ESC Key Not Functional in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

If you’re a keyboard geek and you use Photoshop, you’ve likely been annoyed that the escape key doesn’t work in other applications while Photoshop is running.  It’s one of those tiny things that can drive you insane, so The Geek hacked together a solution for you.  You could always press Shift+esc to get the traditional escape key behavior in other applications, but he decided to make your life simpler through the power of AutoHotkey.

When one key on your keyboard is not working, despite all the other keys responding properly, you have one of two possibilities: Either something in your computer is intercepting that particular key, or the key is broken. If you tried a spare keyboard and the key still doesn’t work, this almost eliminates the possibility of a malfunctioning keyboard. You still can’t rule it out, though, by the off-chance that both keyboards have the same defective key. As unlikely as it seems, it’s still possible. Let’s see how we can determine that.

The keyboard is a device that sends signals to your computer by means of eight timed pulses that are interpreted by the processor on your computer. Keyboard input sends something known as an “interrupt signal,” meaning that the computer interrupts a large number of the things it’s doing to interpret what you typed. When the signal doesn’t reach the computer, it’s most likely because something’s wrong with the keyboard. There are two possibilities here: Either the signal is reaching the computer and the computer somehow ignores it, or the signal doesn’t reach the computer and you have a defective keyboard.

To determine what problem you’re facing, click the “Start” menu and type “mskey”, then press “Enter”. If you’re not on Windows 7 or 8, hold down the “Win” key and press “R”, then type “mskey” and press “Enter”. This takes you to Microsoft Keyboard Diagnostics.

Press the “Esc” key. Did it show up on the input-monitor? If it did, and your programs don’t respond to the key, it’s a problem with your computer. If it didn’t, then your keyboard has a defective “Escape” key. That was simple! Here are a few solutions to the former problem:

  • Close Photoshop. While this program is open, it might interfere with the “Escape” key’s function in other programs. This happens because it sometimes establishes a “hook” with your keyboard.
  • Close running programs one by one and test the key after each one closes. If your keyboard works after closing one particular program, this might be worth looking into. Comment below on this and we might be able to figure it out.
  • Access the task manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc or Ctrl+Alt+Delete) and start closing processes under your username in the “Processes” tab. Don’t close anything with the “System” username. Those are essential programs, usually. Try not closing anything too foreign to you at the moment. Start off easy. After a while, you might be able to pinpoint exactly what’s causing your keyboard not to work. Once you find the problem, you can take steps to remedy the issue by preventing the program from running on your computer. If you really need the program to run, then contact the support persons for that particular program.
  • If nothing works, you’ll just have to stick to using “Shift+Esc” as a substitute for the “Esc” key.

The ULTIMATE Problem is with only Adobe Photoshop CS2 conflict with INTEL HD Graphics Accelerator.

Kokula Krishna Hari K an Indian born in Pondicherry, South India in 1980's is a pure veteran with acquired knowledge in Business Administration, Computer Research and Entrepreneurship. More information about KK at