Disable or turn off hotkeys under Windows XP



Since this is a simple tip I’m including it in the basics category. I ran across a pc with a Dell Multimedia Keyboard and they wanted to disable the hotkeys (sound mixer was always popping up because the key was in the way.) Anyway, on older systems, there would be a standalone program running to monitor the extra keys from the keyboard. (Calculator, email, web shortcut keys as well as sound control keys.)


Anyway, I did a quick look in the control panel (start, control panel, or start…settings, control panel depending on your setup.) The keyboard applet gave no hope. I started looking in Administrative Tools, services. This gives the opportunity to browse the programs that run when you boot up the machine.

The service that listens for the hotkeys was “HID input service”. When you select it on the list you can stop the service (left hand side of the window gives you a stop/start link). After stopping it I tested and indeed I could still type/mouse, but no hotkeys. Next, doubleclick the HID input service and to disable it from running each boot, look at the little drop down box in the middle of the property sheet that gives choices for “startup type”. The choices are Automatic, Manual and Disable and set the option to disable. Next click apply and ok and close out. Reboot if you like to test. If that doesn’t work then there is likely ANOTHER application listening for hotkey input. It’s likely one that came with your hardware.

I don’t know what other hardware this may affect. HID stands for Human Interface Device. Keyboards/Mice/Joysticks all can be considered HID devices.

Now if I just had an easy way to configure hotkey shortcut associations for the HID input service.

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