How can I find out which keyboard shortcuts are defined inside the Start menu? And what shortcuts they are assigned to?

Platform: Windows XP SP2 64 bit.


I open my main Visual Studio solution with a shortcut key, Ctrl+Alt+M. This is set up by having a shortcut inside the Start menu with:

Target: "D:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe" D:\dproj\MSQall\MSQuant\MSQuant.sln

Shortcut key: Ctrl+ALT+M

If a new shortcut is added and its shortcut key is also set to Ctrl+Alt+M then there are now two shortcuts with the same shortcut key (conflict). To prevent this it would be nice to know which shortcut keys are already assigned and to which shortcuts.

3 Answers 3


It looks like ActiveHotkeys might be what you want:

On several occasions there have been requests for a program that displays what global keyboard shortcuts are registered by various applications. ActiveHotkeys does just that: it will show a list of all active (registered) or inactive (available) global hotkeys.

Updated to version 1.1 - the Play/Pause edition. Totally free for all; please let me know if you encounter a problem. No installation necessary - just unpack and run. See the included readme file for details (or click the About tab in the program).

Download links are at the bottom of this post. Please be sure to download the latest version.

Please note that Windows does not allow for detecting which application has registered a particular shortcut, so that feaure is not included. (If you think you know how to achieve that, using message hooks or what-not, please post here or earn some karma at StackOverflow)

Main Screen of ActiveHotkeys

  • 1
    I just downloaded and tried it. It is very useful although it does not locate the shortcut. But at least it can be used to find out which shortcut keys are free, including the Windows key ones, e.g. Win+A. Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 0:24
  • Yeah, reading through the linked StackOverflow post, it doesn't look like there's any way to see what programs have grabbed what shortcuts. Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 0:37

There is a utility that helps you see which programs have grabbed which shortcut. It is called Shortcuts Map from Zealsoft.

  • 2
    Running a Chinese SETUP.exe... not feeling too good about it...
    – moodboom
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 21:43
  • this is not what you want. This program looks at shortcut (.lnk) files. Not Keyboard shortcuts
    – Eonasdan
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 18:26


To the left, there should be a link that says "Download Windows Hotkey Explorer Free!". This did the trick for me. It showed that "Cisco IP Communicator" was using Ctrl+Shift+A as a global hotkey when I needed it to work as "Add New Item" in Visual Studio.


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