A Guide to Fix­ing Key­board Short­cuts Not Work­ing on Win­dows 10

Olanrewaju Sodiq

When you get used to keyboard shortcuts, there's no going back. They are convenient, time-saving, and help to maximize productivity. If you're unable to capitalize on these benefits because keyboard shortcuts aren't working (or stopped working) on your Windows 10 computer, we've compiled some helpful solutions to the problem in this guide.

Backlit windows keyboard

Although there are basic Windows shortcuts that work system-wide, you'll also find app-specific keyboard shortcuts that vary from program to program. Some Google Chrome shortcuts, for example, may not work on Microsoft Edge. And that's normal. So, before you proceed to troubleshoot your PC or keyboard, make sure you're using the correct key combinations.

If the problem persists, try restarting your computer (or the app that won't respond to keyboard shortcuts). Proceed to the solutions in the next section if the situation remains the same when your PC comes back on.

1. Modify Sticky Keys Configuration

To perform actions using keyboard shortcuts, you can either press the key combinations in unison or follow a sequential manner, i.e., one key at a time. Sometimes, keyboard shortcuts might fail to work on your computer if you don't press the key combinations simultaneously. In that case, you should enable Sticky Keys.

Sticky Keys is a Windows 10 feature that lets you press one key at a time for keyboard shortcuts. Enable Sticky Keys on your computer if you're having difficulties performing actions using keyboard shortcuts.

Step 1: Launch the Windows Settings menu and select 'Ease of Access.'

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Step 2: Go to the Interaction section on the left-hand menu and select Keyboard.

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Step 3: Finally, toggle on the 'Use Stick Keys' option.

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If this option was already enabled on your PC yet, keyboard shortcuts don't work, toggle it off and try again. If enabling & disabling Sticky Keys doesn't make any difference, proceed to the next troubleshooting fix below.

2. Disable Special Keyboard Modes

Some mechanical keyboards have special modes that disable certain keys and shortcuts on your Windows computer. Gaming keyboards, for instance, will temporarily lock the Windows keys when used in Gaming Mode. That way, when you click the Windows key by accident during gaming, the Start Menu won't pop-up on the screen or interrupt your gameplay.

Gaming keyboard

If you don't revert the keyboard to regular programming after using it in Gaming mode, the locked keys will remain unusable. That causes some shortcuts not to work. Launch the keyboard's software and deactivate any special mode that could affect system or app shortcuts.

3. Run Keyboard Troubleshooter

If the keyboard shortcut failure persists, you can employ the Windows Keyboard Troubleshooter to diagnose and fix problems with your PC's keyboard.

Step 1: Launch the Windows Settings menu and select 'Update & Security.'

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Step 2: Go to the Troubleshoot tab and click on Keyboard.

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Step 3: Next, click the 'Run the troubleshooter' button.

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Wait for the Troubleshooter to complete the keyboard diagnosis. If it detects any issue with your PC's keyboard, the Troubleshooter will try to resolve them or recommend troubleshooting solutions.

Proceed to the next method if no problems were detected.

4. Restart and Refresh Human Interface Device Service

Activities you execute on your Windows PC are hosted in the background by their respective services. On Windows 10, keyboard hotkeys/shortcuts are powered by the 'Human Interface Device (HID) Service.'

You might encounter difficulties using keyboard shortcuts on your computer if this service isn't functioning correctly or has stopped working. Follow the steps below to (re)start and refresh the

Step 1: Right-click the bottom-left corner of your PC's display and select Run from the Quick Access Menu.

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Step 2: Type services.msc into the Open dialog box and click OK.

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Step 3: Right-click on 'Human Interface Device Service' and select Start from the context menu.

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If the service is already running, select Restart.

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Step 4: Afterward, right-click on the service again and this time, select Refresh.

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5. Re-Enable Windows Key Hotkeys

Step 1: Right-click the bottom-left corner of your PC's display and select Run from the Quick Access Menu.

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Step 2: Type gpedit.msc into the Open dialog box and click OK.

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Step 3: On the left-hand menu of the 'Local Group Policy Editor' window, navigate through this path: User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer.

Double-click on the item labeled 'Turn off Windows Key hotkeys.'

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Step 4: Make sure it is set to Disabled (or Not Configured). Click Apply and OK to proceed.

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If keyboard shortcuts still don't work as expected after doing the above, restart your computer and try again.

Clean Your Keyboard Too

So that's how you fix the problem when keyboard shortcuts stop working on your Windows 10 computer. Often, you'll find dirt logged into the tiny spaces and crevices of your PC's keyboard. These could clog the keys and consequently prevent some shortcuts from working. Clean your computer's keyboard and check if that restores nonfunctional shortcuts. Before cleaning the keyboard, you could try updating its driver. That might help fix the problem.

Next up: If your Windows 10 keyboard is in a different language that isn’t the US English, read the article linked below to learn how to change it to your preferred language/layout.


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Sodiq has written thousands of tutorials, guides, and explainers over the past 3 years to help people solve problems relating to Android, iOS, and Windows devices. He also enjoys reviewing consumer tech products (smartphones, smart home devices, etc.) and previously worked with GearBest in that capacity.