Operating Systems/Programming

Windows 8/10- Fixing False Key Presses


If I had a dollar for every time someone had me fix an issue regarding a ‘sticky’ or ‘phantom’ key problem, I would have enough money for my planned gaming rig. This issue is usually described as a key appearing to be continuously pressed in Windows, such as the Windows/Home key, all on its own. This problem can happen for numerous reasons, such as a faulty keyboard, bad driver, missing updates, malware, remote connections, and many others.

So, how can you fix this issue? I will provide a few methods.


Before you do anything, try restarting the computer to see if the problem still ensues.

Problem with your keyboard?

I would first attempt to see if the keyboard itself is the culprit; If the problem still occurs when the keyboard is disconnected, or reconnected, then the fault is not in your original keyboard.

Next, if available, connect a different keyboard and see if the issue still occurs. If the problem still transpires, then the fault is not in any of your keyboards and instead, is probably due to a faulty driver or update.

Removing all other devices from the computer

You can also try to disconnect all other peripherals from your computer (headsets, mics, speakers) and then restart it.


1. Uninstall the keyboard driver (Device Manager, expand ‘Keyboards,’ Uninstall Driver)
2. Reboot the computer (without reinstalling the driver)
3. When it restarts, it should reinstall the driver on its own

Accessibility Settings

Go to Accessibility Settings and make sure they’re all disabled. It used to be quite easy to accidentally turn on things like permanent shift lock by repeatedly pressing a key in previous versions of Windows.

Sticky Keys

Sticky Keys enables the user to enter key combinations by pressing keys in sequence rather than simultaneously; this can often cause issues for those who do not want Sticky Keys to be turned on.

To turn off Sticky Keys, open Ease of Access in the Control panel and click on Change How Your Keyboard Works, and deselect all options. You can also press the Shift button 5 times and uncheck Turn on Sticky Keys.

Safe Mode

Now if that stuff doesn’t fix it, then I would try starting up the computer in “Safe Mode.” If it loads and doesn’t have the same problem in “Safe Mode,” then you have something irregular on the device. If it works fine in “Safe Mode,” then you need to go back into normal mode (reboot) and run some good deep scans with some antivirus/malware programs.

How to enter “Safe Mode” when booting the computer.

In Windows 8 and 10

As your computer restarts, press F8 (possibly a few times) to enter “Safe Mode”

1. Press the “F4” key to Enable “Safe Mode”
(The computer will then start in “Safe Mode” with a minimal set of drivers and services)

2. Press the “F5” key to Enable “Safe Mode” with Networking
(Once “Safe Mode” with Networking starts, Windows is in Safe Mode, with additional network and services for accessing the Internet and other computers on your network)

3. Press the “F6” key to Enable “Safe Mode” with Command Prompt
(In “Safe Mode” with “Command Prompt” starts Windows in Safe Mode, with a Command Prompt window instead of the Windows interface; this option is mostly only used by IT professionals)

Now sign in to the computer with your account name and password. When you have finished troubleshooting, you can exit “Safe Mode” by restarting your computer

In Windows 7/Vista/XP

1. Immediately after turning on the computer, or restarting it (usually, after you hear your computer beep), tap the F8 key, repeatedly, in 1-second intervals

2. The computer will then display hardware information and run a memory test

3. Next, the “Advanced Boot Options” menu will appear

4. In the “Advanced Boot Options” menu use the arrow keys to select “Safe Mode” or “Safe Mode with Networking” and press ENTER


One final reason this issue might be occurring is the failure to install updates on your computer; more often than not, these updates contain critical fixes to many problems such as a ‘sticky’ or ‘phantom’ key being pressed.

To check for and download updates, just navigate to Settings, then select Update and Security>Windows Update, and then Check for Updates.


Hopefully, you have fixed the issue by using one of these methods. I know how irritating this issue can be, as well as the ways to fix it. However, this is an excellent quick fix that can showcase your abilities as a tech professional by solving your boss’s keyboard problem before he smashes it into the wall. Good luck!


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