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How to fix the Windows Key or button not working on Windows 10

The Windows key is a dedicated key you will find on most keyboards sold for desktop PCs. The key toggles the Start Menu open/close when the keyboard is connected to a Windows system. It also serves as a modifier key and shortcuts that are executed with it open specific Windows apps and tools.

Windows key

Windows key or button not working

The Windows key is used to execute lots of commonly used keyboard shortcuts e.g. Win+L will lock your system, Win+R will open the run box, and Win+I will open the Settings app. All of this is possible without using the Windows key but keyboard shortcuts make it much easier to navigate the OS. 

If the Windows key isn’t working on your system, try the following first;

  • Connect a different/external keyboard to your system and check if the button works.
  • Make sure the keyboard you’re using is turned on.
  • Change the battery if the keyboard is battery powered or wireless.
  • If you’re using a Bluetooth keyboard, unpair it and pair it again.
  • If you’re running an app or script that remaps keys, quit or uninstall it.
  • Clean the keyboard. If there is something stuck under the key, it won’t press.

If the Windows key doesn’t work, try the fixes below.

1. Delete registry key

There may be a registry key that is causing problems with the Windows key. Deleting it should get the Windows key working again.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Enter regedit in the location bar and tap Enter.
  3. Navigate to this key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout
  4. Delete the Scancode Map value.
  5. Restart the system.

2. Run PowerShell command

Try registering the apps on your system. You can do this with a PowerShell command.

  1. Open PowerShell with admin rights.
  2. Run this command: Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation) AppXManifest.xml"}
  3. Restart the system.

3. Turn off Win Lock

Some keyboards, normally internal ones that are found on laptops, have a Win Lock functionality. This disables the Windows key and is meant to prevent it from interfering while you game.

Look for a key on the keyboard with a lock icon and W or Win written on it. Press it to unlock the Windows key. If that doesn’t work, check how to turn Win lock off for your particular keyboard model.

4. Run SFC scan

Corrupted system files can cause problems with keyboard input. Use the SFC scan tool to scan for and repair problems with the system.

  1. Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
  2. Run this command: sfc /scannow.
  3. Restart the system after the command completes.

5. Run DISM tool

The SFC scan tool can fix lots of problems with Windows 10 but not all of them. If the Windows key still doesn’t work, use the DISM tool to fix problems with the OS.

  1. Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
  2. Run this command: DISM /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth
  3. Next, run this command: DISM /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
  4. Restart the system.

6. Disable Gaming mode

Gaming mode on Windows 10 has not been a hit. On a good day, it doesn’t do much but on a bad day it can interfere with games and lots of other things. 

  1. Open the Settings app from the Start Menu.
  2. Go to Gaming.
  3. Go to the Game Mode tab.
  4. Turn the Game Mode switch off.

7. Run a system scan

Check your system for malware. We recommend scanning it with Windows Defender, and with the free version of MalwareBytes.

To run a scan with Windows Defender;

  1. Open Windows Defender.
  2. Go to Virus & threat protection.
  3. Click Scan options.
  4. Select Full scan and click Scan Now.
  5. Allow the scan to complete and remove all infections that it finds.

8. Create a new user account

If all else fails, create a new user account. It will give you a fresh OS environment where everything will work.

  1. Open the Settings app and go to Accounts.
  2. Select Family & other users.
  3. Click Add someone else to this PC.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions and set up a local account.
  5. Sign in with the local account and the Windows key will work.

Conclusion

The Windows key isn’t really needed to type but it’s essential if you prefer to use the keyboard instead of the mouse. You can use it to navigate the OS far more easily. If the key isn’t working, the above fixes should do the trick. 

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