The Windows key is the most versatile button on the keyboard. When used with other keys, it invokes shortcuts that make getting things done quick and easy.
While its versatility makes it useful, it also wreaks havoc when the key isn't working. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why the Windows key will stop working. This guide will walk you through a few methods to restore it to working capacity.
Windows key not working in game
Gamers often use dedicated keys when playing a game on the computer. Of course, some games don't require the Windows key to be used, in which case it doesn't matter whether it works or not.
However, if your game involves using the Windows key and it doesn't work, it can lead to frustration and hamper your ability to play well. Here are some ways to repair an inactive Windows key:
Method One: Disable Game Mode
Windows has a unique feature called "Game Mode" that allows gamers to disable specific keys on the keyboard that they do not want to press while playing a game. One of the keys that are disabled in Game Mode is the Windows key.
Turning this mode on and off often happens when you clean your keyboard. So here's how to get your Windows key working again:
- Locate the "Fn" key on your keyboard.
- Find the "F6" key on your keyboard.
- Now gently press these two keys at the same time. This should enable or disable the Windows key.
If this doesn't work for your particular keyboard, you can try the following:
- Locate the "Fn" key and the "Windows" key.
- Now press these two keys simultaneously. This should now activate your Windows button.
Second method: Press Win Lock
Most gaming keyboards feature a Win Lock key. This button enables or disables the Windows key. Trying out this method is quick and easy and only requires one step:
- Locate the “Win Lock” key and press it. That's it!
Your Windows key, if disabled, should now work.
Method Three: Change Your Registry Settings
If activating your Windows button with combination keys does not work, you may need to modify the registry settings. The Registry allows but also restricts many things, including menus and keyboard keys. To activate your Windows key using this method, you will need to:
- Navigate to your "Start" icon and click on it.
- Then type "Run". When the option appears in the menu, click "Run".
- A pop-up window will open with a space for you to type. In this space, type “regedt32”, then click on “OK”. If a EULA message appears asking for confirmation, choose “Yes”.
- A Windows menu will then open. Find “HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE” on “Local Machine” and click on it.
- Scroll down to find the "SystemCurrentControlSetControl" folder and double-click it.
- Next, click on the “Keyboard Layout” folder.
- Locate the "Scancode Map" registry entry and right-click on it. From the drop-down menu that appears, choose “Delete”.
- A warning or confirmation message will then appear. Choose "Yes" and the warning box will close.
- Now close Registry Editor and restart your computer.
This process should now activate the Windows key. If that doesn't help, you can always try the next method.
Method Four: Restart Windows or File Explorer
Explorer controls your Windows user interface, so restarting it will help eliminate any errors or issues preventing it from starting properly. Here are the steps to follow to apply this method:
- Simultaneously press the "Ctrl" + "Alt" + "Delete" keys.
- A window will open with some options. In this menu, select "Task Manager".
- When the "Task Manager" window opens, navigate to the "Processes" tab and click on it.
- When this tab opens, scroll down until you find the "Windows Explorer" option. Right click on this option. From the drop-down menu that appears, choose "End Task".
- Then navigate to the top of the window and click "File". From the options that appear, select “Run a new task”.
- A “Create a new task” window will open. In the bar, type "explorer.exe", then press "Enter".
Windows key not working – Razer
Not all keyboards use the same keys to enable or disable the Windows key. The Razer Keyboard offers dual functionality and is ideal for gaming and typing.
The following steps will show you how to enable the Windows key on your Razer keyboard:
Full-Size and No-Keyboard Keyboards:
- Locate the "Fn" and "F10" keys.
- Press these keys at the same time.
- Your Windows key should now work again.
Mini or 60% and 65% smaller keyboards:
- Find the "Fn" keys and the letter "U".
- Press these keys simultaneously to reactivate the function of your Windows key.
Windows key not working – RK61
The Royal Kludge 61 or RK61 keyboard is smaller than most other keyboards available, although it still falls into the 60% keyboard category. Because of this, you'll need to use Fn key combinations to perform tasks that most other keyboards have a dedicated button for.
To activate the Windows key, you will need to do the following:
- Find both the "Fn" key and the "Lock" key.
- Press these keys simultaneously to allow the Windows key to start working again.
- If you want to disable the Windows key, you can press these two keys again at the same time.
Windows key not working – Varmilo
Varmilo wireless mechanical keyboards are produced in Norway and therefore use a slightly different set of combination keys to enable and disable keyboard functions. We then understand that knowing how to activate the Windows key is not common knowledge. Nevertheless, here is how to make the Windows key work as it should on a Varmilo keyboard:
- Take a look at your Varmilo keyboard and find the "Fn" and "Windows" keys.
- Press these two keys at the same time.
- This action should activate the Windows key to activate it.
- Repeating this action will disable the Windows key again.
Windows key not working – SteelSeries
SteelSeries is a contemporary computer brand that primarily specializes in gaming technology. SteelSeries keyboards are especially popular among gamers, which helps to understand why it comes with a dedicated feature for placing the keyboard in gaming mode. To get your SteelSeries keyboard out of this mode and make the Windows key functional, you will need to follow these steps :
- Locate the dedicated “SteelSeries” key.
- Once you find this key, search for the "Windows" key.
- Hold down the “SteelSeries” key.
- While holding down this key, press the “Windows” key.
- Completing this process will activate the Windows key.
- Repeating these steps will deactivate the Windows key.
Windows key not working – Mac
Apple Macs run on an entirely different operating system and don't use Windows but instead use macOS. Since these computers do not use Windows, no Windows key is needed. The Mac equivalent of a Windows key is the Command key.
The Command key on a Mac computer cannot be enabled or disabled; however, sometimes the key is remapped and will need to be reset to work properly. Here are the steps to follow:
- Shut down your Mac.
- As soon as the computer restarts, simultaneously press the "Option", "Command", "P" and "R" keys.
- Hold these keys down for about 20 seconds before releasing.
- If you have a Mac that plays a startup sound, release the keys once the second startup sound begins to play.
- Hold the keys on a Mac with an Apple T2 security chip until the Apple logo appears and disappears twice.
- Pressing these keys will make the Mac appear as if it is restarting.
- Once operational again, the Command key should be operational again.
When your Mac has restarted, you may notice that other things like time zone, display resolution, and sound volume need to be reset. These can all be placed under "System Preferences".
Windows key not working – Alienware
Dell manufactures Alienware gaming computers, which means they use the Windows operating system. These computers also provide the ability to enable or disable the Windows key. If you find that the Windows key on your Alienware computer is not working, try these steps:
- Take a look at your keyboard and find the "Fn" key.
- Next, you'll want to locate the "F6" key.
- Once you see both keys, press them simultaneously for a second or two.
- By doing this simple exercise, you will activate the Windows key, restoring its functionality.
Activated and functional
The sheer number of keyboards and their unique methods of enabling and disabling the Windows key can be tricky. However, enabling the Windows key on your keyboard is relatively simple once you know how. Follow these simple steps and you could put your local IT technician out of work.
The only thing you will need to worry about is which game to play next!
Did you find your disabled windows key? Did you use a method similar to those described in this guide to enable it? Let us know in the comments section below.