Keyboards, whether they’re internal or external, both come with an entire set of media keys. The media keys generally allow you to change the volume of your system, mute/unmute it, manage the brightness of your display, toggle the WiFi, and play/pause anything that’s playing. These keys work reliably so long as you’re working with an internal keyboard but if you’re using an external keyboard, these keys often do not work leaving you without an easy way to mute/unmute system volume with the keyboard.
If your keyboard’s mute/unmute key isn’t working, you have two options; configure a different keyboard shortcut to do the trick with an AutoHotKey script, or use a touch pad gesture.
Make sure you have AutoHotKey installed. Open a new Notepad file and paste the following in it;
Give it a name that tells you what the script is for e.g. Toggle Mute, and save it with the AHK file extension.
Run the script and when you tap the Caps key on your keyboard, it will mute/unmute your system volume. The Caps key will act as a toggle so you will only have to use one key. You can of course use any other shortcut in the AutoHotKey script. Here’s a quick look at how to change it.
This option requires that you have a precision touchpad. Most users who opt to use external point and click devices don’t normally use touchpads with Windows laptops or PCs but if you have one, or you’d simply like to use your touchpad to mute/unmute system volume, the option is there.
Open the Settings app on Windows 10. Go to the Devices group of settings and select the Touchpad tab. You can configure three and four finger taps and swipes. The one and two finger gestures are locked down for the most part.
Look for and click on the ‘Advanced gesture configuration’ option. Scroll down to either the three or four finger gestures. Open the dropdown under the gesture that you want to use to mute/unmute system volume and select the ‘Mute’ option. That’s all you have to do. Give it a practice run to see if it feels natural.
The dedicated media keys on keyboards are useful if they work, if you can get used to them, and if you do not need to use the function keys. If they don’t work, or you need to use the Function keys on a daily basis, these are two alternative solutions to quickly muting system volume.