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Windows key "stuck" in Remote Desktop...

September 19th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

You think keeping up to date is a good idea, however, the last version of RDC now has an annoying bug. It seems if you use the Windows-L combination to lock your machine (in person), the next time you connect via Remote Desktop the system acts like the Windows key is stuck. I don't know if this happens 100% of the time, but this has been happening to me now consistently for over a week and I finally remembered to see if it is truly an issue or not.

Sure enough, tons of other people have complained, but there doesn't seem to be a permanent fix. There are a couple options - a "soft hack" method where you use the On-screen Keyboard and just click the Windows key on/off, a registry hack that will disable the Windows keys altogether, and quite possibly downgrading to the slightly older RDC version.

Here's some relevant threads. The OSK idea works simple enough; however it shouldn't be an issue no matter what, especially since the Windows key is not passed through RDC anyway.

Hopefully there will be a proper fix soon. I'd rather not have to disable keys or manually have to click buttons every time I connect via RDC...

Categories: Software
  1. amirhp /'L'\mir
    August 10th, 2008 at 07:18 | #1

    The best workaround that always works for me is:

    1. Close the RD window
    2. Open new RD but make sure the "Apply Windows key Combinations" is set to "On the remote computer"
    3. Now press the Ctrl+Alt+End and lock the computer
    4. Log in again and it should work.


  2. Raja
    September 15th, 2008 at 11:35 | #2

    Thanks for this , i was stuck with is for past two weeks. The work around suggested in the comments works for me too.

  3. Alan
    September 27th, 2008 at 10:47 | #3

    Hey, thanks for this workaround, I've experienced this problem with XP service pack 3 connecting to other XP machines as well as 2000 and 2003 servers, this appears to work around the weirdness.

    Hopefully a patch from MS is forthcoming, it's super annoying, and previous to discovering this workaround I had no choice but to log the remote session off and reconnect.

  4. JB
    November 12th, 2008 at 19:34 | #4

    Thank you. I faced this issue previously and tried the things mentioned in the given links. The workaround solved it easily.

  5. Mel K
    December 3rd, 2008 at 21:18 | #5

    Thanks for writing about this. What an annoying problem it was. I decided to disable my Windows key and made a reg file so that I could do this on every computer that I used. This was tested on XP SP2/SP3. Copy everything between ##### into text file and name it with a .reg extension. Then run it to import the setting to disable the Windows key. You can make another .reg file to enable the Windows key.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    ;DISABLE Windows key

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlKeyboard Layout]
    "Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,00,00,5B,E0,00,00,5C,E0,00,00,00,00

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    ;ENABLE Windows key

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlKeyboard Layout]
    "Scancode Map"=-

  6. george
    December 29th, 2008 at 13:14 | #6

    These are all worthless, did nothing to effect my problem. I tried everyone.

    I am running XP SP2 and Server 2008 Enterprise which is now unusable unless I go into the server closet.

  7. mike
    December 29th, 2008 at 13:25 | #7

    That's weird. I haven't been as anal about it lately but it seems that SP3 or another update (or RDC) has changed the behavior. Once in a blue moon now the Windows key seems stuck, but hitting my Windows key twice seems to fix it. I also stopped using control L to lock the machine and use ctl-alt-del. Seems pretty manageable now.

  8. albert
    March 4th, 2009 at 17:35 | #8

    After living with this super irritating RDP keyboard bug for 3-4 weeks, your workaround solved it. Thanks amirhp!

  9. Naveed Ahmed
    March 9th, 2009 at 22:31 | #9

    Thanx for the info it was really frustrating and was able to find this solution after a long search

  10. Hubert
    March 19th, 2009 at 01:58 | #10

    To release the lock try Ctrl + Shift + Alt + Windows Key combination.
    I tried with the above key combination, the key got released

  11. Michael
    March 23rd, 2009 at 22:19 | #11

    Wow, thanks! I ran into this the first time (and I usually lock my machine, a Windows 2008 server, with Win+L), with a Windows 7 client. Confused me quite a bit, but the workaround in the comments fixed it.

  12. lgs
    April 6th, 2009 at 17:34 | #12

    The simpliest solution:
    Open virtual keyboard, press win key several times to release it.
    I pressed win+e on virtual keyboard one time, and got problem solved.

  13. Ramana
    April 23rd, 2009 at 23:59 | #13

    Thanks a lot for the workaround. it worked.

  14. zip
    June 26th, 2009 at 07:03 | #14

    Thanks a bafrigginzillion. Tapping the Windows key twice did the trick for me. I had an issue where once an rdp session locked after the policy applied 15min mark, I would then be unable to unlock it without a reboot of my pc because my password has an "l" in it. Thanks again. I searched and searched for the fix and this is it.

  15. Alan
    August 7th, 2009 at 07:09 | #15

    I've had the same problem for weeks but seem to have it sorted,
    So far I've tried
    New keyboard
    Uninstall/reinstall keyboard
    Change memory
    Flash Bios
    USB and PS2 keyboards
    On screen keyboard has same fault
    I got so pissed off that I formatted and reinstalled a different copy of windows
    None of the above worked

    Now to my solution

    I got hold of an old Hewlett Packard key board that does not have the windows keys, plugged it in and guess what, the problem was still there.
    Then uninstall keyboard in device manager, let windows reboot with the old non windows key keyboard connected and The problem is gone.
    I will try a new keyboard later with the current driver. after the joy of being able to type freely again wears off lol

  16. mike
    August 7th, 2009 at 07:49 | #16

    Wow! I've had luck just hitting the Windows key a couple times in the RDP window until it stops acting like it's stuck, actually. My Windows clients and machines are up to date though, perhaps that helps.

  17. Alan
    August 7th, 2009 at 09:02 | #17

    Hi Mike
    I had everthing up to date as well, I even uninstalled all the windows updates I had back to before the problem started just in case it was one of them causing the problem.
    There seems to be a lot of reference to this fault when using RDP, I did ues RDP before I formatted, but the problem was there all the time, even when not in RDP, and still there after formatting and not using RDP.
    I shuold have checked the original driver windows was using for the old keyboard to see if it is the same one used for the keyboard without the windows key, i'll try that some wet Wednesday afternoon.

  18. Chris
    December 3rd, 2009 at 05:56 | #18

    I find that toggling full screen off and back on (Ctrl+Alt+Pause) works every time

  19. K
    January 11th, 2010 at 04:11 | #19

    Press CTRL + Windows button while in RDP window. Works for me!

  20. amrith
    June 21st, 2010 at 06:32 | #20

    just press Ctrl+Alt+End lock the remote computer and un lock it. it will work

  21. P Tester
    July 20th, 2010 at 03:09 | #21

    Hey thank you for this valuable information and comments ... I was struggling for some time to complete my work becuase of this....
    Thank you so much... I am so happy...

  22. Ernest Cole
    March 10th, 2015 at 10:45 | #22

    I had this same issue, drove me crazy for weeks, finally figure out it was an app I had installed to replace the Windows 8 start menu called "Classic Start", after uninstall it all was well again. I would have assume this was the same issue people were having with start menu 8 app. I haven't tried install the latest version of either, thanks.

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