Some Windows users are encountering a weird problem where the W S A and D keys are swapped with the arrow keys. Although the issue is not exclusive to a particular Windows version, it’s mostly reported to occur on Windows 10.
What is causing the “WASD and Arrow Keys are Switched” issue?
We investigated this particular issue by looking at various user reports and the repair strategies that affected users have successfully used to resolve the problem. Based on our investigations, there are a couple of fairly common culprits that are known to trigger this particular issue:
- The keyboard doesn’t support USB 3.0 – This issue might occur if you’re using an older keyboard model that wasn’t designed to function with USB 3.0. In this case, plugging the keyboard in a 2.0 USB port will resolve the issue.
- Alternate keys are enabled – Some keyboard models are will include an alternate keys settings that will swap the WSAD key with the arrow keys on the go. This option can be triggered by a combination of keys (it usually involves using the function key (FN).
If you’re currently struggling to resolve this particular issue, this article will provide you with several troubleshooting guides. Down below, you’ll discover a collection of methods – each of them is confirmed to be effective by at least one user that struggled to resolve the same problem.
Keep in mind that not all the methods below will be applicable to your particular scenario, so make sure that you follow the methods below in order and exclude those that can’t be replicated on your machine.
Method 1: Unplugging / Plugging the keyboard
For some users, the fix was as simple as unplugging the keyboard, then plugging it back in again. This is confirmed to be effective with medium to high-end keyboards that are using a dedicated driver rather than a generic one.
We advise you to plug the keyboard into a different USB port to force your OS to set up the driver again for a different port. If your keyboard was previously plugged into a USB 3.0 port, try plugging it into a USB 2.0 port and see if you still experiencing the same behavior.
Note: You should be able to identify the USB ports in order to do this.
If you’re still encountering the issue even after plugging the keyboard into a different port, move down to the next method below.
Method 2: Disabling the alternate keys settings
Another popular scenario that will trigger this apparently weird behavior is if the user mistakenly triggers the Alternate Key settings. This feature is present on a lot of medium to high-end keyboards (especially mechanical keyboards) including Cooler Master, Ajazz, RedDragon, and Digital Alliance.
In most cases, this alternate keys setting will apply instantly and without any warning. This means that if you’re unfortunate enough to press the right key combinations (while gaming or doing another activity) you won’t be able to tell what caused the issue.
Fortunately, on most keyboards, you can toggle between the standard-setting and the alternate key setting by pressing FN + W keys. If that doesn’t work, here are a couple of other key combinations that are known to disable the alternate keys settings:
- FN + Windows key
- Press and hold FN + E for 5 seconds or more
- FN + Esc
- FN + Left key
If this method was not applicable and you’re still encountering the same issue, move down to the next method below.
Method 3: Using AutoHotkey to remap the arrow keys
If none of the methods above have allowed you to resolve this particular problem, you have no other choice but to download the AutoHotKey utility and use it to run a script at every system startup. This might not seem like the most convenable solution, but it’s an effective way of resolving the issue while using minimal system resources.
Here’s a quick guide on installing the Autohotkey utility and creating the script that will remap the arrow keys:
- Visit this link (here) and click on Download. Then, click on Download AutoHotkey Installer to start the download.
- Open the AutoHotKey installation executable and follow the on-screen prompts to install it on your computer. Click on Express Installation if you want to speed up the process.
- Once the installation is complete, click Exit.
- Right-click on a free space on your desktop, choose New and then select AutoHotkey Script from the list.
- Name the newly created script to whatever you want.
- Right-click on the newly created script and choose Edit Script.
- Paste the following code into the newly created .ahk document:
a::left s::down d::right w::up q::Numpad0 c::a XButton1::alt ~capslock::Suspend ~capslock UP::Suspend `::Suspend ^!z:: WinSet, Style, -0xC40000, a WinMove, a, , 0, 0, % A_ScreenWidth, % A_ScreenHeight
- Save the code in your code editor, then close it.
- Double-click on the script that you previously created to run it.
Note: Remember that you will need to run the script after every system startup to ensure that the keys are reverted back to their original behavior.