I have a weird issue with a new Lenovo Flex 14 (Windows 8.1) where my escape key stops working. I just restarted and it started working again, but now it's gone again.

I know it's not working because it doesn't do any of the things the escape key normally does.

Example 1: opening the 'Run' prompt and pressing escape normally closes the prompt.

Example 2: putting a YT video into full-screen; escape no longer exits from it.

Anyone know what's up with this?

  • This thread shows a number of people having the same issue: answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/… The answer there may be of use to you.
    – CLockeWork
    May 12 '14 at 11:24
  • Yeah I already found that. The answer has zero helpful votes (and in any case applies mostly to Vista/Win 7) so it seems that's not gonna bring me any joy.
    – Mitya
    May 12 '14 at 11:31
  • 1
    Shame. Odd that it seems to be a recuring problem but there's so little support for it. Sorry I can't help more than that.
    – CLockeWork
    May 12 '14 at 12:30

I don't have Windows 8 to test this out, but I found a great solution for Windows 7 at http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/20226/how-to-fix-photoshop-breaking-the-escape-key-in-windows/ - you might want to give it a try and see if it works on Windows 8, or if not, then perhaps this will be helpful to others coming across this post who are having the issue due to Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

Basically it uses AutoHotKey to detect if Photoshop is running, and if it is, it will detect the Esc key being pressed and "convert" that to Shift+Esc (which isn't disabled by Photoshop but which has the same effect as Esc normally would in many/all programs). If Photoshop is the currently-active window it will not "convert" to Shift+Esc, since Esc works fine. That page also offers an executable version which you could set to run on startup if you don't want to get familiar with AutoHotKey.

  • Yes, it does also work on Windows 8, thank you for a nice workaround.
    – kaarel
    Apr 24 '15 at 13:59
  • That's amazing. I was driving me crazy that escape worked everywhere except to cancel dialogues.
    – dgo
    May 16 '15 at 1:08
  • 2
    Yes, It works. I was running photoshop CS4 in background and after that esc key stopped working in dialogs and editing the filenames etc. Sep 13 '15 at 16:04

I had the same issue on Windows 8/8.1 It turned out, that the problem came from the INTEL HD Graphics Tray App in combination with photoshop elements.

For my system, the problem was the INTEL HD-Graphic Applet found on the right side of the taskbar (Tray-Area). After deactivating the shortcut keys in the popup menu of the INTEL HD Graphics Tray-Icon, my system worked as expected.

I found the solution in this post. Other users may experience the same problem with the ATI Catalyst Control Center as described there.

  • 2
    Yeah I've also narrowed it down to Photoshop. Close PS, and the problem goes away. Still no solution as to how to avoid the problem with PS open, though.
    – Mitya
    Oct 16 '14 at 23:12

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