Restore and Activate Windows

Restore and Activate Windows

The Windows key is a vital part of your keyboard’s arsenal, offering shortcuts to system applications, the Start menu access, and more. When it stops working, it’s not just a nuisance – it can significantly impact your workflow and navigation on Windows 10.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry; you’re not alone, and there are plenty of solutions available. This guide will provide you with various ways to restore your Windows key’s functionality on both internal and external keyboards, whether you’re a tech expert or just a casual user.

Why Is My Windows Key Not Working on Windows 10? Common Causes:

Understanding the root causes of this issue can be essential in determining the right solution. Here’s what might be causing your Windows key to malfunction:

  1. Hardware Issues: Wear and tear or physical damage to your keyboard’s connection could be the culprit.
  2. Major Windows 10 Update: Sometimes, a recent update can interfere with the keyboard’s functioning, especially gaming keyboards.
  3. Game Mode Conflicts: Keyboards like the Razer Blackwidow might conflict with Windows 10’s Game Mode – turning it off can fix the problem.
  4. Disabled Windows Key: Occasionally, the Windows key may be disabled within the system settings by an application, malware, or even accidentally by the user.
  5. Filter Key Bug in Windows 10: A known bug associated with the Filter Key feature could be responsible, causing issues on the login screen.
How to Fix Restore and Activate Windows Key Not Working on Windows 10: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we’ve explored potential causes, let’s dive into straightforward solutions to restore your Windows key’s functionality. These troubleshooting methods are designed to be user-friendly, so even if you’re new to tech repairs, you can still get back on track quickly.

By following this guide, you can tackle the “Windows key not working on Windows 10″ issue and regain control of your system, enhancing your productivity and ensuring a seamless computing experience.

How to Resolve the Windows Key Not Working on Windows 10: Step-by-Step Solutions
Prerequisite: Enable the On-Screen Keyboard
Restore and Activate Windows

Before diving into the solutions to fix the Windows Key not working issue, it’s essential to have an alternative way to navigate your system. Enabling the On-Screen Keyboard will allow you to use your mouse or touchpad to input commands, making the troubleshooting process smoother.


Here’s how to use the on-screen keyboard in Windows 10:
  1. Open the Settings app by clicking the gear icon in the Start menu or pressing Windows + I on your keyboard.
  2. Choose the “Ease of Access” tile.
  3. Scroll down in the left-side panel and click on “Keyboard” under the Interaction section.
  4. Click the toggle under “Use the On-Screen Keyboard” to enable the virtual keyboard in Windows 10.

Now that you have the on-screen keyboard active, let’s begin troubleshooting.

Method 1: Turn off the Filter Keys Feature

The Filter Keys feature in Windows 10 can sometimes interfere with normal keyboard functioning, leading to the Windows Key not working. Here’s how to turn off the Filter Keys to potentially restore the functionality of the Windows Key:

Restore and Activate Windows
    1. Open the Control Panel (You can search for it in the Start menu).
    2. Ensure that your view mode is set to Category.
    3. Click on the “Ease of Access” heading.
    4. Click on the “Change how your keyboard works” link in the Ease of Access Center.
    5. Make sure the checkbox next to “Turn on Filter Keys” is empty. If it contains a checkmark, click it to remove it.
    6. Click Apply and then OK.

    Restart your computer or simply test if your Windows key functions as intended.

    By methodically following these steps, you eliminate a potential cause for the Windows Key malfunctioning. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, don’t worry – there are additional methods you can try!

Method 2: Use PowerShell to Restore Windows Key Functionality
Utilizing PowerShell to Fix the Windows Key Not Working Issue

PowerShell is a robust tool that allows users to perform tasks, make adjustments, and troubleshoot their computers through a scripting language. While it might seem intimidating at first, especially if you’re unfamiliar with command-line interfaces, we will guide you through the process step-by-step.

Important Note:

To execute most of the instructions in this guide, your user account must have administrative permissions. This requirement ensures that you can make necessary changes to the system without restrictions.

If you’re unsure about your user account’s permissions, or if you need to grant administrative rights to a local user account, you can refer to our detailed guide on “How to Make a Local User an Administrator in Windows 10.

With these prerequisites in mind, let’s delve into how PowerShell can be employed to restore the Windows Key’s functionality on Windows 10.

Restore and Activate Windows
  1. Use the on-screen keyboard to press Windows + R, opening the Run utility.
  2. Type “Powershell” and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter on your keyboard. This action will launch PowerShell with administrative permissions.
  3. If prompted, click Yes to allow PowerShell to make changes to your device.
  4. Copy and paste the following command into the PowerShell window, then hit Enter:
     Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

        This command re-registers all Windows apps, which may resolve the Windows Key issue.

  5. Wait for the command to finish running. You may see some red text, but this is normal. Once the command completes, and the prompt returns, you can close PowerShell.
  6. Test your Windows Key to see if it’s working again. If not, you may want to try a different method from our article.

This alternative method employs the on-screen keyboard, considering that the physical Windows Key may not be working, and outlines the process to restore its functionality using PowerShell. Always proceed with caution when using PowerShell commands, as they can significantly affect your system.

Method 3: Adjust the Registry to Restore Windows Key Functionality

The Windows Registry is a hierarchical database that stores low-level settings for the Windows operating system. You can apply a specific Registry tweak to restore the Windows Key to its working state.

Warning: Before proceeding, create a backup of your Registry. If you’re unsure how to do this, refer to the guide “Registry Backup, Restore, Import, and Export” from Windows Ninja. Editing the Registry without proper knowledge can lead to system instability.

Follow these steps to perform the Registry adjustment:

  1. Press Windows + R on the on-screen keyboard to open the Run utility, then type “Regedit” and press OK to launch the Registry Editor.
  2. Navigate the Registry Editor by expanding folders using the arrow icon next to their names. Alternatively, for faster navigation, you can copy and paste the key into the Registry Editor’s address bar.
  3. Locate the following Registry key:     HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout
  4. Right-click on the “Scancode Map” registry key and choose “Delete” to remove it. If you can’t find this key, it might not be available on your device. In that case, proceed with a different method in our guide.
  5. Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer.

After restarting, test the functionality of the Windows Key. If this method doesn’t resolve the issue, there are still other options available in this guide.

By following these instructions with caution and ensuring that you’ve backed up the Registry beforehand, you can safely attempt this method to restore the Windows Key’s functionality on Windows 10.

Method 4: Disable Game Mode to Restore Windows Key Functionality

Microsoft’s Game Mode was introduced in Windows 10 to enhance gaming experiences by optimizing system resources. Unfortunately, it may sometimes conflict with keyboards, leading to problems such as rendering the Windows key unusable. Disabling Game Mode can often resolve this issue. Here’s how to do it:

Restore and Activate Windows
  1. Press Windows + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Click on “Gaming.”
  3. On the left pane, click “Game Mode.”
  4. Toggle the switch to “Off” next to “Use Game Mode.”

After disabling Game Mode, test your Windows key to see if it has regained functionality. If it still doesn’t work, continue exploring other methods in this guide.

Note: Game Mode’s intention is to enhance gaming performance, so disabling it may affect how some games perform on your system. Consider this trade-off before making the decision to turn off Game Mode permanently.

Method 5: Create a New User Account

Sometimes, creating a new user account can resolve issues with the Windows key. Here’s how you can do that:

Restore and Activate Windows
  1. Click the Start menu and choose “Settings,” or use the Windows + I keyboard shortcut from the on-screen keyboard.
  2. Click on the “Accounts” tile.
  3. Switch to the “Family & other users” tab using the panel navigation on the left side.
  4. Scroll down and click “Add someone else to this PC.”
  5. Click “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information,” then “Add a user without a Microsoft account.”
  6. Enter a username and optionally add a password, then click Next.
Method 6: Perform a System File Checker Scan (SFC Scan)

The System File Checker (SFC scan) tool can automatically fix corrupted system files:

  1. Press Windows + R to open Run, then type “cmd” and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to launch Command Prompt as an admin.
  2. Type and enter: sfc /scannow
  3. Wait for the scan to complete, then restart your device.
Method 7: Use DISM from the Command Prompt

Deployment Image Service and Management Tool (DISM) can repair Windows 10 images:

  1. Press Windows + R to open Run, then type “cmd” and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to launch Command Prompt as an admin.
  2. Type and enter:  -> Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup
    -> Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  3. Wait for the commands to finish running, then restart your computer.
Final Thoughts

If you encounter similar issues in the future, don’t hesitate to return to our guide and try other fixes. Reach out to Microsoft’s customer support team or consult an IT specialist if needed.

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