You may at one time or another during the normal course of operating your computer notice that one or more keyboard keys are not working on your Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC. This post offers the solutions if the Esc key is not working on your Windows 11/10 computer.
Esc key not working in Windows PC
If the Esc key is not working on your Windows 11/10 computer, you can try our recommended solutions below in no particular order and see if that helps to resolve the issue. These are pretty much general troubleshooting/fixes for issues with one or more keyboard keys.
- Remap Esc key
- Run Keyboard Troubleshooter
- Update keyboard drivers
- Uninstall recently downloaded software
- Turn off Filter Keys
- Reset keyboard settings
- Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter
- Replace Keyboard
Let’s take a look at the description of the process involved concerning each of the listed solutions.
Before you try the solutions below, check the Esc key physically to make sure it’s not broken or dislodged from its position. Also, clean the keyboard using a brush or vacuum blow the keyboard especially the Esc key area to remove any particle that’s preventing the key from making contact with the panel beneath. In addition, you can connect an external keyboard or use the inbuilt on-screen keyboard to check if the Esc key is working fine. You can also try to connect your keyboard to another computer to check if it is working or not.
1] Remap Esc key
To fix the Esc key not working on your Windows 11/10 computer, you can simply remap the Esc key. If you have a full-size keyboard, you can map the key to any of the key that appear twice on the keyboard, like the Alt key and Shift key. You can choose any other key if you want.
To remap the Esc key, follow the instructions in the guide how to map Menu Key on keyboard on Windows 11/10 using PowerToys.
However, keep in mind that to avoid accidental closure of apps and services, many device manufacturers have decided to change the pattern to use Esc key to offer better user experience. On the latest devices, pressing Shift + Esc combo will perform the same task as pressing only the Esc key.
2] Run Keyboard Troubleshooter
This solution requires you to run the Keyboard Troubleshooter on your computer and see if that helps.
To run the Keyboard Troubleshooter on your Windows 11 computer, do the following:
- Press Windows key + I to open Settings app.
- Navigate to System > Troubleshoot > Other troubleshooters.
- Under the Other section, find Keyboard.
- Click Run button.
To run the Keyboard Troubleshooter on your Windows 10 PC, do the following:
- Press Windows key + I to open Settings app.
- Go to Update and Security.
- Click the Troubleshooter tab.
- Scroll down and click on Keyboard.
- Click the Run the troubleshooter button.
- Follow on-screen instructions and apply any recommended fixes.
After running the troubleshooter, check if the Esc key is now working. Otherwise, try the next solution.
3] Update keyboard drivers
Faulty or outdated keyboard drivers may cause the issue in hand. You can either update your drivers manually via the Device Manager, or you can get the driver updates on the Optional Updates section under Windows Update. You may also download the latest version of the driver from the manufacturer’s website.
However, if the latest drivers are installed, you can rollback the driver or download and install an earlier version of the drivers and see if that helps. Else, try the next solution.
4] Uninstall recently downloaded software
If you noticed this issue after you have installed a specific program (especially system customization/tweaker utility) on your Windows 11/10 PC, then to resolve the issue, you should uninstall the incompatible app (preferably, use third-party software uninstaller).
Similarly, if the issue started after a Windows update, you can uninstall the update or perform System Restore.
5] Turn off Filter Keys
This solution requires you to turn off Filter Keys on your Windows 11/10 device and see if that helps.
6] Reset keyboard settings
A viable solution is to reset keyboard settings back to default. If this didn’t help, you can try the next solution.
7] Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter
If the issue in hand is not faulty keyboard hardware itself, running the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter may fix the issue. If it doesn’t, you can try the next solution.
Related: Media Keys not working.
8] Replace Keyboard
At this point if you have exhausted all the suggestions and solutions but the issue is still unresolved, then it’s likely the keyboard is having hardware issues. In this case, your only option is to have a PC hardware technician fix the keyboard or you can simply replace the keyboard with an external or internal keyboard as the case may be.
Hope this helps!
Some of the other keyboard key issues you may encounter on your Windows desktop or laptop computer could be any of the following:
- Pressing Esc key opens Start menu
- Shift Key not working
- Function (Fn) keys not working
- Keyboard shortcuts and Hotkeys are not working.
Why is my Esc button not working?
There could be a number of reasons why the Esc button is not working on your Windows 11/10 PC. But a simple fix to the issue is by pressing the Shift and Escape keys. When the Esc key is not working, you can try pressing the key combination Shift + Esc to close the app. For instance, you need to press Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager of Chrome instead of Esc.
- Backlit keyboard not working
- Windows key + Space bar combination not working
- Number or Numeric Lock is not working
How do I reset my Esc key?
To reset the Esc key on a Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro, do the following:
- Open System Preferences.
- Click on Keyboard.
- Click on the Keyboard tab at the top if not already in that view.
- Click the Modifier Keys button.
- Select the Caps Lock, Control, Option or Command key to act as the Escape key.
- Click OK.
- Win+Shift+S keyboard shortcut is not working
- Windows key or WinKey not working
- Microsoft Surface Brightness keys are not working.
How can I test if my keyboard keys are working?
PC users can test if the keyboard keys are working on your system by testing if the On-Screen Keyboard is workable. To do this, follow these instructions:
- While on the Log in Screen, click the Ease of access logo.
- Check the Type without the keyboard (On-Screen Keyboard) option.
- Now, you can use your mouse cursor to click and check that all keys are working fine with the On-screen keyboard.
Why is my Esc key working as my Windows key?
If you are experiencing the issue whereby on your Windows 11/10 device, the Esc key is working as the Windows key, it’s likely the Ctrl key on your keyboard is stuck down – as the Ctrl+Esc keys combo will open the start menu. To fix the issue, press this button several times to dislodge any particle, dirt or dust. If you are sure the keyboard is not faulty, you may have sticky keys enabled.