SEARCH

How-To Geek

Disable the Keyboard with a Keyboard Shortcut in Windows

If you’ve got a pet or toddler, then you know that an unguarded keyboard is a recipe for disaster – deleted files, lost work, and hard-to-explain Facebook status updates are just the beginning. In this article, we’ll show you how to disable your keyboard at the touch of a button – and, of course, how to re-enable it.

Keyboard Locker is a small program that does this job well and takes up very few system resources. It’s a small AutoHotKey script that was originally written by an AutoHotKey forum-goer named Lexikos. We’ve spruced it up a bit and compiled it so that you don’t need to have AutoHotKey installed. If you do have AutoHotKey installed, we’ve included the original script so you can tweak it to your liking.

sshot-1

When you open Keyboard Locker, you’ll see a small keyboard icon appear in your system tray.

sshot-8

To lock the keyboard, press Ctrl+Alt+L.

sshot-4

The icon in the system tray changes to indicate that the keyboard is locked.

Almost all keyboard input is now disabled, including most special keys on media keyboards and caps and num locks. There are a few key combinations that will still work, such as Ctrl+Alt+Delete and Win+L to lock your computer, but those are extremely unlikely for a paw or tiny hand to hit.

When you want re-enable keyboard input, simply type in the word “unlock.”

sshot-5

By default, the balloon notification seen above are not shown – only the system tray icon changes. If you’d like to enable the balloon notifications, right-click on the system tray icon and click on “Show tray notifications”.

sshot-3

If you don’t like the notification but you forget the right keyboard shortcut or command to type in, you can hover your mouse cursor over the system tray icon and a tooltip will pop up with the appropriate instruction.

sshot-2

sshot-6

Keyboard Locker won’t have any detrimental effects on your computer if you leave it running at all times, but if you want to close it, right-click on the system tray icon and then click on “Exit”.

sshot-7

Start Keyboard Locker when Windows starts

If you want Keyboard Locker to start up automatically when you boot your computer, you can create a shortcut to Keyboard Locker in your startup folder.

To do this, click on the Start button, then All Programs. You should be able to find a folder called Startup.

sshot-9

Right click on the folder and click on Explore.

sshot-10

An explorer window will pop up. It may have some other shortcuts in here already (if there are programs in here that you don’t want to start up when Windows boots up, you can remove them here!). In either case, right click on an empty portion of the window and click on New > Shortcut.

sshot-11

Click on the Browse… button and navigate to the location that you saved Keyboard Locker in.

sshot-12

The path will be filled in. Click next.

sshot-13

Give the shortcut a name if you’d like, then click Finish.

sshot-14

You should now see a shortcut to Keyboard Locker in the startup folder. From now on, Keyboard Locker will start running every time you boot up your computer!

sshot-15

If you ever want to stop Keyboard Locker from running at startup, simply delete it from this folder.

Note: This currently doesn’t work on Windows XP but we’re currently building an XP version that will be posted shortly, so stay tuned. 

Conclusion

Keyboard Locker is a great utility for those of us with curious creatures and inquisitive infants. If you have a different use for this program, let us know in the comments!

Download Keyboard Locker free from How-To Geek

Trevor is our resident Linux geek, but always keeps his eyes open for neat Windows tricks too.

  • Published 02/26/10

Comments (29)

  1. chessyang

    sweet! a good office joke for April 1st

  2. Kalle

    It’s great when I have a cat that likes to walk on the keyboard :)

  3. David

    Keyboard locker doesn’t seem to work on my XP system.

  4. Wil

    Kid key lock works well too. I have a Microsoft wireless laser keyboard 6000 with 5 programmable buttons so it works out pretty well for me…and my 3 1/2 year old.

  5. Mohammed Sarhan

    Good program
    Thanks alot
    I need it for my son

  6. Trevor Bekolay

    @David

    Can you elaborate a bit more about what doesn’t work? Does pressing Ctrl+Alt+L change the tray icon, but the keyboard still works?

    The script uses a keyboard hook to intercept keyboard input; that hook might be different in Win XP…

    @Wil

    Kid key lock is nice, especially if you also want to disable mouse buttons. It’s just not free… at least for the pro version.

  7. Veiko

    On my XP (SP3, English) keyboard locker doesn’t work properly. The tray icon changes if I press Ctrl-Alt-L, but I can type after then normally and it is no difference at all…

  8. Karl K

    Keyboard Locker “installs” fine on my WinXP Pro computer and Ctrl+Alt+L works (icon changes), but typing “unlock” on the keyboard does NOT un-lock the keyboard. I had to right-click and “exit” to get out of it.

  9. Trevor Bekolay

    Yeah, the keyboard hook doesn’t work the same with in WinXP apparently. I’m going to make a different version for Windows XP, so stay tuned.

  10. SyKoTiK

    FYI: The program doesn’t block CTRL+ALT+DELETE on Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (and probably on all other versions of Windows). Also… you might want to add an option to block the Exit command in the utility when the keyboard is locked so people can’t simply exit the utility to re-enable the keyboard.

  11. Trevor Bekolay

    @SyKoTiK

    Yeah, I mentioned the Ctrl+Alt+Del and Win+L limitations in the article. There doesn’t really seem to be way around this short of disabling the USB drivers for the keyboard with the shortcut, which isn’t great for other reasons.

    The intention isn’t to lock the keyboard so that other users can’t use it, it’s for entities that just randomly hit keys and don’t really understand how a computer works… obviously a cat or toddler isn’t going to move the mouse and exit the program. Similarly, a typical computer user isn’t going to use the program and not know how to unlock the keyboard, so it’s irrelevant.

  12. Corey B

    I always just press windows key + L, and enter my password when I come back. It’s highly unlikely that a password would just be randomly input, even if it’s just a throwaway dictionary word.

  13. Chris

    Any news on when the XP version will be available? It installs fine on my XP computer, but typing “unlock” does nothing. Glad I can at least close it with the mouse. Very cool idea, though!

    Thanks.

  14. Chris

    Just a suggestion, but could we change the program so that instead of typing in “unlock”, you can type in CTRL+ALT+U ? That way it’s easier to remember. (Or, if you don’t want to, can you tell me the HEX codes for CTRL and ALT for the script?)

    Thanks again.

  15. Andrew

    Hi, This works great =)

    I use it for when i’m playing ps2 games on my pc…

  16. krass

    Great Feature, easy and simple to use. I have both of my baby daughters frequently “beating” the keyboard while I am working. Now I have a quick counter move to prevent potential damages.

  17. ZHH

    thanks realli useful

  18. Captain Obvious

    Ever heard about _locking_ windows with the Windows + L key combination? That works on all windows systems and doesn’t require additional software to be installed.

  19. Fluid

    Great! Now I can clean my keyboard and watch a video at the same time :)

  20. Lauren

    This is brilliant – I’m working at home a lot and kitty loves to come over, see what I’m up to and attempt sabotage (evil kitty)… a very handy tool indeed.

  21. Alex

    Works great! Exactly what I need when cleaning or working by the keyboard!

  22. Werner

    Still no update on the XP version?

  23. Naz

    Great!! Works fine with my Dell Inspiron 1520 (Vista) & my 2 years old son….. :)

  24. nice

    thanks for this nice program, I use it differently than to avoid toddler’s curiousness or just WIN+L to lock my pc, I use it in my laptop and when taking notes with paper (above the keyboard) avoids pressing random keyboard keys

    Thanks !

  25. Jimmy

    Is there a way to tweak this to only lock the keyboard of a laptop while leaving an external usb keyboard functional?

  26. Kier

    EXCELLENT. This is great, and exactly what I needed… Now I can finally leave my screen open while I’m watching for replies or alerts, AND study my big heavy textbooks. ^o^
    I really don’t know why this isn’t made standard for all computers. Thank you guys SO much. It’s really a great program that needs to be built into all computers; I’m telling my sister ((her toddler boy and our cats love typing)) and all my friends about it too. ^^

    /how many of you started to comment with your keyboard locked? – -;

  27. Nikhil

    Other uses of this:

    Hi.. My sys has auto-pressed-keys problem.. seems to be a motherboard issue.. Thats the only prob..n i donot wat to replace my MOBO for only this prob.. SO i want to USE this sftwre to block th Laptop Keyboard ..BUt i want it to ALLOW USB KEYBOARD!!!

    Can u develope smthing for this purpose.,. THnaQ!

  28. Tony

    how do you uninstall if i need to ? i love the program thanks

  29. jack

    its a virus block now
    its a virus block now
    its a virus block now
    its a virus block now
    its a virus block now
    its a virus block now
    its a virus block now
    AVG says

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!