How to Turn off Sticky Keys on Windows

Disable this keyboard feature many find annoying in Windows 10, 8, and 7

A man typing quickly on a keyboard

Saul Loeb/Getty Images 

If your computer is performing commands you didn't want it to, like punctuating words in the middle of sentences, it may be due to sticky keys, a system where instead of holding down a key to perform a command, you tap it and it remains pressed until you press another key. Here's how to turn off sticky keys, and why they might be enabled.

The instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

What Are Sticky Keys?

Every keyboard has what are called “modifier” keys, keys that change the function of a letter key. The most commonly used one is Shift, which changes lowercase letters to uppercase.

Depending on the programs you use on your computer, you can also use Ctrl, Alt, the Windows key on Windows devices, and the Command key on Macs.

The Sticky Keys alert in Windows 10

Sticky keys were created to assist people with disabilities or who suffer from repetitive stress injuries. Instead of holding down a key, you can tap it and it will stay “down” until you press a button. In Windows 7, 8, or 10, you can try this out by pressing the Shift key five times. A box will pop up asking you if you want to enable sticky keys. Afterwards, you can try typing something and you'll see it in action.

Sticky keys can be very useful if you don't like holding down a key for long periods of time. If you're not a touch-typist, in particular, or if you're learning how to use software that makes heavy use of modifier keys, it can be useful while you track down which key you want to press. Otherwise, they're probably not worth leaving on.

How to Turn off Sticky Keys on Windows 10

The simplest way to turn sticky keys on and off in Windows 10 is the above technique. If you press Shift five times with sticky keys enabled, it will shut it off. You can also press any two keys simultaneously, and that will disable it.

If the above doesn't work, or you want to turn off this shortcut in Settings, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows Key or select the Windows icon in the lower left-hand corner and select Settings, represented with a "gear" icon.

    The Start Menu in Windows 10
  2. Select Ease of Access > Keyboard

    The main Settings menu in Windows 10

    You can also reach this menu by pressing Win+U.

  3. Scroll down and select the Sticky Keys toggle to set it to off. You can also disable the shortcut here.

    The Keyboard submenu in Windows 10
    Lifewire 
  4. Scroll down to Make It Easier To Type. Make sure both the warning message and make a sound options are enabled, so you won't turn sticky keys on by accident.

How to Turn off Sticky Keys on Windows 7 and 8

Windows 7 and 8 also uses the press Shift 5 times shortcut to enable and disable Sticky Keys. Pressing two keys at the same time will also disable it. To disable or enable it in the Settings:

  1. Select Ease of Access > Make the Keyboard Easier To Use

    In Windows 8, you can also do Win+U if your keyboard has a Windows key.

  2. Scroll down to Make it Easier To Type and check or uncheck Turn on Sticky Keys. Then select Apply.