Scott Hanselman

How to disable the On-Screen Touch Keyboard in Windows 8

April 17, 2013 Comment on this post [30] Posted in Win8
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It's lovely, isn't it. It's the Windows 8 on-screen keyboard, except I don't need or want to see it. I have a Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch and it already has a keyboard. I will never ever want to use the Windows 8 touch keyboard. Unfortunately there is no checkbox or "just turn it off" way to disable the keyboard with a supported option.

However, there is a way to effectively disable the keyboard by stopping the service that controls it.

  • Press the Windows key + W
  • Type "services," and press Enter
  • Scroll down to "Touch screen keyboard and handwriting panel"
  • You can either right click and "Stop" or you can double-click and change it from "Automatic" startup to "Manual."

This will of course, disable both the touch keyboard and handwriting service, so you'll lose handwriting recognition. This was totally worth it to me and has made my touch screen laptop experience much better, especially when I'm using the Full Screen Browser. I hope this helps!

Note that if you have a touch only device, or a detachable keyboard, you could get yourself into a tough spot without an on-screen keyboard, so just have your mouse ready and a plan to turn this service back on if you get in trouble. ;) 

If you're having any other problems with Windows 8, I encourage you to check out my simple "Windows 8 Missing Instruction Manual" blog post and YouTube video. It's helped a lot of people and could help you!


About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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April 17, 2013 13:03
Maybe this could be inmproved by making two batch-files with "net stop [servicename]" and "net start [servicename]" and pin them to the startscreen.
April 17, 2013 14:36
Hi Scott,
Can you share a few words/opinion about this Grand Machine?
ASUS K55VM Cool Metallic Chic
April 17, 2013 15:05
Just another example (in a long list) of how Windows 8 gets in the way of productivity rather than improving it. I've got an X1 too and I find that after 6 months, I NEVER use the tiled start screen unless I have to get to an app I can't get to any other way. And my desktop task bar is filled with pinned stuff that has become a replacement for the start menu.
April 17, 2013 15:28
Hi Scott,

From your blog feed, i am redirecting to this site Do you know about this?

April 17, 2013 16:20
On my Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch, Win8 Pro, the service name is Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service, not sure why the naming is different.

Thanks for the tip!
April 17, 2013 17:50
This doesn't happen on my Dell XPS 12, unless if I am in tablet mode where I actually need on screen keyboard. Way to go Dell!
April 17, 2013 18:24
I haven't had issues with this on the Surface, either, when the keyboard is out. In fact, if I have any problem, it's the opposite problem: the device becomes convinced the keyboard is available and won't raise the touch keyboard until I detach and reattach the cover. I don't know if it's something that the Surface (and Naveed reports the Dell XPS) does right or something your Lenovo does wrong, I don't have enough data to judge.
April 17, 2013 18:58
I have the opposite problem. I have (and my customers have) Windows 8 tablets (Surface) where the on-screen keyboard works like a charm in the Metro interface - but flat out fails to automatically display on text-field focus on the desktop.

It's nice that the keyboard can be dismissed (and even raised from the taskbar) but not having it auto display on text field focus is EXTREMELY annoying!
April 17, 2013 19:05
I spent a whole weekend trying to figure out why Win8 wouldn't recognize the keyboard on my desktop. The odd thing was, the keyboard worked on the login screen so I could type my password. Just stopped working when it got to the desktop.

Maybe I'll try to install it again this weekend. I wondered at the time if there was some setting that caused this to happen. Perhaps it's where this setting is changed?

April 17, 2013 20:08
It looks more of a driver issue to me. I use SurfacePro, the touch keyboard only shows when focus on a input field and when the TouchCover is folded back or detached.
April 17, 2013 22:09
That on-screen keyboard should recognize if the input field is for a password. For example, when you're projecting your screen to another (large-screen) monitor and encounter an HTML password field, the keyboard should pop up for use, but should not show the keys being pressed, so that anyone else looking at the other monitor would not know what you typed.
April 18, 2013 2:21
Love the X1 Carbon!
April 18, 2013 2:33
For whatever reason, this doesn't permanently disable the keyboard (or toolbar icon) when in VMware Fusion. On a resume, it's back.
April 18, 2013 13:31
Hi Scott,

On my Win 8/64 Pro desktop machine, Windows-Key+W does nothing. I always disable Windows dog-slow Search facility, and replace it with the speed-demon freeware "Agent Ransack" utility, which is at least twenty times faster, and provides substantially more functionality.

My guess is: disabling Windows search also disables the Windows-Key+W keyboard short-cut.

To get to the Services configuration facility I use: Windows-Key+R, followed by typing in: services.msc

You can also access the Services facility, of course, via menu: Start/Administrative Tools/Services.

I am using Start8 to bypass Modern, and have ripped every shred of Modern, and all default Windows Modern facilities, I can, out of the OS.

Thanks for reminding me of yet another service I can disable !

thanks, Bill
April 18, 2013 13:38
@Krunal Mevada:

Of course Scott is aware of this. I assume you, like me, are blocking, for good reasons, so all links in the e-mail newsletter are unusable.

If everyone using FeedBlitz to serve content were as responsible as Scott: of course, I would not be blocking it !

Just go to Scott's home-page everything mentioned in the e-mail is there, and I've had no problem, so far, accessing anything on Scott's excellent blog.

yours, Bill
April 21, 2013 18:30
Well, I'm trying to figure out why you'd actually want to do this? The onscreen keyboard popups in Metro/Modern/Whatsitcallednow apps whenever an input element receives focus via touch.

Now if I'm assuming correctly, you're using touch to focus on to a textbox because it's faster than sliding the cursor to it and then getting irritated that the soft keyboard pops up. But the softkeyboard auto hides the moment you start typing on the physical keyboard, so it has to be because it's irritating isn't it?

Well, enter a suggestion to the MS feedback mail and ask for a setting to disable the soft keyboard for touch screen notebooks then. At the same time could you please remind them the touch cursor in DESKTOP mode is something they should bring back? :P
May 14, 2013 22:18
Thank you so much. It took me forever to try and figure that out myself; would you believe I was very close, but disabled the wrong thing?... right next to the option you mentioned. D'oh.
May 20, 2013 20:17
Thanks, Scott! This was a big help.
June 22, 2013 10:17
That's all right but I want to disable auto-hide of the keyboard. As soon as I press the button on the physical keyboard on my laptop, keyboard vanishes. I want it to stay as I press the keys on the keyboard.
July 14, 2013 9:36
Hi Scott,

Is there a way to completely disable touch input on X1 Carbon? Usually, when we discuss on the issues on the production servers open, people have tendency to touch the screen which might have consequences.
I wonder is there a way I can make x1 carbon to act as if the screen is not touch enabled.

July 27, 2013 21:23
Physical keyboard won't work, except for logon. Hate onscreen. How do I make the keyboard work? Easy, please--I'm "technically challenged".
July 30, 2013 1:34
Thanks for that. After searching numerous pages, this worked! Thanks again.
August 01, 2013 0:33
Thanks a lot! I connect my physical keyboard to my ultrabook and the onscreen keyboard was annoying!
September 05, 2013 11:15
thanks alot its done for me .
October 31, 2013 0:49

Does not work on windows 8.1

Shows as disabled and stopped and still loads

Tried reboot

same results

November 03, 2013 22:48
If I could kiss you, I would! Thank you so much! I love my computer but hated the on-screen keyboard. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
November 11, 2013 21:16
Just like TEXAS said the service is no longer enabled on the list but it still loads the tactile keyboard every time it boots up.

It is not a real bother but since I don´t have a touch screen laptop it seems absurd that it continues to load and win 8.1 doesn´t have a way to get rid of these annoying things.

By the way, I assume this is the new paradigm and must be great on a tablet but a lot of us have machines that will run 8.1 just fine but will never have touch screens so why aren´t these services and interface configurable.

I use an i Pad and understand the need for tiles on a tablet but they are of no use in a non touch environment.

November 16, 2013 0:19
Thank you soooo much.
November 17, 2013 23:04
Thank you so very much!! The auto touch keyboard was driving me crazy. It is so much better now-- thanks for the tip!
November 26, 2013 10:10
Thank you so much .. God bless you!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.