How to Fix Windows Key Not Working on Windows 11

When it comes to using Windows OS on a desktop or laptop, we mostly use the Windows key to open the Start menu option and search for programs or files/folders. Meanwhile, the Windows key also plays a major role with keyboard shortcuts to open the Settings menu, Windows widget panel, context menu, Game Bar, and so on. But if the Windows key not working or stops working on your Windows 11 PC then your work experience might be affected a lot.

Although accessing some common functions can be done by clicking on the Start menu using your mouse or directly going into the specific program or functionality that can do the job for you, it’s not useful enough in quick working scenarios or shortcut combinations. In that case, you can follow this troubleshooting guide completely to easily resolve such an issue. Here we’ve shared a couple of possible workarounds for you that should come in handy.

How to Fix Windows Key Not Working on Windows 11

How to Fix Windows Key Not Working on Windows 11

There are some common reasons can be found that can easily prevent the Windows key from working on Win11 which may vary from one PC to another PC. While some PCs may have hardware-related issues, others can be related to software or directly keyboard-related issues in most cases. Some reports also suggest that the Windows key can be disabled, Windows Game Mode is enabled, the specific Win key is damaged, or the keyboard driver has issues.

1. Reboot the PC

The first thing you should always do is simply restart the computer to refresh the system. Sometimes a temporary system glitch or cache data issue can trigger a keyboard not working problem, especially after an update or just after closing a resource-heavy program. As it takes a couple of seconds to perform, we’ll recommend you restart the system before jumping to any other conclusion.

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2. Reconnect the Keyboard (External)

Make sure to disconnect the external keyboard cable/dongle from your PC and then properly reconnect it again to ensure there is no issue with the connectivity at all. This is also a pretty common thing to do but most keyboard-related problems can be fixed quite easily by reconnecting the device. If in case, you’re using the Bluetooth dongle to use your wireless keyboard then you should definitely try it out without a second thought.

3. Check for Windows Updates

It’s highly recommended to check for Windows Updates on your computer for the latest available system version because an outdated Windows build can cause plenty of connectivity and stability issues whatsoever. Make sure to follow the steps below to check for an update and install it, if available.

  • Click on the Start menu and open Windows Settings.
  • Click on Windows Update > Click on Check for updates.
  • If there is an update available, make sure to Download and Install it.
  • The software update installation process may take some time and you’ll have to reboot your computer to apply changes.
  • Once done, make sure to check for the issue again.

4. Check for Optional Updates on Windows

We’ll suggest you always check for optional updates on your Windows 11 system to ensure there is no additional driver or software update is available for your computer that basically doesn’t appear in the Windows Update section. In that scenario, most of the users don’t even notice it. It’s needless to say that if there is an update available for your connected mouse or keyboard or even the system that will eventually bring bug fixes and improve stability.

Well, those optional updates can be found in a separate section that you can follow as mentioned below.

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  • Click on the Start menu and open Windows Settings.
  • Click on Windows Update > Click on Advanced options.
  • Now, head over to Optional updates (under Additional options) > Click on Driver updates to expand the list.

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  • If there is an update available for any drivers or applications, simply select the necessary ones.
  • Finally, click on Download & install then wait for the update process to be completed.
  • Once done, make sure to reboot your PC to apply changes.

5. Update the Keyboard Driver

If in case, you’re not sure whether your keyboard driver is running on the latest version or not, make sure to follow the steps below to easily check for available updates of your keyboard driver on Windows 11. If there is an update available, simply install it to run the keyboard and all of its key combinations smoothly. To do this:

  • Right-click on the Start Menu to open up the Quick Access Menu.
  • Click on Device Manager from the list.
  • Now, double-click on the Keyboards section to expand the list.
  • Then right-click on the specific/active keyboard device name.

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  • Select Update driver > Choose Search automatically for drivers.
  • If there is an update available, it’ll automatically download and install the latest version.
  • Once done, make sure to reboot your computer to change the effects.

6. Disable Windows Game Mode

Windows Game Mode basically ensures the smooth gameplay experience from startup to gaming sessions by allocating required system resources for the game. However, this specific functionality disables the Windows key so that users don’t press the key by mistake and lose the game progress. To disable Windows Game Mode on Windows 11:

  • Click on the Start menu > Go to Windows Settings.
  • Click on the ‘Gaming’ option from the left pane > Go to Game Mode.
  • Now, turn off the ‘Game Mode’ toggle to disable it.

Once you’ve disabled the particular option, try pressing the Windows key to check if the Start menu appears or not.

7. Run Keyboard Troubleshooter

If the connected keyboard is still troubling you a lot then make sure to run the keyboard troubleshooter method by following the steps below. It’ll ensure there is no detectable connectivity or driver-related issue appearing on your keyboard. To do this:

  • Click on the Windows icon to open the Start menu.
  • Now, click on Settings > Under the ‘System’ section, go to Troubleshoot.
  • Click on Other Troubleshooters > Search for Keyboard and click on Run next to it.
  • Next, wait for the troubleshooting process to be completed.
  • Once done, you can close the settings menu, and reboot the PC to apply changes.

8. Turn Off Filter Keys, Sticky Keys, and Toggle Keys

Sometimes issues with the filter keys, sticky keys, and toggle keys can trouble you a lot in terms of keyboard working or specific functionality working. It’s better to simply disable all three optional keys from the settings menu by following the steps below:

  • Click on the Windows Settings menu (cogwheel icon) from the Start menu.
  • Now, go to Accessibility > Click on Keyboard.

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  • Make sure to turn off all the Filter KeysSticky Keys, and Toggle Keys one by one.
  • Restart the computer to apply changes and check for the issue again.

9. Enable Windows Key in Registry Editor

By using the Registry Editor option on your Windows computer, you’ll be able to restrict the functioning of various functionalities on the system. You can follow the steps below to easily change or modify the keys on your keyboard. To do so:

  • Click on the Windows icon to open the Start menu > Type and search for Registry Editor.
  • Open Registry Editor > Now, navigate to the following address by simply copy-pasting it in the address bar of Registry Editor and press ENTER.

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout

  • In the ‘Keyboard Layout’ folder, you’ll find the ‘ScanCode Map’ registry file.
  • Just right-click on it and select ‘Delete’ from the context menu.
  • Click on ‘Yes’ on the confirmation box.
  • Once done, close the Registry Editor window, and reboot the system to apply changes.

10. Enable Start Menu in Registry Editor

If in case, you’re only able to use the Windows key for the keyboard shortcuts except for accessing the ‘Start Menu’ then you should enable the Start Menu option in Registry Editor manually. To do this:

  • Click on the Windows icon to open the Start menu > Type and search for Registry Editor.
  • Open Registry Editor > Now, navigate to the following address by simply copy-pasting it in the address bar of Registry Editor and press ENTER.

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

  • Now, right-click on the blank area, and head over the mouse cursor to ‘New’.
  • Select ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value’ from the context menu > Enter the name of the ‘EnableXamlStartMenu’.
  • Once the key is created, close the registry editor window, and restart the computer to apply changes.
  • Finally, press the Windows key on the keyboard to check whether it opens up the ‘Start Menu’ or not.

11. Use Windows PowerShell to Re-Register all Programs

Sometimes some apps or programs may start conflicting with the Windows system settings which need to be fixed. Otherwise, these issues may cause conflicts with the Windows key to work properly. So, re-registering all programs via Registry Editor will come in handy. To do so:

  • Click on the Windows icon to open the Start menu > Type and search for ‘Windows PowerShell’.
  • Now, right-click on PowerShell, and select ‘Run as administrator’ to launch the app. [If you see a prompt by UAC, click on ‘Yes’ to proceed]
  • Once the Windows PowerShell window opens up, you’ll need to enter the following command & hit ENTER:

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

  • After executing the command script, make sure to restart the computer to check for the Windows key not working on Windows 11 issue.

12. Run Full System Scan via Antivirus Software

The chances are also high that your system files or installed programs have come across the virus files or any kind of malware attack which is literally conflicting the Windows key from running properly on the Win11 system. It’s recommended to run a full system scan via the Windows antivirus protection software by following the steps below.

  • Click on the Windows icon to open the Start menu > Type and search for ‘Windows Security’.
  • Now, open the security program from the search result > Click on Virus & threat protection.
  • Then click on ‘Scan options’ > Select ‘Full scan’ from the list of options.
  • Next, click on the ‘Scan now’ button to start checking for malware or virus-affected issues.
  • Well, this process may take hours depending on the storage size on your computer. So, have some patience until the scanning process gets completed. It’ll also try automatically fixing potential issues or notify you to take action straight away if anything is found malicious or dangerous on the system.
  • Finally, reboot the PC to apply changes, and check for the issue again.

13. Restart the Windows/File Explorer

If you’re encountering the same Windows key not working on your Windows 11 computer then you can also try restarting the Windows Explorer (File Explorer) might gonna help you out. So, try rebooting the ‘explorer.exe’ process from Task Manager to do so.

  • Press the CTRL+SHIFT+ESC keys on the keyboard to open ‘Task Manager’.
  • Now, go to the ‘Details’ tab > Locate the ‘explorer.exe’ process from the list.
  • Make sure to right-click on it and select ‘End task’ from the context menu.
  • Next, click on ‘End process’ on the confirmation box.
  • Once the process is closed, the screen will go black for a while, you won’t be able to view the taskbar. Don’t panic because it’s quite common.
  • Press the CTRL+SHIFT+ESC keys again to launch ‘Task Manager’.
  • Then click on ‘File Menu’ at the top-right corner and select ‘Run new task’.
  • In the ‘Create new task’ box, make sure to input explorer.exe. in the field and click on ‘OK’.
  • Once the Windows Explorer process comes back again, check the Windows key whether it’s working or not.

14. Reinstall the Keyboard Driver

Try uninstalling and reinstalling the active keyboard driver on your Windows 11 system to ensure there is no problem with the keyboard driver that’s installed on the computer. To do so:

  • Right-click on the Start Menu to open up the Quick Access Menu.
  • Click on Device Manager from the list.
  • Now, double-click on the Keyboards section to expand the list.
  • Then right-click on the specific/active keyboard device name.

  • Select Uninstall > Click on Uninstall again to proceed.
  • Wait for the keyboard driver to be uninstalled completely.
  • Once done, make sure to reboot your computer to change the effects.
  • After restarting the computer, make sure to disconnect & reconnect the keyboard so that the Windows 11 system can automatically detect and install the missing generic keyboard driver.

Moreover, if you want to install the latest version of your specific keyboard driver then head over to the manufacturer’s website and get the version of your keyboard model.

15. Run an SFC Scan

SFC or System File Checker tool is useful enough to find out whether any program file or a disk drive has some issues or not on a Windows system. If there is an issue, you can try manually fixing it by following the steps below. To do this:

  • Click on the Start Menu and type cmd.
  • Now, right-click on Command Prompt from the search result.
  • Select Run as administrator > If prompted, click on Yes to give admin privileges.
  • Once the command prompt window opens, type the following command and hit Enter to execute it: [There is a space before /]
sfc /scannow

  • Now, wait for the process to complete. Depending on the disk size and problematic data, it may take some time.
  • Once done, you can note down the detected issues to search for solutions. Make sure to restart your computer to change effects immediately.

16. Run the DISM Tool

Try using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command on your Windows PC to fix several issues with corrupted or missing files. DISM is a command-line tool that can be used to mount and service Windows images before deployment. To do so:

  • Click on the Start Menu and type cmd.
  • Now, right-click on Command Prompt from the search result.
  • Select Run as administrator > If prompted, click on Yes to give admin privileges.
  • Once the command prompt window opens, type the following command and hit Enter to execute it:
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
  • Then type the following command and hit Enter:
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
  • Then type the following command and press Enter:
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  • Now, wait for the process to complete and exit the command prompt.
  • Finally, restart your computer to apply changes.

17. Boot into Safe Mode

Some of the apps and their services may start automatically while booting the system right away. In that case, those apps or services will definitely gonna use a lot of internet connection as well as system resources. If you’re also feeling the same, make sure to perform a clean boot on your computer to check for the issue. To do that:

  • Press Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  • Now, type msconfig and hit Enter to open System Configuration.
  • Go to the Services tab > Enable the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox.

  • Click on Disable all > Click on Apply and then OK to save changes.
  • Now, click on the Boot tab > Make sure to select the particular OS drive where you’ve installed Windows 11 OS.
  • Then click on the Safe boot checkbox to mark it > Click on Apply and click on OK.
  • You’ll be prompted to reboot your computer > Accept the prompt and the PC will automatically reboot into Safe Mode. [Most of the advanced features and third-party access will be disabled in Safe Mode to cross-check if a problem appears due to a third-party app or something else]

Note: Once the problem has been recognized and fixed, make sure to undo the Safe boot changes by following the same steps above, uncheck the Safe boot option then apply changes.

18. Try Using Another Keyboard

If none of the methods worked for you that means your current keyboard has some hardware-related issue or the Windows key is specifically becomes damaged. In that scenario, it’s recommended to use a different keyboard with your Windows 11 computer to cross-check if the Windows key is still not working on Windows 11 or not. We hope that after using another keyboard, the Windows key will work seamlessly.

That’s it, guys. We assume this guide was helpful to you. For further queries, you can comment below.

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