Why does the Windows key seem to be reversed with the Escape key? This seems to randomly happen, and rebooting reverts their functionality.

What is happening that makes this happen, how can I prevent it from happening again, and how do I fix it when it does happen without rebooting?

  • It stopped on it's own. The only thing of significance I did was toggle between my host OS(Windows 7) and my guest OS(also Windows 7). The problem was only happening to the host OS. I'd still love to know why it happens. I use VMWare Player. Aug 13 '10 at 20:01
  • 1
    Ctrl+Esc is the same as pressing the windows key, and I've noticed from time to time that the control key seems to get 'locked on'. I usually press control, then shift, then alt in sequence and it goes away. I can't offer any explanation, but I've seen it happen many times. Aug 13 '10 at 20:02
  • comments from AJ and Patkos Csaba were both accurate -- as it happened only once it was likely a stuck/sticky Ctrl key
    – Hardryv
    Aug 13 '10 at 20:06

I think Ctrl + Esc opens the Start Menu.

You probably have a problem with the Ctrl button, or you have some sort of "sticky buttons" option enabled in the accessibility preferences.

  • The shortcut was added back when most keyboards didn't have a dedicated 'Windows' key. (via SU chat)
    – Stevoisiak
    Aug 21 '17 at 17:38

I think your Ctrl key was pressed for some reason. Ctrl+Esc brings up start menu on Windows.


After 9 years still occurs, and for me the solution was to try the combination: "Alt-GR"+"CTRL" of the right/left side.


Try restarting the computer. I faced the same problem and now the keyboard is working! Hope this helps you


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