How-To Geek

Create Custom Windows Key Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows

Nearly everyone uses keyboard shortcuts of some sort on their Windows system but what if you could create new ones for your favorite apps or folders? You might just be amazed at how simple it can be with just a few clicks and no programming using WinKey.

WinKey in Action

During the installation process you will see this window that gives you a good basic idea of just what can be accomplished with this wonderful little app.


As soon as the installation process has finished you will see the “Main App Window”. It provides a simple straightforward listing of all the keyboard shortcuts that it is currently managing.

Note: WinKey will automatically add an entry to the “Startup Listing” in your “Start Menu” during installation.


To see the regular built-in Windows keyboard shortcuts that it is managing click “Standard Shortcuts” to select it and then click on “Properties”.


For those who are curious WinKey does have a “System Tray Icon” that can be disabled if desired. Now onto creating those new keyboard shortcuts…


For our example we decided to create a keyboard shortcut for an app rather than a folder. To create a shortcut for an app click on the small “Paper Icon” as shown here. Once you have done that browse to the appropriate folder and select the exe file.


The second step will be choosing which keyboard shortcut you would like to associate with that particular app. You can use the drop-down list to choose from a listing of available keyboard combinations. For our example we chose “Windows Key + A”.


The final step is choosing the “Run Mode”. There are three options available in the drop-down list…choose the one that best suits your needs.


Here is what our example looked like once finished. All that is left to do at this point is click “OK” to finish the process.


And just like that your new keyboard shortcut is now listed in the “Main App Window”. Time to try out your new keyboard shortcut!


One quick use of our new keyboard shortcut and Iron Browser opened right up. WinKey really does make creating new keyboard shortcuts as simple as possible.



If you have been wanting to create new keyboard shortcuts for your favorite apps and folders then it really does not get any simpler than with WinKey. This is definitely a recommended app for anyone who loves “get it done” software.


Download WinKey at Softpedia

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 04/22/10

Comments (11)

  1. akash

    Is it me or does the interface look extremely outdated?

  2. Phoenix232

    It is… But the interface is not that important… And thank you guys! This is really useful. I’ve been looking for something like this, now I can gain some time when opening my programs.

  3. David

    I’ve used WinKey for almost 10 years but with Windows 7 and more importantly 64bit, it doesn’t really play nice. I’ve been trying out AutoHotKey as a replacement and once you understand how it works, it is OK. It doesn’t seem to have a nice GUI like WinKey though.

  4. InDiSent

    Can anyone else confirm issues with Windows 7 x64 and Winkey?

  5. Simon Coulthurst

    Yes, doesn’t work with 64bit Windows.

  6. Xenotropic


  7. Terry McGrath

    I like hotkeyz as an alternative, will try winkey.

  8. John C

    I’ve just tried WinKey and it failed at the first hurdle.

    I tried to change + N from Network neighbourhood to Notepad++.

    After making the changes and trying the key combination Microsoft One Note appeared!!!

    It doesn’t look like they have tested for other software ‘owning’ the key combinations. (Even major ones like One Note.)

    At least I’ve learn’t that One Note can be started with the windows key!

    If found a bit of very sloppy programming / design by accident.

    I used the start menu to run WinKey (forgetting that it was already running – it has to be running to do it’s stuff – Doh!!!). When you do this you get the following exception:

    Exception EOleError in module WinKeyMgr.exe at 0005BE9C.
    Error creating system registry entry.

    This error seems to occur if you try and run a second instance of the program. This is basic stuff that should have been tested by any half competent programmer.

    If you unload WinKey and run it from the start menu all is OK again. Try to start a second instance and you get the above exception.

    I’ll look into the alternatives mentioned above.

  9. Asian Angel

    @John C – WinKey is geared towards creating new Windows Key combinations to add to the existing set. Regarding the multiple instances you only need to have one instance of WinKey running at any given time. ^__^

  10. Terry

    Softpedia’s entry says it was last updated in 2002. Is that really the most recent version? O.o

    (Did someone really write a Win-7-compatible shell extension in 2002? :-p)

    @ Asian Angel: Good programming means anticipating usage situations, humoring the user (e.g. if their intention can be reasonably inferred, respond to their intention regardless of their action), and, if nothing else, making sure they get specific and informative error messages, regardless of the wisdom of their action or request. :-p

  11. Curator

    Another alternative is WinKeyPlus.
    It works on all the modern versions of windows (XP, 7, 32 and 64 bit)

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