CTRL+S and CTRL+A is not working on my computer at work. I presume that some application working in background is listening on that keystroke so accessing 'Save' feature via key combination in all other programs is broken.

I tried to kill some background processes but no luck, CTRL+S and CTRL+A do not work (even from virtual keyboard). I do not have priveleges to kill some processes (system services).

Is there an option (some app?) which could tell me which process is listening on particualar key combination - like listening net ports. I want to determine which process forces me to click the damn diskette icon in toolbar instead of use comfortable CTRL+S.


As I understand it, the global hotkey list is constructed into memory when Windows starts up so there isn't any one place you can go a look at them (e.g. they are not stored in the registry).

They appear to be defined (mainly?) in .lnk files so you would need to walk through all of the .lnk files on your system picking out the hotkeys.

As usual, someone has been here before and written a VBS program to list them all.

However, a quick look and attempt to run shows me that it is not very robust or complete. However, if you can get it to work, it may tell you what you need. Otherwise, you need to enhance it to search for .lnk files in other places. I'm also not quite convinced that .lnk files are the only way to register global hot keys.

However, I did stumble on the Hotkey Commander shareware, so this might do exactly what you want. Give it a try and add an update here so that we know if it works or not.

Oh, and this question is a partial duplicate of: How can I determine which process owns a hotkey in Windows?

UPDATE: I couldn't resist so I tried out Hotkey Explorer which is the free tool listed along side the shareware Commander tool. It does indeed seem to list all of the registered global hotkeys and their registering applications. It will be interesting to know if it is able to spot what is intercepting your keys.

  • I was a little freaked out when I ran Hotkey Explorer, it looks like that application emulates a keyboard and mashes every key-combination, to check if an app received focus. This spooked me because there is a windows hoykey to turn on zoom, and narrator. Unfortunately it coudln't find the app ruining my day by stealing ctrl+alt+up/ctrl+alt+down – ThorSummoner Sep 23 '14 at 2:07
  • Drat! Well, thanks for the update anyway. Maybe try contacting the author of that tool and see if they can help? Doesn't look as though anyone else has any insight. – Julian Knight Sep 24 '14 at 19:21
  • On Windows 10, Hotkey Explorer will press all available keybinds! But in the end, it will also list all of them. – user Jul 27 at 19:52

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