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Between Ctrl and Alt, modern keyboards have an abominable key: the 'Windows' key :P

Windows key shot

By default, when this key is pressed alone it opens the Start menu. Many applications and a great number of games work in fullscreen mode, and if you press this key accidentally, most of times because you wanted to press the Ctrl or Alt keys, the application usually freezes for a while and minimizes itself. If you are lucky, your videogame will pause, but sometimes it continues even when it is minimized.

Is it possible to disable the 'Windows' key?

It would be possible to show the Start menu with another combination of keys? I would like to keep combinations that use the Windows key working, like Windows+L, which leaves current session.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

See my answer for How can I disable and reassign the Caps Lock key?:

You can use SharpKeys to disable the functionality of any key. For a detailed guide, you can check out Map Any Key to Any Key on Windows XP / Vista.

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Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. For an example, see – Oliver Salzburg Dec 18 '12 at 17:15

You can add a certain value to the Registry to disable it. Here is a good tutorial, and some .reg files you can download.

However, this will disable the key entirely, as in no WinKey shortcuts. However, what I do is that I disable only the left Windows key, and use the right one to enter shortcuts. It's a sacrifice, but it means that I don't minimize anything fullscreen by accident.

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That can do a lot more, too.


disables it, but

#F::Run firefox.exe

would tell Win&F to run firefox. You could even set the winkey to only be disabled ingame, or require a double-press to fire, or have to hold it down before it triggers, and more!

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You can download SharpKeys! It saved my life, especially when I want to press ESC and accidentally press F1.

SharpKeys is free. You can download it from here

  • When installed, click on Add button,
  • on Map this key (from key) section click on Type key button. Type F1.
  • on the To this key (to key) section, select Turn Key off item.

Confirm with OK, reboot your Windows (because registry got changed). You're done!

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Pick yourself up a quality gaming keyboard (this one's great, but you can find much cheaper ones). They usually have a switch that disables the windows key and the context menu key.

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I have a laptop purchased in Canada that has many keys that irritate me (necessary for Francophones, etc.) and I use KeyTweak (got my copy from Softonics), which I learned about from How-to-Geek, and changed the assignment of keys at will to suit myself. Fun, free, and possibly a terrible practical joke issue.

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Take a screwdriver, pry it off! If that's a bit extreme, you can edit the registry to disable it.

Now, since you want to maintain some functionality (Win+L), but not others (Win) try using AutoHotKey to intercept the functions you don't want and do nothing.

Its a bit involved, but I think it will work the best.

On an odd note, apparently its the game developer's fault!

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There's actually a support article titled: Microsoft Support Article KB216893 How to disable the keyboard Windows key.

The article offers Microsoft Fix It downloads to enable/disable the Windows logo keys.

Alternatively, here's the manual procedure:

To disable the Windows key, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedt32, and then click OK.
  2. On the Windows menu, click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE on Local Machine.
  3. Double-click the System\CurrentControlSet\Control folder, and then click the Keyboard Layout folder.
  4. On the Edit menu, click Add Value, type in Scancode Map, click REG_BINARY as the Data Type, and then click OK.
  5. Type 00000000000000000300000000005BE000005CE000000000 in the Data field, and then click OK.
  6. Close Registry Editor and restart the computer.

To enable the Windows key, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedt32, and then click OK.
  2. On the Windows menu, click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE on Local Machine.
  3. Double-click the System\CurrentControlSet\Control folder, and then click the Keyboard Layout folder.
  4. Right-click the Scancode Map registry entry, and then click Delete. Click Yes.
  5. Close Registry Editor and restart the computer.
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If I apply this solution, will shortcut combinations (like Windows+L) still work? – Auron Dec 18 '12 at 17:58
@Auron: The regular shortcuts like Win+E, Win+D, Win+R will no longer function. However, Win+L is special because it is captured on a much lower level than the others. I was unable to confirm this right now, but it's possible that Win+L will still function after applying this change. – Oliver Salzburg Dec 18 '12 at 18:12

best way is to pull the key out of the keyboard. you will never need it so why to stay and complicate with software and registry editors, just pull the key out nothing bad will happen you can pull it back anytime but you wont for sure. is useless. bye

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