Windows key or WinKey does not work on Windows 10

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Experiencing issues with the Windows key not functioning properly can be frustrating, especially if you rely on Windows shortcuts to speed up your workflow. Various factors, such as software glitches, system configurations, or hardware issues, can cause the Windows key to become unresponsive. Fortunately, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to restore the functionality of your Windows key on Windows 10.

Understanding the Root of the Problem

Before diving into the solutions, it’s essential to pinpoint what might be causing the Windows key to stop working. Sometimes, the issue could be as simple as the key being physically stuck or dirty. Cleaning your keyboard or checking if the Windows key is obstructed can be a quick fix. However, if the issue isn’t hardware-related, you’ll need to explore software and system settings that might be disabling the key.

Disabling Filter Keys

The Filter Keys feature in Windows 10 is designed to ignore brief or repeated keystrokes, which can sometimes result in the Windows key not being recognized. To turn off Filter Keys:

  1. Open the Settings app by pressing Win + I.
  2. Navigate to Ease of Access > Keyboard.
  3. Find the Filter Keys section and turn it off.

Restarting Windows Explorer

A common way to resolve various system issues, including a non-responsive Windows key, is by restarting Windows Explorer:

  1. Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  2. Under the Processes tab, locate Windows Explorer.
  3. Right-click on Windows Explorer and select Restart.

Disabling Game Mode

Game Mode in Windows 10 is designed to optimize your system for gaming, but it might interfere with the Windows key functionality:

  1. Go to the Settings app (Win + I).
  2. Click on Gaming > Game Mode.
  3. Turn off the Game Mode switch.

Additionally, check if your keyboard has a dedicated Game Mode or Win Lock key, which disables the Windows key to prevent accidental presses during gaming sessions. If so, toggle this key to re-enable the Windows key.

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Using PowerShell and Registry Adjustments

You can use PowerShell to re-enable the Windows key or adjust registry settings to fix the issue:

  • To use PowerShell, right-click the Start button and select Windows PowerShell (Admin). Enter the command Get-AppXPackage -Name Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}.
  • For registry adjustments, press Win + R, type regedit, and press Enter. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout and delete the Scancode Map entry if it exists.

Creating a New User Account

Sometimes, the problem might be linked to your user profile. Creating a new user account can help determine if the issue is user-specific:

  1. Go to Settings > Accounts > Family & other users.
  2. Under “Other users,” click on Add someone else to this PC and follow the prompts to create a new account.
  3. Log into the new account and test if the Windows key works.

Running System File Checker (SFC) and DISM

System file corruption can lead to a non-functional Windows key. Running an SFC scan or using Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) can potentially fix corrupted system files:

  • Press Win + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  • For SFC, type sfc /scannow and press Enter.
  • For DISM, type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth and press Enter.

Updating or Reinstalling Keyboard Drivers

Outdated or corrupted keyboard drivers may also prevent the Windows key from working. To update or reinstall your keyboard drivers:

  1. Open Device Manager (Win + X, then press M).
  2. Expand the Keyboards category.
  3. Right-click on your keyboard and choose Update driver to search for updated drivers or Uninstall device to remove the driver and reinstall it after rebooting the system.

Using the On-Screen Keyboard and Troubleshooter

As a temporary solution, you can enable the on-screen keyboard from the Ease of Access settings. Additionally, running the built-in Keyboard Troubleshooter can help identify and resolve issues with the hardware:

  1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
  2. Select the Keyboard Troubleshooter and run it.

If your Windows key is not working on Windows 10, there’s a good chance one of the solutions outlined above will help restore its functionality. Begin with the simpler checks and progressively move to the more advanced troubleshooting steps if the problem persists.

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