How-To Geek

Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Mute the System Volume in Windows

Have you ever had music playing loudly on your speakers when the phone rings… then you fumble for the speaker switch or the pause button on your music playing application while trying to answer the phone? Instead of bothering with that, I’ve always simply created a shortcut to mute the system volume instantly with the press of a key.

Of course this isn’t terribly helpful if you have a multimedia keyboard with a mute button onboard, but some computers just don’t have one, or you don’t want to run the software required to make the keys work.

Create the Shortcut

In order to mute the system volume, we’ll use a small utility called NirCmd that we’ve mentioned numerous times before, since it’s the swiss army knife of useful shortcuts.

Right-click on the desktop and choose New \ Shortcut from the menu.


In the location box, you’ll want to browse down to the location of where you saved nircmd.exe, and then add “mutesysvolume 2” as arguments. You’ll probably want to put quotes around the path to the executable, like this:

“C:\Path\To\nircmd.exe” mutesysvolume 2


Note: the “2” argument tells nircmd to toggle mute, so if you use the shortcut or hotkey again, it will untoggle. I find that to be the most useful, but you could pass an argument of “1” to only use mute. All of the arguments can be found on the NirCmd page.

Give the shortcut a useful name like “Toggle Mute”, and then open up the properties of the shortcut. Here you can assign a shortcut key, or you can change the icon to something else.


I found the speaker icon in the following file, but you can choose another icon if you’d like:



Remember when using a shortcut key, you’ll want to keep the shortcut on the desktop or move it into the Start menu… the shortcut keys don’t seem to work when the shortcut is in the quick launch menu.


Either way, you should now have a shiny new shortcut that will mute or unmute the system volume.

Download NirCmd from

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/11/08

Comments (46)

  1. Joe Vautour

    This is something I can really use at work. Thanks for another great tip.

  2. 0zSpitt

    you come up with the best shortcuts.

  3. Tom

    nice, but what about for Vista?

  4. jambarama

    Does this work in XP or just Vista?

  5. The Geek

    This should work in either XP or Vista.

  6. Corrine

    Although all your tips and How-to’s are always clearly documented, sometimes it is the simple tips that catch the eye.

    Mission easily accomplished.

    Thank you,


  7. Jan Glas

    Is there a way to Mute UnMute the microphone. This is great but turning off your mic would be even better.

  8. shai

    Brilliant idea!

  9. Jim

    How do you create a hotkey though?

  10. sampat

    good work .. lot of times i saw only commands for this and that but no practical use , so it’s really good to see your articles

  11. Pas B

    @Jan Glas

    If you check the detailed help page for NirCmd:

    and search for the term (remove the quotes):

    “mutesysvolume [action] {Component} {Device Index}”

    the description says that a parameter can be included to designate the item to be muted. It mentions “microphone” as one option.

    For myself, I’d prefer to also have a visible reminder as to whether the microphone is muted (to avoid embarrassing and/or costly mistakes). Perhaps someone else might have a suggestion regarding that.

    Thanks to this website for the great tip. I’d seen NirCmd but not investigated nor considered using it with shortcuts like this.


  12. Dan


    To make it a hotkey:

    right-click the shortcut. click properties.

    In the shortcut tab you will see “Shortcut Key”. Enter a key to use.

  13. Leo

    Thank you, that was exactly what I was looking for. It works brilliantly.

    ~ Leo

  14. Rook

    Is there a way to use the Shortcut key even when some fullscreen application is running?

    I tried this but I’m not sure about this keyboard shortcuts, it often don’t work. For example when I move the shortcut to some directory, quick launch or even Start menu, or when I have focus on some window…
    Do somebody know how this work? It doesn’t seems to me that it has any order…

  15. Olaf D.

    Brilliant – Thanks!

  16. mohamed

    its great.this was the one i’ve been searching for.thanks…..

  17. Nick

    Hmm, it appeared to work in the Quick Launch bar for me on XP…

    Thanks for the tip, it works great! There are plenty of times I have to mute and unmute, and this saves a bit of time.

  18. Fred

    Thank you! I have been looking for something like this for quite some time!!!

  19. Simon

    Thank you very much! Awesome!! =)

  20. Daveed

    Great shortcut thanks- I am using it in Win7.
    Problem is that the UAC popup comes up even when I disable it in UAC controll setting window.
    Anyway to make Win7 like NIRCMD?

  21. Lipak


    Right click the file “nircmd.exe” (within your nircmd folder) and select Properties, then on the General tab click the “Unblock” button. This will stop the UAC prompt.

    You’re welcome ;)

  22. Chris

    It seems that launching it through the keyboard short cut (CTRL+Alt+M in my case) is about 3~5 seconds delay from pressing the keys.

    However, doing the same through either from command line or double-clicking the icon are giving the prompt action of muting/un-muting.

    Is there any way that we may improve its responsiveness when using keyboard shortcut?


    P.S. The environment is Windows XP SP3.

  23. vivek

    I have XP running on Mac OS using VMWare Fusion and properties window does not show shortcuts tab, how do I create a hot key?

  24. Quakie

    s there a way to use the Shortcut key even when some fullscreen application is running?

    I tried this but I’m not sure about this keyboard shortcuts, it often don’t work. For example when I move the shortcut to some directory, quick launch or even Start menu, or when I have focus on some window…
    Do somebody know how this work? It doesn’t seems to me that it has any order…

    I have the same issue as Rook, that in fullscreen applications the keyboard shortcut just dont work. I linked these to my remote control to activate mute , vol up and down on system level.
    It works with a small delay on the desktop but when media center is active it just stops working.

    Any ideas? because everything on my remote is working except sound (program is moving the slide not the system mouse on w7 32 or 64) which isnt handy on a HTPC.

  25. Rlad

    If you want a shortcut for volume control in Windows 7 (which was what I was originally looking for) just go to the search bar in the Start Menu, search “adjust system volume,” then drag it onto the desktop.

  26. chickenlin

    If you are trying to control the windows system volume by using mouse gesture.
    Here is the guide,
    1. download the freeware “StrokeIt”
    2. at StrokeIt command editor, find [Global Actions], add “New Action”, rename to “Volume Up”, add “New Command” at its branch, configure the command as “WinMsg – Post Message”, send message to “Current Window” , “Message Parameters”: ID “0x319”, WParam “0”, LParam “0xa0000”. then set the mouse gesture at “Volume Up” as you like, for example, “Right-Up”.
    3. next time if you want to increase the music volume, just use your mouse draw a “Right-Up” action.
    4. similarly, for decreasing volume you can set the StrokeIt parameter “LParam” to “0x90000”, maybe a different gesture “Right-Down”.

  27. Mario S

    1 try copying this into a text file

    Set WshShell = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)

    2 rename it mute.vbs
    3 create a shortcut to it
    go into the properties of the shortcut and set the shortcut key to something you can remember.
    i think is better
    thank u

  28. Hardy


    If you dont need your Context Menue Key at the keyboard (between the right Windowskey and Ctrl-Key), you can change it to toggle the Mute on or off. Only insert a little binary into your registry:

    Open the key
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
    and insert a new binary with name “Scancode Map”.

    This binary have to be filled with the following:
    00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
    01 00 00 00 20 e0 5d e0
    00 00 00 00

    If you have no experience with your registry editor, you can also do this:
    Create a new text-Dokument (NOT in MS Word, only in the Editor!) and insert this:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
    “Scancode Map”=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,00,20,e0,5d,e0,00,00,00,00

    Name the textfile “mute.reg” and execute it.

    Now restart your PC and you can use your Context Menue Key for mute and unmute.

    To restore your old settings, only delete the Key “Scancode Map” from the registry.


  29. Scarlett

    I’ve followed all the instructions exactly, but it doesn’t seem to be working! :(

    When I use my shortcut key, it just opens NirCmd.

    I’m using Windows 7.

  30. Lestrad

    I tried the following: nircmd.exe mutesysvolume 1 microphone
    nircmd.exe mutesysvolume 1 mic

    and can’t get it to work. I also tried a couple of little utilities that are out there (MicMut, PushToTalk) and couldn’t get any of them to work either – either in the rear or the front mic inputs.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?


  31. Will

    I downloaded nircmd and it has three files. The help file included doesn’t work at all and I’m confused as why there are two nircmd files, one being “nircmd” and the other being “nircmdc.” One says to copy to directory and the other, says to run it, then a black box appears for not even a second and disappears, then nothing happens. Please help! Thanks.

  32. Andy

    Here’s how to get it to mute your Microphone on Windows Vista or Windows 7.

    Run nircmd.exe, Copy to Windows Directory. Now it’s in C:\Windows or something similar for your machine.

    Make a shortcut like the how-to says, but use this:

    C:\Windows\nircmd.exe mutesysvolume 2 Microphone

    This shortcut will now toggle the mute state of the Microphone as long as that’s what it is named in Windows. If your Microphone is labeled “Rear Mic”, then the shortcut would look like this:

    C:\Windows\nircmd.exe mutesysvolume 2 “Rear Mic”

    The quotes are to denote that the name has spaces in it…important to know. By default, the Windows Microphone is called just “Microphone.”

    Now, you can use a good multimedia keyboard (mine’s a Logitech) to launch this shortcut with a Multimedia key on your keyboard. With one button press, I can now mute/unmute my microphone. Or, you can assign a shortkey to it as well.

  33. Mohammed Ismail

    Wonderfull !!!!!!!!! Excellent!!!!!!! ………….i wasn’t knowing ……..that i would end up getting………wat i exactly needed

    Thanks thanks……….

  34. Curator

    WinKeyPlus allows you to create custom hotkeys on the fly.
    You can also disable keys.

  35. EmpreJorge

    It works perfect.
    I’m using Windows 7.

  36. Shailesh Kumar

    What about increase and decrease of Volume? Is there anything similar to this article for increase and decrease of volume?

  37. Larry

    Thank you for your excellent work with NIRCMD. I just created a keyboard shortcut to mute / unmute sound. I just started using a new keyboard that did not have a mute button and I am too lazy to reach over to my laptop to hit its mute button.

    I probably spent 20 mutes searching for a solution on the MS/support web site. Then I saw a reference to and found the solution w nricmd in maybe 20 seconds. Then it took me, a light-weight geek, maybe 5 minutes to configure it and assign it to a key.

    This will be my go to site for PC geek assistance.


  38. Doc Edwards the 3rd

    I love personalizing PC’s with tips like these! I can also verify that this works perfectly well on Windows 7. I downloaded a cool speaker pic from Google Images and converted it to .ico format with Irfan View, and then pinned the newly created shortcut to my taskbar for even easier access to quick, effortless mutes. Looking forward to reading more about the possibilities of NIRCMD. Thanks for the useful article! :)

  39. Branden

    Another great reason to use Nirsoft. The mute hotkey works like a charm. I only wish it responded more quickly when I press it, but it works nonetheless.

  40. Snuukzy


    The NirCMD is just about perfect, but as some people before i seam to have the problem about not being able to use the shortcut will in fullscreen app…
    Is there anyway to by-pass this so i’m able to program my remote to trigger the “shortcuts” in a full screen app like MediaCenter..

    I’m running win7 Ultimate on my Advent T2…


  41. momimooimi

    There are nice icons too into :

  42. chandra

    i did not understand anything

  43. 9bit


    I’m using an Acer PC which has a volume wheel/slider thing on the side. It only works when Acer’s Launch Manager is enabled.

    My problem is that Launch Manager keeps crashing. What’s worse is that the process is still running, so when I try to reopen it, it does nothing – so I must delete the process and then reopen it.

    This is really annoying, so I installed 3RVX to use F9 and F10 for when it doesn’t work, but I’d much prefer to use the volume wheel. I don’t think there’s a way to do that with 3RVX, unfortunately, but I was wondering if there was a way to do this in Windows, like this?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  44. gobind

    Thanks!! this is what i’m looking since long time

  45. Paul M

    thanks, that did it for me. Good job!

  46. Kevin

    Thanks! Great trick!


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