How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) does?

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narayan
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How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) does?

Post by narayan » 2013 Dec 16, 07:24

Hi!

I am back after a long time! :)

I am facing a strange issue: My 0 key (in the top row, not in numpad) is intercepted by some application.

If I press that key, the currently running program (e.g. calculator, Excel, Word, ....) will simply wait, or exit the mode.
For example, if I am editing a file name in x2, and press the 0 key, x2 exits edit mode.

However, any combinations of this key work normally. For example, SHFT+0 produces ).
Other hotkey combinations like ALT+CTRL+0 etc work just fine.
Only the single key 0 does not work as intended.
The numpad 0 key works, but I prefer to use the top row rather than numpad.

*****
I want to find out which application has hijacked this key, so that I can uninstall it or modify its preferences.
All I found is a program named "autohotkeys" http://lifehacker.com/5243959/activehot ... -available, which scans the PC and lists which hotkeys are already assigned.

But according to its author, Windows does not provide information about what program registered a particular global hotkey. Therefore this information is not available through ActiveHotkeys either.

Is that true (especially in a modern OS like Windows 7)?

In order to find what a hotkey actually does, the usual advise in the forums is that press the hotkey and see what happens. But IMO that's not a good method, as the operation may do something that you did not want. Also, in my case nothing visible happens anyway.

There must be a better way, like checking which process/thread is launched after the hotkey is pressed. (I have a vague idea that I have to check the Process Explorer. But if it is a listener, it would be already running in the background.)

IINW it would be impossible to do this manually.

Any ideas?
Also, can anyone help with a Autohotkey/Autoit/Sikuli script?

Thanks in advance!

Regards,
Narayan

narayan
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Re: How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) doe

Post by narayan » 2013 Dec 16, 07:48

P.S. Just after posting that last message, I came across a possible solution:
http://www.skynergy.com/hotkeyz_portable.html

Unlike the ActiveKeys, this author has managed to find the associated application also (see left column).

It will be a few hours till I go home and try it on my home PC (where the problem is).

Hope this software will help people with similar issues....

Cheers!
Narayan

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nikos
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Re: How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) doe

Post by nikos » 2013 Dec 16, 09:01

whatever happened to you, got trapped under a holy cow? :)

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Re: How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) doe

Post by MKairys » 2013 Dec 16, 14:16

Hi Narayan, good to hear from you again!
Can't say I think much of your possible solution though ;)
Those "categories" just that, not the applications which define the hotkeys. And its list is rather paltry... I use a hotkey program with a few dozen keys defined, which it doesn't see at all; plus there are another dozen defined by Windows it doesn't show.

It's easy to obtain a list of Windows shortcut keys but when it comes to other programs the problem is that all Windows knows is, someone has set a keyboard hook. Only the program that set the hook knows what it will do when it is called; it could be to implement hotkeys or something else entirely.

narayan
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Re: How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) doe

Post by narayan » 2013 Dec 16, 18:29

Yeah, I realized that at office when I tried it out: It only has very few Windows-level shortcuts (not the ones used by any of the software). :(

Even if I know which software it triggers, I can at least uninstall it.
It must be something I installed recently, or something that came as a bundled software with something that I use.

So is there any way that tells me in case there is a listener?
Or something that detects which process/thread executes immediately after I press 0?

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Re: How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) doe

Post by Kilmatead » 2013 Dec 16, 18:37

Yeah, that Skynergy thing isn't very accurate - there is another (far better) free one called Hotkey Explorer (not the "commander" one - that's the full-fat version, there's a separate download for the "explorer" version). And this one is much more accurate, tracking the registered keys back to their owner-programmes and listing them.

Since it's a bit odd for a single numerical key to be used as a hotkey, it may not actually be a proper hotkey at all, but rather a nefarious accelerator callback or something, which would be tougher for a programme to track. You do realise most normal people would just kill all running processes/startup-tasks until they found the offending culprit... just sayin'... :wink:
nikos (Wanton Offender of All World Religions) wrote:got trapped under a holy cow?
Methinks you have a few things to learn about living in the Northern Balkans... they're much more seriously grumpy than you lazy Southern-types... I do hope your wife doesn't let you out of the house after dark...

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Re: How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) doe

Post by MKairys » 2013 Dec 16, 18:51

Kilmatead wrote:Hotkey Explorer ... is much more accurate, tracking the registered keys back to their owner-programmes and listing them.
Yes, this is very cool - I think just what narayan is looking for. It shows all the hotkeys defined by all the hotkey-defining programs on my system - exactly what I just said couldn't be done ;)

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Re: How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) doe

Post by narayan » 2013 Dec 17, 05:05

Thanks, K~!

My office firewall considers that site as "games" and blocks it, but I'll know tonight at home.

yesterday I found that Activehotkeys at least gives the active shortcuts.
I used Process Explorer to kill all known programs one by one, and kept refreshing the activehotkey display.
But the 0 hotkey would not die at all.
Finally some 30 entries remained, but they all looked like services (some cryptic names; not something that I had installed).
So I did not have the courage to kill them too.

Now I am wondering if there is some way to find whether some of these are actually spurious.

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Re: How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) doe

Post by fgagnon » 2013 Dec 17, 05:51

Although it doesn't sound like a hardware problem, you could try swapping out the keyboard -- at least that's quick and easy to eliminate the possibility.

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Re: How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) doe

Post by narayan » 2013 Dec 17, 16:57

I used the hotkey explorer, and found that not only the key 0, but many many more hotkeys are reserved by a single target: "Windows Explorer (taskbar)"
(Most of Win key combos are also reserved by the same application.)

I feel I am very close to a solution!

But how to edit the settings for Windows Explorer and release all these hotkeys?

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Re: How to know what a global hotkey (keyboard shortcut) doe

Post by RightPaddock » 2013 Dec 18, 08:44

narayan wrote:I used the hotkey explorer, and found that not only the key 0, but many many more hotkeys are reserved by a single target: "Windows Explorer (taskbar)"
(Most of Win key combos are also reserved by the same application.)

I feel I am very close to a solution!

But how to edit the settings for Windows Explorer and release all these hotkeys?
what they all are : http://www.shortcutworld.com/en/win/Win ... tml#link_3

how to change them - not : http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/wind ... b896e80c3f - can be done with AHK.
I couldn't live without my Win+1-9 for task switching, much better than Alt/Tab etc

On my system hotkey_explorer program did not report that Word Web had ctrl/~ and quite a few others . When I clicked Quit it started every 'program' I have in my taskbar and bought every program I run in the tray to the foreground, and for good measure it started the magnifier - what a PITA. Thank Stars the Satans of Seattle gave me ctrl/shift/esc.

Needless to say hotkey_explorer has been consigned to the bit bucket, where it can join forces with the keyboard I dumped there a couple of months ago

The keyboard's right Alt key decided it really wanted to be the Sleep button. It took me several WTF's before I figured that one out out. If you'd asked me before that happened - how often do you use the right Alt key - I probably would have said not often. I would have been wrong, I use it all the time in MS Office to invoke quick access toolbar items. or to display ribbon shortcuts, I also use it in the alt/space+N, C, X sequences. Not even me knows what I do when I'm not looking :roll:

RP
Windows 10 Pro (64 bit) version 1809 - Xplorer2 version: Pro 2.5.0.4 [Unicode] x64 2014-06-21

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