How to turn off Sticky Keys in Windows 10

Are you working on your computer, and Windows 10 suddenly decides to enable Sticky Keys? Or maybe you’re playing your favorite game, and Windows decides to minimize it and ask something about Sticky Keys? Does it do that each time you have to press the SHIFT key repeatedly? Are you wondering what Sticky Keys are and how to turn them off? Or you already know all that, and you’ve already turned off Sticky Keys, but Windows 10 keeps turning them on each time you start your computer or device? Read this tutorial and find out all the answers you seek:

What are Sticky Keys?

Are you wondering what Sticky Keys are? It is an accessibility feature of Windows 10 that is designed to help people who have difficulty holding down two or more keys simultaneously.

For example, to write an uppercase letter, you have to hold the SHIFT key simultaneously with the letter you want to type. If you have a disability that doesn’t let you do that, Sticky Keys can help. If you enable Sticky Keys, when you press modifier keys like CTRL, ALT, SHIFT, or the Windows logo, the key remains active until another key is pressed. Therefore, to type something like capital W, people with disabilities need to press SHIFT and then W, instead of SHIFT + W at the same time. Also, when you press these modifier keys, Windows beeps, so you know a modifier key was registered by Sticky Keys.

For people with disabilities, this feature can be highly useful. In contrast, for others, it can be annoying, especially for gamers who are taken out of their games just because they press the SHIFT key often.

Problem: Sticky Keys while gaming

You play a game where you need to press the SHIFT key often, like when riding your horse in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or when climbing walls in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. When you do that, Windows 10 minimizes your game and displays a Sticky Keys prompt, asking whether you want to turn on Sticky Keys. It then says that Sticky Keys lets you use the SHIFT, CTRL, ALT, or Windows Logo keys by pressing one key at a time.

The “Do you want to turn on Sticky Keys?” dialog window

When you are playing your game and Windows decides to exit the game and ask you about Sticky Keys, you immediately press No. The problem is that the next time you use the SHIFT key repeatedly, Windows takes you out of your game and asks you the same thing, AGAIN. It can quickly get on your nerves, so here’s how to fix this problem for good by turning off Sticky Keys permanently:

How to turn off Sticky Keys in Windows 10

To disable Sticky Keys in Windows 10, click or tap the link that says: “Disable this keyboard shortcut in Ease of Access keyboard settings” in the Sticky Keys prompt. If you don’t see it right now, try pressing one of the SHIFT keys five times in a row, and it shows up. This link opens the Settings app and takes you to the Keyboard options from Windows 10’s Ease of Access settings.

Disable this keyboard shortcut in Ease of Access keyboard settings

Alternatively, you can also open the Windows 10 Settings app, go to Ease of Access, and select Keyboard on the left side of the window.

The Keyboard settings from Windows 10’s Ease of Access

On the right side of the Settings window, scroll until you reach the “Use Sticky Keys” section. There, turn off the “Press one key at a time for keyboard shortcuts” switch and disable the “Allow the shortcut key to start Sticky Keys” option. The latter is the one that lets you “Press the Shift key five times to turn Sticky Keys on or off.”

Turning off Sticky Keys and the SHIFT key shortcut

NOTE: You might want to turn off Filter Keys also. As Microsoft explains it, Filter Keys “ignore brief or repeated keystrokes and change keyboard repeat rates.” While gaming, if you press and hold the right SHIFT key for 8 seconds or more, Windows 10 can interrupt you to ask whether you want to enable Filter Keys. If you don’t want that, turn off the Filter Keys switch and disable the “Allow for the shortcut key to start Filter Keys” option.

Turning off Filter Keys and the right SHIFT key shortcut

How to turn off Sticky Keys in Windows 10, from the Control Panel

The old Control Panel offers another way to disable Sticky Keys in Windows 10. Here’s how to do it:

Open the Control Panel, go to Ease of Access, and click or tap on “Change how your keyboard works” under Ease of Access Center.

Change how your keyboard works in Control Panel’s Ease of Access

In the “Make the keyboard easier to use” window, look for the “Make it easier to type” section and click or tap “Set up Sticky Keys.”

Set up Sticky Keys in Control Panel

Uncheck “Turn on Sticky Keys” and “Turn on Sticky Keys when SHIFT is pressed five times.” Then, click or tap on Apply.

Control Panel: Turning off Sticky Keys and the SHIFT key shortcut

NOTE: You might want to turn off Filter Keys also. If you press and hold the right SHIFT key for 8 seconds, Windows 10 asks you if you want to turn on the Filter Keys. Especially while gaming, you don’t want that. To disable Filter Keys, go back to the “Make the keyboard easier to use” in the Control Panel, and click or tap on “Set up Filter Keys.” Then, uncheck “Turn on Filter Keys” and “Turn on Filter Keys when right SHIFT is pressed for 8 seconds.”

Control Panel: Turning off Filter Keys and the right SHIFT key shortcut

Why did you want to turn off Sticky Keys?

Now you know how to turn off Sticky Keys permanently. This feature should no longer annoy you when working or playing games on your computer. We must admit that we were frustrated by Sticky Keys, especially when playing video games. The SHIFT key is often used in games for doing all kinds of stuff like climbing on walls, riding horses, or using special abilities. Because you’re pressing the SHIFT key repeatedly, Windows 10 often decides to minimize the game and ask about Sticky Keys, which can be extremely frustrating. What about you? Why did you choose to turn off Sticky Keys? Tell us your story in the comments below.