Enable Num Lock on startup or reboot in Windows 8 / 7

A relatively common issue being faced by some Windows users, is finding that their Numeral Lock key or Num Lock is not enabled, is turned off or inactive on startup or reboot in Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8. I researched about this issue a bit and found these two possible solutions for the problem. One is a registry fix which may work in Windows 7 | 8 and the other is by disabling Fast Startup in Windows 8.

Num Lock not working on startup

For those who do not know what Fast Startup is, here is a little description. The feature is called Hybrid Shutdown.  Windows 8 does this by shutting down, as far as closing the user sessions – but at that point, instead of continuing and ending system services, and shutting down Session 0, Windows then hibernates. This is called Hybrid Shutdown. How this works is that, Windows sends out a message to running applications, giving them a chance to save data and settings. Applications can also request a little extra time to finish what they’re doing. Then Windows closes the user sessions for each logged-on user, and then it Hibernates the Windows session.  Here is a little pictorial explanation.

0640.Relative time needed for different phases of startup 3FCAB3EF thumb Enable Num Lock on startup or reboot in Windows 8 / 7

I’m not sure how disabling Fast Startup affects Num Lock, but on systems facing this issue, disabling fast Startup did help.

Enable Num Lock on startup

Here are two ways you can do it.

Disable Fast Startup, to enable Num Lock

  • Press Win + X and click on Control Panel
  • Click on Power Plan
  • Now click on Choose what the power buttons do on the left side panel

image thumb4 Enable Num Lock on startup or reboot in Windows 8 / 7

  • Now select Change settings that are currently unavailable

image thumb5 Enable Num Lock on startup or reboot in Windows 8 / 7

  • Scroll down and uncheck Turn on fast startup (recommended)

image thumb6 Enable Num Lock on startup or reboot in Windows 8 / 7

That’s it. Now after shutting down and reboot your NumLock should retain the last configuration.

Enable Num Lock on startup using registry tweak

The second method is to alter the registry settings and so, Windows 7 and Windows 8 users can try this. I would strongly recommended taking a backup of the registry and/or create a system restore point first. Having done that, follow these steps:

  • Press Win + R and type in Regedit
  • Navigate to registry key HKEY_USERS\Default\Control Panel\Keyboard
  • Right click on the “InitialKeyboardIndicators”, select Modify and change Value data to 2.
  • Exit Registry.

Note: If you see the default value data as 2147483648; that is fine too and is the default on most installations.

I hope you find this helpful.

UPDATE: Please also read Ken’s comment below.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Shyam aka “Captain Jack” is a Microsoft MVP alumnus and a Windows Enthusiast with an interest in Advanced Windows troubleshooting. Suggestions made and opinions expressed by him here are his personal one's and not of his current employers. He blogs at captaindbg.com.
  • http://www.bigsavings.in

    thanks for this information. both the methods are easy to try. good work.

  • Brian Thomas

    Tried both. Neither worked.HP Pavilion g7.

  • Ken Nichols

    I just got off a chat session with HP Support – I’d reported the NUMLOCK off problem (off at start and restart). My original HKEY_USERSDefaultControl PanelKeyboardInitialKeyboardIndicators value was “2147483648” (Windows 8.1, 64 bit)

    HP Support had me change that value to “2147483650” – and it worked. My NUMLOCK is now ON at start/restart. Problem resolved.

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    Thanks a lot for sharing this here, Ken. :)

  • Jesse Guthrie

    Before you sign-in to windows, turn NumLock on by pushing the “NumLock” button then reboot from the sign-in screen. :-) On a laptop I guess you have the push the FN + NumLock keys.

  • fish

    thanks, the regedit method got changed back for me. I hope the fast startup change stays set.

  • TomasSVK

    If this doesnt work try to search the registry for InitialKeyboardIndicators and set the value to 2 in each registry key. Dont forget to turn off the fast startup. Tested on Lenovo Y510P

  • Ron

    Brilliant! That did the trick for me.

  • Gorkin

    None of those work for me on Lenovo P500

  • bubba

    Does anybody know the difference between setting the value to 2 and setting it to 2147483650?
    Please explain the difference.
    Mine was set to 2147483648 prior, on my my Toshiba C55.

  • Noxy

    Nice one, Ken. Thanks for your sharing here :)

  • Who Cares

    It appears the “InitialKeyboardIndicators” registry key is a bit field. Each bit apparently enables or disables an option. The number 2147483640 in hex is 0x80000000 and simply adding 2 or 0x00000002 equal 0x80000002 hex or 2147483650 decimal. Though I have no idea what option the 0x80000000 bit controls.

  • AirMutt

    Thanks Ken, finally a fix that works. Just follow Kens instructions that’s it. Worked for me on four different windows 8 computers

  • Edie Barker Rountree

    the “disable startup button” thing didnt not work for us, we are on a new HP Pavilion desk tower 8.1 windows [which sucks] BUT the HKEY thing did work for us using the vale of 2, the numbers key stayed on yeah, lol who knew such a small key would cause so much headache lol. Thanks for the info!!

  • madskibum

    the hp help I had were not that smart. thanks for the notes here as it was perfect.

  • Brian O’Dowd

    Neither the registry fix in the post, nor Ken’s fix that seems to magically work for everyone isn’t working for me. My registry already had “2” for the InitialKeyboardIndicators value so I change it to 2147483650 like Ken said and the problem persists, plus when I open regedit after making the change, it has changed back to 2. I’m running an ASUS laptop with Windows 8.1 :(

  • Rickerson

    Hey Gorkin, Did you ever find a solution? I have a P500 and nothing recommended works. Thanks for any response.

  • BMAN3

    I changed what Ken suggested, but NumLock would go off when I turned off the laptop. But turning off fast startup kept the NumLock on along with Ken’s suggestion. Thanks everyone. HP Laptop #17-E148ca.

  • Ken Jorgensen

    For any HP users that have Windows 8.1 I have a pavilion 21 and this worked perfect for me also no problems at all. Very simple also.

  • Joseph Johnson IV

    Make sure you’re in the correct path, when I initially searched for the key I found the same key in a different location with the value 2. Go to HKEY_USERS > Default > Control Panel > Keyboard > InitialKeyboardIndicators. By doing it manually I found the key that had the value 2147483648 and changed it.

  • daniel S

    Yeah, mine is set up to the default value indicated above but when it restarts and when it comes on after hibernating the num lock is still off.

  • John T.

    Changing the registry value didn’t do it for me, but this worked. Thanks!

  • jesseinsf

    at the windows sign in screen turn on NumLock then reboot without signing in…. It should be fixed.

  • NLJ235

    Thanks a lot! This works like a charm! Appreciated!

  • Concerned_Citizen

    Did not work for me. I checked all occurrences of InitialKeyboardIndicators and found all was either 2 or 2147483648. Logging on to a Microsoft account with Windows 8.1, I always have to use the numlock key, while this only takes a second or so, it is bothersome.

  • Kate

    Worked for my HP windows 8 laptop. Thanks very much for posting Ken

  • Frogging

    I was told to change the 48 to 50 and remove the check mark by quick boot up. I did this and my numlock works and my USB mouse works all at start up.

  • http://comeshopwith.us Frogging

    Ken I have the Dell Inspiron 15R the changing 2147483648 to 2147483650 alone did not work. I had to also uncheck turn on fast startup now it all works good. I also suggest you set a restore point before doing this and if it works do on after also. I can not stress RESTORE POINTS enough. Use them.

  • OAPCruiser

    Changing the Registry key to 2147483650 worked for me using 64 bit Windows 8.1 on my Dell laptop

  • Carrie

    Thank you so much, and you too Ken! I was so frustrated with my new laptop – I couldn’t find the setting anywhere.

  • http://bob3160.blogspot.com/ Norbert Gostischa

    This also worked on a Dell Inspiron 17 5000 Series. Thanks

  • Tony Woods

    Hi Ken – don’t know you but thanks for your input my number lock now stays on.
    Many Thanks

  • seanosaurus

    Just letting those of you who use this tutorial, setting this value to 2 means that NumLock will always be on when starting, regardless of the most recent state prior to boot/reboot, where as value 2147483650 as stated by Ken Nichols will set it to ‘remember’ previous state.

  • seanosaurus

    To add a little more information to this article (I know I’m bringing up a dead discussion) These are the values to put in regards to how you want it to boot:

    For Single Key, use these values:
    0 – All Keys off
    1 – Caps Lock on
    2 – Num Lock on
    4 – Scroll Lock on

    For multiple keys, add their values:
    3 – Caps Lock and Num Lock on
    5 – Caps Lock and Scroll Lock on
    6 – Num Lock and Scroll Lock on
    7 – Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock on

    credit: http://www.onecomputerguy.com/windowsxp_tips.htm#keyboard_indicators

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