How many times have you accidentally pressed the Windows F1 Help Key rather than the adjacent Esc or F2 key? Too many times to count, for me at least, which is why I finally asked, “How do I disable the F1 Help Key on Windows?” But there was an expletive included.
I discovered a satisfactory solution involving the running of a simple command script which I provide within this article. I’ve also created a restore script to re-enable the help command in case you need to restore the Windows 10 F1 Help Key.
Copy the text below and paste it into a new empty text document. You may name this text document anything you wish. I named mine: killf1
taskkill /f /im HelpPane.exe
takeown /f c:\windows\HelpPane.exe
icacls c:\windows\HelpPane.exe /deny Everyone:(X)
Once completed, simply rename the text document extension from “.txt” to “.cmd“. If you cannot see your file extensions, within File Explorer click on “View” then “Options“. The “Folder Options” window will appear (see image below) from which you can click on the “View” tab and un-check the “Hide extensions for known file types” option. Then click “OK“.
Once renamed (for example from killf1.txt to killf1.cmd) right click on the renamed file and select “Run as administrator” which will execute and disable the Windows 10 F1 Help Key on your PC.
From now on, if the F1 key is pressed with your desktop in view it should not do anything thus preventing the slow and unhelpful Windows 10 help command from opening. If you press the F1 key and it still pops up, you did not run the command script with administrator rights (you forgot the “Run as administrator” step) or you are on another window which may have its own help command to deal with.
While we can’t prevent ourselves from accidentally pressing the hollow F1 key, we can at least help prevent the useless Windows based “Help” program from executing and slowing us down.
In case you’ve changed your mind, here is the code required to re-enable the Windows 10 F1 Key Help command on your PC. As before, save the text below to a new text document, you may name this text document anything you wish. I named mine: restoref1
takeown /f c:\windows\HelpPane.exe
icacls c:\windows\HelpPane.exe /grant Everyone:(X)
Once completed, simply rename the text document extension from “.txt” to “.cmd“. If you cannot see your file extensions, within File Explorer click on “View” then “Options“. The “Folder Options” window will appear (see image above) from which you can click on the “View” tab and un-check the “Hide extensions for known file types” option. Then click “OK“.
Once renamed (for example from restoref1.txt to restoref1.cmd) right click on the renamed file and select “Run as administrator” which will execute and re-enable the Windows 10 F1 Help Key on your PC.
Once downloaded (using the download button below), right click on the .zip file and choose “Extract All…” from the drop down context menu. When the extract window appears, set the desired destination (or just leave it in your downloads folder) and check the “Show extracted files when complete” box.
Next, (assuming you want to disable the F1 key) right click on the “disable-f1-run-as-admin.cmd” script and select “Run as administrator“. When the “Windows protected your PC” window appears, select the “More info” link which will reveal the “Run anyway” button. After clicking the “Run anyway” button the script will execute and disable the F1 key. Try it out by visiting your desktop and pressing the F1 key. Note that the Windows Help feature no longer opens Microsoft Edge or anything else for that matter.
Nervous about running an unknown script from a seemingly random website off the internet. I don’t blame you! To inspect the code within the “disable-f1-run-as-admin.cmd” script simply right click on it and select “Edit“. This should open your Windows Notepad application and reveal the code and confirm that it matches the code provided within this article. Hope this helps!
I welcome your thoughts, questions or suggestions on my article on how to disable the F1 Help Key in Windows 10.
Let me know if you found any errors within my article or if I may further assist you by answering any additional questions you may have.
- This article was first published on May 27th, 2018 and was revised on April 13th, 2020 to include how to re-enable the Windows 10 F1 Key Help Command.
- This article was again revised on Sept. 1st, 2020 to include a downloadable zip file containing both disable and restore command scripts.
- This article was revised on April 15th, 2021 to include instructions on using the Downloadable Zip file containing the disable and enable scripts.