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How to remap keys without AutoHotKey on Windows 10

If you need to remap a key on Windows 10, everyone will tell you to use AutoHotKey. We recommend it ourselves. It isn’t the easiest method for remapping keys since you have to write a script and as simple as they are to write, not everyone is up to the task. There are apps that offer a GUI for remapping keys.

Remap keys without AutoHotKey

Microsoft has released an update to PowerToys and one of the new features in the update is a Keyboard Manager. It lets users remap the keys on a keyboard.

  1. Download and install the latest version of PowerToys.
  2. Run the app with admin rights. Double-click the PowerToys icon in the system tray to access its settings.
  3. Go to the Keyboard Manager tab.
  4. Click the Remap a key button.
  5. In the window that opens, click ‘Type Key‘ under Original Key. Tap the key that you want to remap.
  6. Next, click ‘Type Key’ under New Key and tap the key you want to remap the original key to. For example, If you want to remap the Alt key to the Windows key, you should tap the Alt key under Original Key, and tap the Windows key under New Key.
  7. Click OK at the top and the key will be remapped.

PowerToys vs AutoHotKey

If you’re trying to decide between the two apps, it depends on the type of remapping you need to do.

If you want to remap one key and use it as another, i.e. simple 1:1 remapping, PowerToys is the tool for you. It can remap alphanumeric keys, Function keys, modifier keys, and the special media keys on a keyboard.

If you want to remap a key to multiple keys e.g., tapping PrintScrn sends Win+PrintScrn key, you are going to have to use AutoHotKey for the job.

The PowerToys keyboard manager is only for remapping keys whereas AutoHotKey can be used to script all sorts of actions e.g., you can tap a key to open an app or file on your system. It is definitely more powerful than what PowerToys has to offer but you will have to invest a little time to learn how it works.

In terms of system load, AutoHotKey is better. PowerToys isn’t resource-heavy but nothing really beats a script when it comes to a lightweight solution.

Conclusion

If you often have to remap keys on a keyboard, it is worth investing a little time to learn how AutoHotKey works. If you’re stuck using a keyboard with a faulty key and you need to make do until you can have it fixed or replaced, PowerToys is the app for the job.

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