Fix: Windows Button or Key not Working

Since the invention of the Start menu, keyboards have had the Windows key (also called Winkey). This is a physical button with the Microsoft Windows logo embedded on keyboards, usually to the left of the keyboard that links to the Start menu. So if you press this key the start menu will open and if not then start menu or windows key will not work. Some keyboards also have two; right and left of the keyboard. The Windows key quickly brings up the Start menu; This is the most common procedure on a Windows computer. This saves time when hovering over the start menu button on your screen.

Windows button

However, for some users, this button only caused frustration. Every time they press the Windows key on the laptop, it doesn’t seem to be doing its job of showing the start menu. That means Windows keyboard shortcuts won’t work either. Shortcuts like Winkey + L to log out, Winkey + D to show the desktop, Winkey + R to open Run, Windows Key + I to open Settings, or Windows Key + Tab to browse tasks do not work. However, the Start menu still works fine when using the mouse. However, others can’t get this to work either. This article will help explain this problem and give you solutions.

Repair corrupted files

Download and run Restoro to scan and recover corrupted and missing files here. Once that is done, proceed with the solutions below.

Reasons why your Windows key is not working

This problem is related to your PC settings, including the software installed, or it could be related to yours keyboard the same. It’s best to try a different keyboard if you have one. If the problem goes away, it suggests that you have a suspicious key on the original keyboard. If the problem persists, then you can assume it is a Windows issue. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager. If Task Manager doesn’t appear, there may be a malware issue.

A common reason for this problem can be seen in video game keyboards. These keyboards have two modes; a standard mode and a game mode. There is a switch to switch between these modes. You can flip a switch, press a button, use the software, or use a combination to switch modes. Game mode prevents the Windows key from working to prevent the game from crashing when the Windows key is accidentally pressed.

It’s also possible that your Windows key is with special needs in the registry editor of the Windows operating system itself, therefore Windows cannot accept a request for this key. A disabled start menu also indicates this problem. It could be caused by software, games or malware.

bad drivers, incompatible drivers or outdated drivers can also cause your Windows key to get stuck on your keyboard. These symptoms can also appear if the File Explorer/Windows Explorer that controls your user interface did not start properly. There could also be a conflict between the devices, as seen when the game controller is connected.

At worst, your keyboard could be mechanical or electric spoiled therefore it must be replaced. Here are some solutions that can help get you back on track.

noteNote: Since Windows shortcuts won’t work due to this error, we’ll use longer methods instead of Windows shortcuts that require the Windows key.

Method 1 – Disable Game Mode on your keyboard

Some keyboards, typically marketed as “gaming”, have the ability to disable the Windows keys via a hardware switch or Fn key combination to prevent pressing that key which would normally end the game. Gameplay is usually marked with a joystick layout. How to disable gaming mode on some of the most popular gaming keyboards.

  1. On Logitech keyboards, there is a switch above the F1, F2, and F3 function keys that you can toggle to the right for gaming mode and to the left for normal use. Turn it to the left. Other versions have a game mode button above F4, press the button to switch between game and standard mode.
  2. Some keyboards have a “Lock Win” key (not the menu key) next to the right Ctrl key instead of a second Windows key. Press it to activate the Windows key.
  3. Corsair keyboards come with their own software to customize lighting, features, etc. Run the Corsair software (which has an option to enable/disable the Windows key) and enable your Windows key.
  4. The Azio keyboard of the MGK1 series also has such a switch. MGK1 and MGK1-K: Press FN and F9 at the same time. For MGK1-RGB: Press FN and the Windows start button at the same time.
  5. For MSI desktop/laptop keyboards, you can enable the Windows key from Dragon Gaming Center > System Tuner.
  6. For the ibuypower keyboard, press fn+ibuypower (i.e. the Windows key) to toggle the Windows key on and off
  7. For the Alienware Gaming Keyboard, press Fn + F6 to toggle Game Mode on and off
  8. For the MS Sidewinder keyboard, go to the MS Keyboard & Mouse Center and you can click the Windows key in Dash and turn it on or off.

Method 2: Activate the Windows key by editing the registry

Registration can allow or restrict many, including keyboard keys and menu items. To enable your Windows key:

  1. Click Start, type Run and click Run, or in Windows 8/10, right-click the Start button and click Run
  2. Type regedt32, then click OK. Click Yes if you receive a EULA message asking for confirmation.
  3. On the Windows menu, click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE on the local computer.
  4. Double-click the System\CurrentControlSet\Control Click the Keyboard Layout folder.
  5. Right click on the Scan code card registry entry, and then click Delete.
  6. Click Yes on the confirmation/warning message.
  7. Close the registry editor and restart the computer.

If you need to disable the Windows key again, we have instructions for you on our website (here).

Method 3: Re-register all apps

This will remove any software conflicts with your keyboard.

  1. Click the Windows button.
  2. Type “PowerShell”, then right-click “Windows PowerShell” and run as administrator.
  3. If your home button doesn’t work when you click it, go to this location:
    C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Windows PowerShell\

    Right-click “Windows Powershell” and run as administrator

  4. Type or copy and paste the following script into the PowerShell window and press Enter
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

  5. Restart your PC

Method 4 – Enable Start Menu

In cases where your home button doesn’t show the home menu, it’s possible that the home menu has been disabled. Follow the steps below to enable it.

  1. Right-click the start button and select Run or press Ctrl+Shift+Esc and go to File > click Run new task in Task Manager.
  2. paste”regedit” (without quotation marks)
  3. Access this key
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explorer > Advance
  4. Right-click on the right pane and create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  5. Call the new key “EnableXamlStartMenu
  6. Restart your PC or restart Explorer using Task Manager as described in Method 5 below.

Method 5: Restart Windows/File Explorer

Explorer controls your Windows user interface. This method will restart Windows/File Explorer and clear any errors that prevented it from starting properly.

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del on the keyboard and click Task Manager.
  2. Click on the Processes tab and locate Explorer in Windows, right click on it and select End task.
  3. Click File, and then click Run New Task.
  4. Type “explorer.exe” and press Enter.

Method 6 – Disable filter keys

This is believed to be one of the culprits of Windows 8 and Windows 10 issues. Enabling Filter Keys ignores or slows down repeated key presses and adjusts refresh rates. Somehow the Windows key is also affected on some keyboards. To disable filter keys:

  1. Drag your mouse to the right edge of your Windows 8 PC and click Settings. On Windows 10, right-click the Start menu and select Settings.
  2. On the Windows Settings page, scroll down and click Ease of Access
  3. In the left pane, click the Keyboard tab
  4. Scroll down to “Filter Keys” and turn it off

Method 7 – Uninstall and reinstall your keyboard drivers

Uninstalling the wrong keyboard drivers will reinstall the correct drivers for your keyboard.

  1. Right-click the start button and select Run or press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager and go to File > Run New Task.
  2. Type devmgmt.msc and press Enter to open Device Manager
  3. Expand the Keyboards section.

  4. Right-click on your keyboard drivers and select “Uninstall device”
  5. In the warning message that appears, click Yes or Uninstall to remove these drivers
  6. If you have a USB keyboard, disconnect and reconnect it. Or restart your computer. Windows will automatically reinstall the drivers. Check if the Windows key is working now.

Method 8: Disconnect your gamepad

Your Windows key sometimes does not work when your gamepad is plugged in and a button on the gamepad is pressed. This may be due to conflicting drivers. It may be on the back, but all you have to do is unplug your gamepad or make sure no buttons on your gamepad or keyboard are being pressed. Updating your gamepad or keyboard driver can permanently fix this problem.

A notice: Keep in mind that it could also be a hardware/mechanical/electrical issue with your keyboard that requires repair or replacement.

The start menu does not open with the Windows key

If your Windows key works fine everywhere but your start menu doesn’t appear after pressing the Windows key. Your Cortana files or start menu may be corrupted. In that case, you need to go to this article. You can click this link if you Windows 10 start menu not working. We have covered this issue in detail and also provided some solutions for you to try.

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