How to deactivate the Windows key on your keyboard

The Windows key is used to activate the Windows Start menu: here's why and why you should deactivate it

It debuted on August 24, 1995, along with the Windows 95 operating system, and since then it has never gone away from our keyboards: it is the so-called "Windows key", recognizable by the flag-shaped icon that at the time was also the Microsoft logo.

It is a very useful key, which has been enriched with features over the years and with the arrival of new versions of Microsoft's operating system, and is still present on all new keyboards. It is used to open the Start menu or, in combination with other keys, to launch numerous keyboard shortcuts. Yet, despite its versatility, few use it and many can't stand it. The reason is simple: if you accidentally press it, the Start menu opens. Here, then, is how to disable the Windows key if you really can't stand it.

How to disable the Windows key from the registry

Unfortunately, there is no specific setting in the control panel to disable the Windows key: we will have to act directly on the registry. Something that, we always repeat, is very dangerous: do not touch anything other than what we are about to describe. To open the registry, just look in the search box for "Regedit" and launch the suggested app. Once inside the registry we'll have to position ourselves on the key HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer and right-click in the right column of the registry editor window. Then we have to add a new DWORD (32-bit) key and name it "NoWinKeys". At this point we have to open this new key with a double click and assign it a value of 1. That's it, now we can save the registry and restart the operating system: the Windows key will stop working.

How to disable the Windows key from the Group Policy Editor

If we have a Pro edition of Windows 10 we'll have to act, instead of the registry, from the Local Group Policy Editor (let's look for it in Cortana's search box, or type "gpedit", and choose the suggested app). The same suggestion applies to the Local Group Policy Editor: don't touch anything other than what is suggested, or there will be trouble. With the editor open let's go to User ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsFile Explorer and clicking on "File Explorer" we'll scroll through the list of items until we find "Turn off Windows Key hotkeys". Double click on it and then select the button to activate the item. At this point save everything and restart: the Windows key will stop working.