While computer keyboard shortcuts can help speed up workflow and enable more efficient time management, sometimes they can slow you down. This usually happens if they conflict with app-specific shortcuts or simply don't conform to your preferred keyboard ergonomics. Let's show how to disable traditional shortcuts on your keyboard whether you're on a Mac or a PC
How to Disable Keyboard Shortcuts on a Windows PC
It's a common misconception that you can't disable hotkeys in Windows. In fact, it only takes a few clicks to deactivate them. This way, you'll never accidentally open the Start menu or minimize your window when all you wanted to do was press Ctrl+Z (Ctrl+Z) to cancel.
You can disable these shortcuts in several ways:
(a) Changing Windows settings via Local Group Policy Editor
The Microsoft Local Group Policy Editor is an administration tool that allows group administrators to define policies and apply them to users on a given network. It allows them to override the default Windows settings and make changes to things like startup applications, network security, or even Recycle Bin size.
More importantly, you can use Local Group Policy Editor to disable all hotkeys on Windows. Here's how:
- Click the "Search" icon in the lower left corner.
- Type "edit group policy" and press Enter. This should open the Local Group Policy Editor window.
- Click on “User Configuration”, then select “Administrative Templates”.
- Select "Windows Components" from the "Administrative Templates" submenu.
- Click on “File Explorer”.
- Double-click "Disable Windows Keyboard Shortcuts" in the right pane. This should launch a popup where you can disable hotkeys.
- Click "Enabled," select "Apply," then click "OK" to save your new settings.
- Close the Group Policy Editor window and restart Windows to apply the changes.
After restarting Windows, all Windows keyboard shortcuts will now be unavailable.
Although this method is intended for large computer networks in a corporate or group environment, it also works perfectly for single-user workstations. You can revert changes and enable shortcuts by following the steps above and selecting "Disabled" or "Not configured".
That said, changing local group policy is a high-risk exercise that should be done with great care. If configured incorrectly, the Local Group Policy Editor can cause permanent changes that may have unexpected results when using Windows. For example, it can lead to network errors or an inability to use File Explorer.
(b) Using the Registry Editor
You can also disable hotkeys by editing the registry. Here's how:
- Launch the Run dialog box by pressing Windows+R keys.
- Type “regedit” in the text field and hit enter. This will open your system's registry editor.
- Find the following key in the left pane:
- Right-click on the empty space in the right pane, then click "New".
- Select "DWORD NoWinKeys" from the drop-down menu.
- Rename the entry. Although Windows automatically suggests a name for the new entry, you should choose a name that gives an idea of what the entry is. For example, you can use "NoKeyShorts" or "NoWinKeys". This can come in handy later when you want to undo the changes you made.
- Set the value of the newly created entry to 1.
- Close the Registry Editor window, then restart your system.
After restarting, all Windows keyboard shortcuts will have been disabled. You can try running one or two to confirm.
However, you should always exercise caution when editing the registry. Essentially, it's the engine Windows runs on, so if something goes wrong, you could find yourself in a situation where your PC won't even boot.
How to Disable Keyboard Shortcuts on a Mac
Every Mac user's worst nightmare is to use the wrong keyboard shortcuts and accidentally delete a file, lose notes from an important meeting, or something equally frustrating.
Many MacOS apps come with their own shortcuts, which can conflict with traditional MacOS shortcuts and cause confusion.
But like Windows, Mac lets you disable any keyboard shortcut you don't need. And instead of just letting you run a "global" edit designed to disable all shortcuts at once, macOS lets you disable them one at a time. This can allow you to get rid of shortcuts that are giving you trouble and keep the rest to speed up your workflow.
Let's see how it works:
- Open "System Preferences" by clicking on your Apple logo in the upper left corner of your screen.
- Select "System Preferences".
- Select "Keyboard" from the list on the left side of your screen.
- Click "Shortcuts" in the list of settings at the top of the window.
- Once in "Shortcuts", uncheck the box next to each shortcut to disable it.
Don't let pesky shortcuts slow you down
Are there any shortcuts that have given you trouble on Windows or Mac? Have you tried disabling them through one of the methods described in this article? We would like to know.
You are welcome to share your experience in the comments section below.