How to Fix Media Keys Not Working on Windows

Media keys on your keyboards are special keys that allows you to control media on your system. A common use of these media keys is to play/stop the media from your keyboard. These media keys allows users to interact and control media files, like songs, in a very easy way. But, sometimes the media keys will stop working. This can happen randomly or after a Windows update. The keys of your keyboard will most likely be fine.

However, you might not be able to use them on your system or on specific applications like Spotify app. Whenever you will press the media key, nothing will change or happen. Your application won’t respond to your media keys. This problem also isn’t specific to a particular keyboard brand. This problem can happen with any manufacturer keyboard because it isn’t related to the hardware.

What causes the Media Keys stop Working

The most likely causes of this issue are

  • Windows built-in applications (or other third party applications) taking control over the access of media keys. In other words, certain applications will become the default applications for your media key usage.
  • The Desktop overlay option being enabled in certain applications.
  • Google Play Music extension

Method 1: Change Default Program

Changing the default program to the application that you are trying to use media keys with usually solve the issue. Here are the steps that you need to take in order to make the targeted application as your default application

  1. Hold Windows key and press R
  2. Type control panel and press Enter

  1. Click Programs

  1. Select Default Programs

  1. Click Select program defaults and computer access

  1. Now select your application for the type of program. For example, if you are having troubles with iTunes for Windows, click Music and select iTunes from the list. This will make iTunes as the default program

Once done, you should be good to go.

Method 2: Disable Google Play Music

Note: Although this method shows the steps to disable or change settings of Google Play Music, this problem can be caused by other music related extension like Plex. So, the steps for disabling or changing extension settings will be similar for other extensions as well. If you have other music/media related extensions then use this solution.

If you have the Google Play Music extension installed on the Google Chrome then that might be the culprit behind this. A lot of users solved the issue by simply disabling the Google Play Music extension or changing the settings so that the media keys work with other apps too. Both of the approaches are given below. First, we will try to solve the issue by changing some settings in the Google Chrome so you don’t have to disable the Google Play Music extension.

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Click on the 3 dots on the top right corner of the browser
  3. Select More tools and click Extensions

  1. Click on the 3 bars on the top left corner of the extensions page

  1. Select keyboard shortcuts

  1. Find the Google Play Music section and you will be able to see a drop down menu with Global selected. This drop down menu should be in front of media keys options like play/stop. Simply select In Chrome from the drop down menu.

Once done, you should be good to go. But, if this doesn’t solve the issue then you can disable the Google Play Music extension completely. Here are the steps that you need to take in order to disable the Google Play Music extension

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Click on the 3 dots on the top right corner of the browser
  3. Select More tools and click Extensions
  4. You should be able to see all your installed extensions. Simply toggle the slider to turn off the Google Play Music extension.

Once done, check if this resolved the issue or not.

Method 3: Disable Desktop Overlay When Using Media Keys Feature

Note: This is applicable for people who are experiencing this issue with the Spotify app.

There is an option named Desktop Overlay when using media keys in the Spotify application. Disabling this option has resolved the issue for the majority of Spotify users. Follow the steps given below to change these settings.

  1. Open the Spotify app
  2. Click Options (or Settings)
  3. Uncheck the option Desktop overlay when using media keys

This should solve the issue and your media keys should start working on the Spotify app now.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.