Keys.
Filter Keys disable pop-up.
  1. Press the Shift key five times. A pop-up window will ask you to confirm whether you want to turn on/off Sticky Keys. Click “No” to disable Sticky Keys.
Selecting Settings from Start menu.
  1. Alternatively, you can go through Settings.
Selecting Settings from Start menu.
  1. Select “Accessibility -> Keyboard.”
Click on "Keyboard" from Accessibility in Windows Settings.
  1. Click the toggle button next to “Filter keys” to turn it off.
Navigating to "Filter keys" under Keyboard in Windows.
  1. Click on “Sticky keys” directly above.
  1. Click the toggle button next to “Sticky keys” to disable the feature.
Toggling off "Sticky Keys" in Windows under Accessibility.
  1. Check whether the Windows key is working again.

Good to know: check out all of Windows 11’s improved Accessibility features.

2. Turn Off the Windows Lock Key

Gaming keyboards often offer a Windows button/lock function that disables your keyboard’s Windows key so that you don’t accidentally press it while playing games. This key works like a Caps Lock or Num Lock button: pressing it once disables the Windows key, and pressing it again enables it. Follow these steps to disable the Windows button lock.

Enter Apache USB gaming keyboard overview.
Image source: Amazon
  1. Press the Fn + F6 keys.
  2. Alternatively, try the Fn + Windows keys together.
  3. Either of these combinations will disable the Windows key lock on your system, and you can start using the key normally again.

3. Enable Windows Key Using Registry

The Windows Registry is a built-in utility that will restrict many Windows features, including the functionality of the Windows key. In this case, you may need to manually enable the Windows key from the registry to fix the problem. If you suspect that you might have accidentally blocked the Windows key via the registry, follow these steps:

  1. Type “Run” in Windows Search and select the “Best match.”
Typing "Run" in Windows Search.
  1. Type regedit in the Run window and click “OK.”
Typing "regedit" in Run window.
  1. Click “Yes” on the UAC prompt.
  2. Navigate to:
Navigating to address in Registry Editor in Windows.
  1. Select “Keyboard Layout.”
Selecting "Keyboard Layout" key in Registry Editor.
  1. If you find “Scancode Map” under the “(Default)” key on the right side, right-click it and select “Delete” from the menu.
Right-clicking on "Scancode Map" key in Registry Editor."
  1. Exit the Registry Editor and restart your PC to enable the Windows key on your system.

Note: Scancode Map is responsible for changing how standard keys on the keyboard work.

4. Check Your Start Menu

Another scenario is when your Windows key is working, but your Start menu is not popping up as it should. This happens if the configurations at the backend are changed. Restoring your settings to normal via the steps below will fix the Windows key functionality.

  1. Press Win + R to launch the Run window.
  2. Type regedit and press Enter.
Typing "regedit" in Run window.
  1. Make sure to have a full registry backup in case an issue occurs, and you need to undo your changes.
  2. Navigate to
Clicking on "WpnUserService" in Registry Editor at given address.
  1. Select “WpnUserService.”
  1. Double-click the “Start” entry on the right, change the “Value data” to “2” or between “0” and “4” if it’s already “2,” and press “OK.”
Setting value data for "Start" key in Registry Editor.
  1. Restart your computer and check whether the issue persists.

Tip: if you’re having persistent problems with File Explorer, you may want to check out our list of fixes for common issues.

5. Restart Your File Explorer

Another way to fix the Start menu issue is to restart Windows File Explorer by following these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.
  2. Find “Windows Explorer” in this list and press “Restart” at the bottom-right corner.
Restarting Windows Explorer in Task Manager in Windows.
  1. When File Explorer restarts, check whether the Windows key issue is fixed.

6. Run Keyboard Troubleshooter

If a software bug is to blame for the Windows key not functioning properly, the Keyboard Troubleshooter may be able to fix it. Follow these steps to run it on your PC:

  1. Click the Start icon and open the Settings app.
  1. Go to “System -> Troubleshoot.”
Accessing "Troubleshoot" menu in Windows Settings.
  1. In the “Troubleshoot” section, click “Other troubleshooters.”
Selecting "Other troubleshooters" option in Windows Settings.
  1. Scroll down to “Keyboard” and click “Run.”
Click "Run" button next to "Keyboard" troubleshooter.
  1. Hit the Windows key to check whether it works.

7. Update Keyboard Drivers

One of the major reasons the Windows key is not working could be outdated or corrupted drivers. Outdated drivers can lead to several other issues with the keyboard as well. You can fix the issue by reinstalling or updating the keyboard drivers.

If updating the keyboard driver doesn’t fix your issue, try switching to a generic keyboard driver.

  1. Click the Start icon and search for “Device Manager.” Select the best match.
Search for "Device Manager" in Windows Search.
  1. Expand the “Keyboards” option.
Expanding "Keyboards" option in Device Manager.
  1. Right-click your keyboard driver and click “Update driver.”
Updating standard keyboard driver via Device Manager.
  1. Click “Browse my computer for drivers.”
Select "Browse my computer for drivers" option in Device Manager.
  1. PressLet me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.”
Pressing on "Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer" option in Update Drivers pop-up.
  1. In the pop-up that opens, click on “HID Keyboard Device” and hit “Next.” If you have the right keyboard driver, you can manually select and install it instead.
  1. Check whether the issue is fixed.

Tip: get better acquainted with PowerShell with this list of must-know commands.

8. Use a PowerShell Command

Certain software can develop conflicts with your computer’s keyboard, which leads to some keys malfunctioning. Since it is very challenging to identify the software conflicting with the keyboard, the only solution is to re-register all apps with PowerShell.

  1. Click the Start menu, search PowerShell, and click on “Run as administrator.”
Searching for "PowerShell" in Windows Search.
  1. Click “Yes” on the UAC command prompt.
  2. Type in the following command and press Enter:
Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation) AppXManifest.xml"}

Note: make sure that you type the command mentioned above carefully. Typing the wrong command may alter other settings, resulting in Windows corruption.

Typing command in PowerShell.
  1. Check whether the issue has been resolved.

9. Disable Game Mode

The Game Mode is a built-in Windows feature that provides a more fluid gaming experience. It modifies your CPU and GPU settings to prioritize a better and more stable frame rate. But it can interfere with other settings on Windows – and the Windows key is no exception. If you have Game Mode enabled, try turning it off.

  1. Click on the Start icon and go to Settings.
  1. Select “Gaming -> Game Mode.”
Clicking on "Game Mode" in Windows Settings.
  1. Click the toggle button next to “Game Mode” to turn the feature off.
Click the toggle button to turn Game Mode off in Settings.
  1. This should fix the Windows key not working issue on your computer.

Note: even if you aren’t an avid gamer, turn Game Mode off anyway, as it usually interferes with your PC settings, causing performance issues.

10. Create a New User Account

Sometimes the issue can be limited to your user account. It could be invalid, or its security files may be outdated. In such a case, you can create a new user account to bypass this issue.

  1. Click the Start icon and open Settings.
  1. Select “Accounts” and scroll down to “Family & other users.”
Clicking on "Family & other users" in Windows Settings.
  1. Tap the “Add account” button next to “Add other user” in the “Other users” section.
Clicking on "Add account" next to "Add other user" in Windows Settings.
  1. Follow the on-screen instructions to create a new user account.
  2. Log in using the new user account to see whether the Windows key works.

FYI: keep your PC in good health by following these useful tips.

11. Perform SFC and DISM Scans

Windows has a built-in utility called the System File Checker, commonly called the SFC scan. The tool is one of the quickest ways to fix corrupted files or internal problems on Windows. If the Windows key not working issue was caused by corrupt files on your system, you can easily perform an SFC scan to determine the corrupt file. DISM is a command similar to SFC that helps you clean up the files and restore the system’s health for proper updates. Check out our earlier article on how to run both scans on your system.

12. Check Your Computer for Malware

Though it’s rare, sometimes viruses can also cause such issues. If you have tested every method mentioned above but had no luck, the last thing to try is running a malware scan on your computer.

  1. Open your antivirus software and run a quick scan. You can also use Windows’s built-in Virus and threat protection option. To access it, type “Windows Security” in the Search tab and click “Open.”
Typing "Windows Security" in Windows Search.
  1. Navigate to “Virus & threat protection” in the left sidebar and tap the “Quick scan” button.
Click on "Quick scan" button in the "Virus & threat protection" section of Windows Security app.
  1. Wait for the scan to complete. This can take a few minutes, depending on the number of files on your computer. If the scan detects any issues, resolve them to protect your computer against viruses and malware.
  2. Once the issues have been resolved, check the Windows key to see whether it’s been fixed.

Now that you have fixed your malfunctioning Windows key, you may not need to order a new keyboard just yet. If you do feel it’s time to get a new one, though, check out these super portable foldable Bluetooth keyboards that you can take with you on holiday. Alternatively, we also have some atypically silent mechanical keyboards.

Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Ojash Yadav.

Ojash Yadav
Ojash Yadav

Ojash has been writing about tech back since Symbian-based Nokia was the closest thing to a smartphone. He spends most of his time writing, researching, or ranting about Bitcoin. Ojash also contributes to other popular sites like MakeUseOf, SlashGear, and MacBookJournal.

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