Your system’s keyboard may be opening random applications when any key is pressed on the keyboard if the keyboard drivers are outdated/incompatible and the correct driver isn’t installed. Moreover, different Ease of Access settings (like Sticky keys) may also cause the issue at hand.
The issue arises when a user presses a key on his keyboard to type but in place of typing, a random application is launched on the system. In some cases, the keyboard issue emerged after a Windows update.
Before moving on, have a detailed look on the keyboard to check for a stuck keyboard key e.g., you may use the On-Screen keyboard (or an external keyboard) to check if any of the keys are highlighted, if so, try to clear those stuck keys. Also, check if cleaning the keyboard with a can of compressed air solves the problem. Moreover, check if the issue does not occur in the system’s BIOS. Furthermore, keenly check the user’s posture as his/her wrists or a jewelry item may be pressing a key and thus causing the issue. Last but not least, check if logging out/in whenever the issue arises sorts out the issue.
Key Combinations Workarounds
Before attempting any solutions, check if trying different key combinations (reported by users) sorts out the problem for you (either temporarily or permanently).
- Windows + Alt
- Windows + Spacebar
- Windows + Shift + Spacebar
- Windows + D
- Windows + Shift + M
- Windows + FN
- Ctrl + FN
- Ctrl + Alt + Delete
- Alt + Tab
1. Update the Windows and Device Drivers of Your System to the Latest Built
The launching of a random application by the keyboard could be a result of incompatibility between the OS and drivers (if the system’s Windows or drivers are outdated). In this scenario, updating the Windows and drivers (especially the keyboard, video, and HID drivers) of your system to the latest built may solve the problem. But before proceeding, check if uninstalling the previous Windows update (if the issue has started after a Windows update) solves the keyboard problem.
- Update Windows and drivers (especially, keyboard, video and HID drivers) of your system to the latest build and check for Windows Updates
- After updating, check if the keyboard is not launching the random applications.
2. Run the Keyboard Troubleshooter
Random applications may be launched when a key is pressed on the keyboard if the OS’s input modules are glitched. In this case, launching the built-in keyboard troubleshooter may clear the glitch and thus solve the keyboard problem.
- Click Windows and open Settings.
- Then open Update & Security and select Troubleshoot (in the left pane).
- Now, in the right pane, open Additional Troubleshooters and scroll down to the Keyboard (in the Find and Fix Other Problems section).
- Then expand Keyboard (by clicking it) and click on Run the Troubleshooter.
- Now apply the suggestions by the Troubleshooter (if any) and check if the keyboard issue is resolved.
3. Disable Keyboard Settings in Ease of Access
Pressing any key on the keyboard may launch random applications if a keyboard setting (like Sticky or Filter keys) in Ease of Access is causing the issue. In this case, disabling the keyboard settings in Ease of Access may solve the problem.
- Click Windows and open Settings.
- Now open Ease of Access and then, in the left pane, select Keyboard.
- Then disable Use Sticky Keys by toggling its switch to the off position and repeat the same for:
Use Toggle Keys Use Filter Keys
- Now check if the keyboard is working fine.
If the issue persists, right-click on the Desktop and select Graphics Options > Hot Keys > Disable. Then check if the keyboard is working fine. Also, make sure the Speech Recognition (or Cortana) is not causing the keyboard issue.
4. Disable Fast Startup
Fast Startup is a mixed state between the hibernation and shutting down of the system. It helps in quickly booting up the system but during this process, it may fail to fully load modules essential for the operation of the keyboard and thus cause the issue at hand. In this context, disabling the fast startup of your system may solve the problem.
- Click Windows and type: Power & Sleep Settings. Then open Power & Sleep Settings.
- Now, in the right pane, open Additional Power Settings, and in the resulting window, click on Choose What the Power Buttons Do (in the left pane).
- Then click on Change Settings That Are Currently Unavailable and uncheck the option of Turn on Fast Startup.
- Now apply your changes and switch off your system (not reboot).
- On the system’s boot, check if the Keyboard is clear of the issue.
5. Disable Windows Ink Workspace
Windows Ink Workspace is the Windows 10 Pen experience by Microsoft. But, as an input workspace, it may hinder the operation of the keyboard and thus cause the launching of random applications. In this context, disabling the Windows Ink Workspace (you may fail to launch Sketchpad or Screen Sketch afterward) may solve the problem.
- Right-click the Taskbar and in the menu, select Taskbar Settings.
- Then scroll down till the Notification Area is shown and open Turn System Icons on or Off.
- Now disable Windows Ink Workspace by toggling its switch to the Off position.
- Then click Windows, type: Group Policy, and open Edit Group Policy.
- Now, in the left pane of the Policy Editor, navigate to the following path (if there are more than one Windows Ink Workspace entries, then make sure to make the changes in all of them):
Computer Configuration>> Administrative Templates>> Windows Components>> Windows Ink Workspace
- Then, in the right pane, double-click on Allow Windows Ink Workspace, and in the properties window, select the radio button of Enabled.
- Now, in the options section, open the dropdown and select Disabled.
- Now apply your changes and reboot your PC to check if the issue of the random applications is resolved.
6. Roll Back/Update/Reinstall the Keyboard Driver
The keyboard may show the current behavior if its driver is incompatible/outdated or corrupt. In this scenario, rolling back/updating or reinstalling the keyboard driver may solve the problem. But before proceeding, check if disabling and enabling (make sure to wait for at least 1 minute before enabling the keyboard) the keyboard in the Device Manager resolves the issue.
Roll Back the Keyboard Driver
- Right-click Windows and open Device Manager.
- Now expand Keyboards and right-click on the problematic keyboard device.
- Then open Properties and head to the Driver tab.
- Now click on the Roll Back Driver button (if the button is greyed out, then you may try the update driver option) and let the process complete.
- Then reboot your PC and check if the keyboard issue is resolved.
Update the Keyboard Driver
- Right-click on the problematic keyboard in the Device Manager (as discussed above) and select Update Driver.
- Then choose Search Automatically for Drivers and let the driver update.
- Now reboot your PC and upon reboot, check if the launching of random applications has stopped.
Reinstall the Keyboard Driver
- Firstly, download the latest keyboard driver from the OEM website and arrange a 2nd USB keyboard (if your system is password protected and you cannot use On-Screen Keyboard).
- Now right-click on the Device Manager’s problematic keyboard (as discussed above) and select Uninstall Device.
- In the new window shown, checkmark the option of Delete the Driver Software for This Device (if the option is available) and click on the Uninstall button.
- Then let the process complete (if there are more than one HID Keyboard Devices, uninstall all the HID keyboard devices) and shut down the PC (not reboot).
- Now unplug the PC from the power source (in case of a laptop, remove the battery as well).
- Then wait for 10 minutes and then power on the system.
- Upon the system’s start-up, let Windows install the keyboard driver (if it does so) and check if the keyboard is working fine.
- If not, reboot your Pc, and upon reboot, install the keyboard driver downloaded at step 1.
- Once the driver is installed, check if the keyboard is working fine.
If the issue persists, check if repeating the same to the Hot-Key driver (if present in the Device Manager) sorts out the problem.
Disable the Touchpad Device
- Launch the Device Manager and expand “Mice and Other Pointing Devices”.
- Then right-click on the touchpad device and choose Disable Device.
- Now confirm to disable the device and reboot your PC.
- Upon reboot, check if the launching of the random applications has stopped. If so, then either update the touchpad driver or disable Tapping (that can trigger Cortana and thus cause the issue).
7. Clean Boot Your System and Remove/Disable the Conflicting Applications/Processes
The keyboard may have started to open the random applications if a process/application (e.g., a gaming hotkey application) on your system is hindering the operation of the input modules of the system. In this context, removing/disabling the conflicting application/process may solve the problem.
- Clean boot your PC and check if the keyboard issue is resolved.
- If so, then enable (one by one) all the processes/applications that were disabled during the clean boot process till the problematic one is found. Once found, either disable it at the system’s boot or uninstall it (if not essential).
The users have reported the following processes/applications to cause the issue:
- ASUS Screen Saver
If any of these applications are present, then either you should remove it or disable it (for example, deleting or disabling iType.exe). If that is not an option, then whenever you encounter the issue, end the problematic process in the Task Manager of your system to solve the problem (till reoccurs).
If the issue persists, then check if resetting the system’s BIOS to the defaults solves the keyboard problem. If that did not do the trick, then check if performing an in-place upgrade of the system (download the Windows 10 ISO and launch it as administrator) restores the keyboard functionality to normal. If the issue is still there, then you may have to reset Windows to defaults (by using the Keep Apps and Files option) or reinstall the OS from the scratch. If the issue persists, then get the system checked for a hardware failure.