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Stupid Windows Features: Disable FilterKeys Permanently

Posted in Microsoft Windows XP and Vista, Technology by engtech on August 30, 2006

It constantly amazes me the crap that gets turned on by default in Windows XP. Have you ever held down the Right Shift key for more than 8 seconds while thinking about something? That’s the default keyboard shortcut for FilterKeys. FilterKeys is an accessibility option that ignores keyboard input unless it the key is held down for a long time.


It isn’t annoying enough that a dialog box pops up and interrupts you if you hold shift down for too long. It has a bug. If you hit Cancel, FilterKeys *still* runs.

Pressing both shift keys is supposed to exit from it, but I prefer a more permanent approach. Death to FilterKeys.

Control Panel >> Accessibility Options >> Remove all check-marks


But wait, there’s more! That isn’t enough to get rid of FilterKeys, you also have to go to the Settings sub-menu and remove the check-marks there.

Hit OK twice and you’re finally rid of the damned thing.

More Stupid Windows Features

34 Responses

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  1. […] FilterKeys Must Die – Disabling this annoying application […]

  2. […] FilterKeys Must Die – Disabling this annoying application […]

  3. […] FilterKeys Must Die – Disabling this annoying application […]

  4. Mike said, on August 30, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    Filter keys + FPS that requires shift to be held for any peroid = you being fragged constantly.

  5. Gail said, on October 02, 2006 at 7:59 am

    I hate filter keys. We have a keyboard at work that we have to every day hold a key down for it to work. AARGH!!

  6. Carole said, on October 05, 2006 at 9:44 am

    THANK YOU!!! I’ve spent the better part of an hour trying to undo the filter keys thing. You’re the only place I could find that said to hold down both shift keys at once. Why isn’t that written right into the program for the user to see? Then, when I did that, finally disabling filter keys completely WORKED, and my keyboard was back to normal. Meanwhile, the whole thing I had written deleted in the process of resolving this, and I have to start over. Damn Microsoft!

  7. Sean Greene said, on October 10, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    I tried exactly what you said but can’t get rid of it, nor disable them. I go to accessibility options and when I click on the setting line it says can’t access, the file has been removed…Microsoft says that they will charge me $35 to help me….This is insane…

  8. engtech said, on October 10, 2006 at 11:45 pm

    That’s weird. Which version of Windows are you running? (95, 2000, ME, XP Home, XP Professional, XP Media Center, Vista)

    See this help here at Microsoft Knowledge base

  9. Tim said, on November 06, 2006 at 12:24 am

    GLORIOUS SAVIOR OF MY ALL-CAPS-LOVING MESSAGE BOARD DOMINATION. The “hold down both shifts will exit it” thing REALLY does need to be written into the first dialogue box, like the other person said.

    Were it not for the games, I’d already have a Mac.

  10. nod said, on November 11, 2006 at 5:21 am

    Surely the dumbest “feature” MS ever invented guaranteed to drive a person nuts.

    The double shift is a lifesaver.

  11. engtech said, on November 11, 2006 at 5:28 am

    I really recommend turning it off altogether instead of just the double shift. It always happens at the worst possible moments.

  12. Cesar said, on November 22, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    Hey, thanks a bunch!!! That damn thing was annoying the hell of me.. Well, I just used to both shift key option, but I eventually will have it completely disabled.

  13. Alun Davies said, on December 13, 2006 at 2:46 am

    Thanks for your help with getting rid of the dreaded filter key problem – it took me an hour of searching until I found your helpful tip about holding both shift keys – worked at once – many thanks


  14. engtech said, on December 13, 2006 at 3:05 am


  15. laura said, on December 14, 2006 at 3:04 am

    Thank you, I really appreciated finding this at 11pm at night when I was trying to write an urgent document, it saved me a lot of time.

  16. Clayton said, on December 18, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    You are the man! At 1:30 AM I can complete my stupid ass english paper, plus I finally feel smarter than the machince… at least for now.

  17. *Laura Jayne* said, on December 26, 2006 at 3:51 am

    fankyooo soo muchh… i wa avin a convo with sum1 on msn n i was thinkin and held it down 2 long i tried all sorts of stuff until i came on here n press both shift keys fankz.. // (L) x x

  18. Ben said, on December 28, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    Thank you, you have saved an idiots christmas, behold both shift keys, and damn filter keys to hardware hades.

  19. Cheryl Hutson said, on December 31, 2006 at 11:14 am

    This keyfilter is really 4 the birds lol. It is 2:07 A.M here
    where I live and this has drove me absolutly nuts!! I finally
    found your site and used the double shifter, Thank you 4 that
    idea, that worked great, lol..but how the crap do I get rid of
    the little filterkey clock in the lower right hand corner of my
    puter now? LOL..Can you please help me with that one?? Once again, thanks 4 the great idea..HAPPY NEW YEAR

  20. engtech said, on December 31, 2006 at 11:23 am

    Follow the remove instructions in the post and that should get rid of it completely.

  21. Dave said, on January 09, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    I only needed to read as far as Carole’s comment (#3) to get some relief that I was not the only one. Why couldn’t they have Filter Keys off as default? Why don’t they say hold both Shift keys down to turn it off???

    What a pointless piece of code.

  22. harmoniousthreads said, on January 14, 2007 at 2:22 am

    ~~~THANK YOU!!!~~~
    Damn FilterKeys! Makes it hard to defend PCs to Mac users whith crap like this! I was at the library, using a public computer there, sure enough ruined the keyboard for the seemingly innocent act of HOLDING DOWN A KEY, and no one who worked there could help me figure out how to fix it! I ended up leaving quickly, my head hanging in SHAME!

  23. KELSEY said, on January 15, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    something is still messed up and its annoying!
    it keeps beeping at me>>
    and when caps is on its not really on>>>
    and the shift key doesnt work neither does the period I just get this>>> help?

  24. Ian said, on January 19, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you it p***ed me off no end, I even waited for the five minutes idle time to switch it off I waited ten….it lied.

    Anyway all stinking tick boxes unticked thanks again.

  25. lorenzo said, on February 23, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Hello everybody, I have a very annoying problem. I have got the SHIFT key activated, almost all the time. I have disabled all the filter keys, I have disable the Numlock key, also. The way to get threat of the problem was to press for 10sec both ALT, then both CTRL , then both SFIFT keys. But this is not working anymore. I have searched for viruses, and tested the memory. Everything is working ok. Under linux is the keyboard is working ok…so where is the problem? Software or hardware? Currently I have disabled the shift key…and remapped with the windows key…….any suggestion is welcome! Thank you!

  26. Mimi said, on February 24, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Thanx, I found this website really helpful and useful when my computer was going nuts.

  27. William said, on February 27, 2007 at 8:10 am

    I was writing some php and i held the shift key down while checking my book and all of a sudden this monster popped out.

    down with filter keys.


  28. WHOA!! said, on March 13, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    yes sticky keys filterkeys ARE F&(^%$@(*^# Annoyingggggggggg…

  29. Shawn said, on March 28, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    After getting my filterkeys accidentally on, I hit cancel and the caps lock was off but really on, was in excel and it kept highlighting everything. Checked filterkeys settings, unchecked the appropriate stuff, went back and it kept doing it. So, I shut everything down, restarted and it was still on! It highlighted half the icons on my desktop then it CLONED THEM! I had to do a system restore! Thank you filterkeys! Thank you for nothing.

  30. […] when you hold down a key, such as shift, for 8 seconds. Tech/engineering blog //engtech explains how to disable Filter Keys permanently: “Control Panel >> Accessibility Options >> Remove all […]

  31. Clark Stevens said, on May 04, 2007 at 1:42 am

    thank you for your help! them dam filter keys
    drive me nuts

  32. Emma said, on May 07, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    Oh my god you are a lifesaver man! I tried to find a way to get rid of the blasted yolk! You are a godsend!

  33. Wes Robertson said, on May 11, 2007 at 7:13 am

    I contacted AOL Help about this. They couldn’t help me, then we lost the connection. He then sent me an e-mail (I was very impressed!), with a recommendation and link to you. After that, it was all downhill! I just had to follow your easy-to-understand instructions, and the problem died! Thank you forever!!!

  34. engtech said, on May 11, 2007 at 7:24 am

    That’s pretty cool that tech support links to me.

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