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Media Keys Not Working? Here’s How to Fix Them on Windows 10

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Media keys on a keyboard are a quick way to access what you need, but sometimes they refuse to work. However. you don’t buy a new keyboard just yet.

closeup of hands typing on a keyboard

There’s no denying that media keys make your life easier. You can adjust the volume, pause, play, or select a track without having to access the app’s menu or search for the tab. However, the media keys could stop suddenly working, even if the rest of your keyboard works just fine.

If this has happened to you, don’t fret. Here’s how to get the media keys on your keyboard working once more.

1. Make Sure It’s Not a Hardware Issue

Before blaming a driver, a system update, or a recently installed app, let’s make sure you are not dealing with a hardware malfunction.

Start by slowly pressing your media keys and pay attention to any unusual sound or movement made by the keys. If you haven’t cleaned your keyboard in a while, there’s a chance it accumulated enough dust to stop it from working properly.

If you are using an external keyboard, try using a different USB port or connect the keyboard to another computer. If the problem persists, you should take a look at your system settings. Also, for a Bluetooth keyboard, check its batteries or move the keyboard closer as you might not be in range.

If you’ve tried these quick fixes, and your media keys are still not working, you’ll have to try a few more complicated solutions.

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2. Reset the Keyboard Layout

If media keys are not working on your Windows 10 computer, you should take a look at the keyboard layout. There’s a chance you accidentally changed your preferred language or a third-party app made the change for you.

However, there is no need to fret as you can easily fix it.

  1. Use the Win + I keyboard shortcut to launch Settings.
  2. Click Time & Language > Language.
  3. Head to Preferred Languages and check if the right language is at the top of the list. If not, use the Move up button to rearrange it.
  4. If you only have one language added to the list, add a new language and temporarily place it on top of the list.
  5. Move your preferred language on top.


Preferred language settings in Windows 10

Additionally, select your preferred language and click Options. Then, check the Keyboards section and check if US QWERTY is selected. Or use the Add a keyboard button to select a new setting.

Related: How to Create a Custom Keyboard Layout on Windows

3. Update the Keyboard Driver

An outdated keyboard driver could stop the media keys from working. While Windows automatically installs any available updates, you can also install them manually.

  1. Right-click Start and select Device Manager.
  2. Extend the Keyboards menu.
  3. Right-click your keyboard and select Update driver.
Keyboard driver in Windows 10.

4. Run the Keyboard Troubleshooter

Windows has a lot of tools that you can use to fix multiple issues on your computer. So if your media keys stopped working, running the keyboard troubleshooter could fix the problem.

While you can access the troubleshooters through Control Panel, it’s easier to do it from Settings. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Right-click Start > Settings.
  2. Go to Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters.
  3. From Find and fix other problems, select Keyboard and click Run the troubleshooter.
Running the keyboard troubleshooter in Windows 10.

5. Check Windows Services

Windows has several services running in the background and taking care of your keyboard functionality. So if you are experiencing keyboard issues, it might be worth it to take a look at these services.

  1. In the Start menu search bar, search for services and select Run as administrator.
  2. In the Services window, locate and open Human Interface Device Service.
  3. Check its status. If the status is Stopped, click Start. If the status is Running, right-click the service and select Restart.

Windows 10 media keys service

Note: If you are having problems with the media keys when using Windows Media Player, search for Windows Media Player Network Sharing. Open the service and click Stop to disable it.

By now, you should’ve fixed your problem and gotten the media keys working again. As we discussed, this could be a hardware or software issue. We hope it was a minor software issue, and you don’t have to go shopping for a new keyboard.


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