How to fix Alt + F4 not working in Windows?

Issue: I recently updated my laptop to Windows 11. Since then, the Alt+F4 shortcut doesn't work when I try to shut down my laptop unless I refresh the desktop first. If anyone knows how to resolve this issue, please let me know.

Solved Answer

Keyboard shortcuts are useful for people who are willing to save time and perform certain Windows commands almost instantaneously – it saves time quite a bit. Alt + F4 is one of the more popular combinations, which is used to quickly close active windows or shut down the computer. However, some users have reported that the Alt + F4 shortcut is not working. As a result, people have to perform the function of this shortcut manually, and it can be frustrating. While this problem can occur on a desktop PC, it si most commonly observed by laptop users.

Various reasons can result in Alt + F4 not working, including outdated or corrupted keyboard drivers, interference from the Function (Fn) key, an outdated Windows operating system, or corrupted system files. These issues can disrupt the normal operation of keyboard shortcuts, causing the Alt + F4 command to fail.

There are a few things that may be done to fix the Alt + F4 shortcut not working properly, such as making sure your keyboard drivers are up-to-date, checking the Fn key (sometimes when it's enabled or disabled, some shortcuts might not work) on your laptop, and updating Windows to the latest version.

Additionally, restoring the regular functionality of keyboard shortcuts can be aided by performing system file checks to locate and fix corrupted files. We'll include thorough instructions for various troubleshooting steps below the article.

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How to fix Alt + F4 not working in Windows?

Fix 1. Update keyboard drivers

Outdated or corrupted keyboard drivers can prevent the Alt + F4 shortcut from working correctly. Updating the drivers ensures your keyboard functions as expected.

  • Right-click on Start and choose Device Manager.
  • Expand the Keyboards section.
  • Right-click on your keyboard, then select Update driver.
  • Choose Search automatically for drivers.
  • Wait for Windows to install drivers for your device, and then reboot your system.

Update keyboard drivers

Fix 2. Press the Function (Fn) key

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Some laptops require pressing the Fn key for a shortcut to work correctly.

  • Locate the Fn key on your keyboard and press it.
  • Check if the shortcut now works as expected.
  • If not, try holding the Fn key and pressing Alt +F4 simultaneously.

Fix 3. Update Windows

An outdated Windows operating system can cause compatibility issues, affecting the functionality of keyboard shortcuts.

  • In Windows search, type Updates and hit Enter.
  • In the new window, click Check for updates and wait till everything is installed.
  • Make sure you also install any available optional updates.
  • When done, restart your system to implement the changes.

Update Windows

Fix 4. Run SFC and DISM

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Corrupted system files can disrupt the normal operation of keyboard shortcuts. Running the system file checker can identify and repair these files.

  • Type cmd in Windows search.
  • Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  • When the User Account Control window shows up, click Yes.
  • Copy and paste the following command, pressing Enter after:
    sfc /scannow
  • Wait till the scan is finished. If Windows finds system file integrity violations, it will attempt to fix them. After this, use the set of the following commands, pressing Enter each time:
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  • (Note: if you get an error executing this last command, add /Source:C:\RepairSource\Windows /LimitAccess to it and try again).
  • Close down the Command Prompt and restart your computer.


Fix 5. Check for malware

Malware infections can interfere with system operations, including keyboard shortcuts To check your system, follow these steps:

  • Type Windows Security in the Windows search bar and hit Enter.
  • Select Virus & threat protection.
  • Pick Scan options.
  • Choose Microsoft Defender Offline scan and click Scan now
  • Your computer will immediately reboot and begin a deep scan.

Scan for malware

Fix 6. Restart Windows Explorer

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Restarting Windows Explorer can resolve temporary issues that might prevent keyboard shortcuts from working.

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  • Click More details if needed.
  • Look for Windows Explorer.
  • Right-click and select Restart.
  • Several UI elements will disappear for a few moments and reappear soon thereafter.

Restart Windows Explorer

Fix 7. Create a new user profile

Corrupted user profiles can cause various issues, including malfunctioning keyboard shortcuts. Creating a new user profile can resolve these problems.

  • Open Windows Settings.
  • Go to Accounts then Family/Family & other users.
  • Under Other users, click Add account/Add someone else to this PC.
  • Follow the prompts to create a new user account. If you don't have Microsoft account details, you can choose I don't have this person's sign-in information followed by Add a user without a Microsoft account.
  • Assign a username and password for the new account and complete the setup.
  • Then go back to the Accounts section. Under Family/Family & other users, select the newly created account and click Change account type.
  • Under Account type, pick Administrator and click OK.

Create new user account

Fix 8. Disable conflicting software

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To find out which conflicting software is causing issues, you should access Clean Boot.

  • Press Win + R, type msconfig, and hit Enter.
  • Go to the Services tab and tick the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox.
  • Select Disable all.
  • Go to the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager.
  • Here, right-click on each of the non-Windows entries and select Disable.
  • Close down the Task Manager.
  • Go to the Boot tab and tick the Safe boot option.
  • Click OK and restart your PC.
  • After the restart, check if you can log in again. If you can, it means that one of the disabled services or startup items is causing the issue.
  • Re-enable services and startup items one by one (or in groups), restarting your computer each time, to identify the specific program or service responsible for the issue.
  • Once identified, keep the problematic program or service disabled or uninstall it if necessary.

Clean Boot

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About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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