How to Disable the F1 Help Key (Bing Search) in Windows 10

When you press the F1 key in Windows 10, it opens your browser window and loads the How to get help Bing search page showing a video on “how to get help in Windows 10”. Using a registry edit, you can stop F1 from opening your browser especially if it obstructs when gaming or performing other tasks.

disable f1 help key windows 10

As of now, Windows 10 doesn’t have an official help page either online or offline. When you press F1 with no application selected and the focus currently on the desktop, it runs the file HelpPane.exe in your Windows directory. This file in-turn opens your default web browser.

If and when Microsoft releases a proper help page or locally stored help and support system, the executable HelpPane.exe might get updated to redirect you to the correct place. Until then you can disable the key if you wish to.

Disable the F1 Key: Windows Help and Support

Editor’s Note: The methods discussed in this article help you prevent the F1 key from opening the Bing Search page, without affecting the F1 key functionality in individual programs.

Method 1: Using a registry edit

To prevent F1 from opening Bing search, download f1_key_disable_help.zip and run the enclosed registry fix. If you plan to reverse the changes, run the undo registry file.

Here is what the REG contains

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

;Disables F1 key - Help and Support - in Windows 10
;Ramesh Srinivasan, Winhelponline.com

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Typelib\{8cec5860-07a1-11d9-b15e-000d56bfe6ee}\1.0\0\win32]
@=""

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Typelib\{8cec5860-07a1-11d9-b15e-000d56bfe6ee}\1.0\0\win64]
@=""

Method 2: Using AutoHotKey script

AutoHotkey is a free, open-source scripting language for Windows that allows users to easily create small to complex scripts for all kinds of tasks. If you’re an AutoHotKey user, you can create the following script to disable the F1 key on your keyboard.

#IfWinActive, ahk_class ExploreWClass
F1::

#IfWinActive, ahk_class Progman
F1::

#IfWinActive, ahk_class CabinetWClass
F1::

#IfWinActive, ahk_class Notepad
F1::

disable f1 key autohotkey

The first four lines are automatically added when you create a new script via the NewAutoHotKey Script option from the desktop context menu.

Double-click to run this script. To run this script at every login, place a shortcut of this .ahk script file in your Startup folder.

Note: The above script disables the F1 functionality in File Explorer, Notepad, and the Explorer shell environment. The F1 key would still work in all other programs.


Method 3: Lockdown helppane.exe using NTFS permissions

Another option to prevent the F1 key from opening the Bing search is to lock down the file HelpPane.exe using NTFS permissions. HelpPane.exe is the file that launches the Bing search help and support page in Microsoft Edge, using the microsoft-edge: protocol association.



Lockdown helppane.exe

Open an admin Command Prompt window and run these commands:

taskkill /f /im HelpPane.exe
takeown /f %WinDir%\HelpPane.exe
icacls %WinDir%\HelpPane.exe /deny Everyone:(X)

The above commands prevent users from running the helppane.exe file. The F1 key would still work in all other programs.

With the above permission entries, when F1 is pressed, explorer.exe will get Access Denied error when launching helppane.exe and silently fail. This the Bing search page won’t be launched. 

Unlock helppane.exe

To revert the helppane.exe permissions to defaults, run these commands from admin Command Prompt:

icacls %WinDir%\HelpPane.exe /remove:d Everyone
icacls %WinDir%\HelpPane.exe /setowner "NT Service\TrustedInstaller"

If the 2nd command fails to execute and throws the error:

C:\WINDOWS\HelpPane.exe: Access is denied.
Successfully processed 0 files; Failed processing 1 files

Then, use the Permissions GUI to change ownership to NT Service\TrustedInstaller.

Hope one of the above methods proved useful in disabling the F1 help & support key without disabling the F1 functionality in other programs.


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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

15 thoughts on “How to Disable the F1 Help Key (Bing Search) in Windows 10”

  1. Wow, you really saved my life! I would’ve never, ever been able to disable the annoying popup (that kept on opening, and I wasn’t even pressing F1) without your help! Thank you so much, and keep making great programs like these!

    Reply
  2. OH MY GOD YOU ARE AMAZING!
    Thank you so much! I got sick of FN being active all the time (what the hell HP?) so any time I would try to press the 1key and accidentally hit F1 it would open the browser on top and then I would wait for it to load just to close it to either find myself dead or almost dead (in game). You think they would not have this function on an HP Gaming laptop *smh*

    Reply
  3. god bless you, honestly. I went searching in the reg and couldn’t seem to find it so this was very helpful. and what even was the point of that shortcut anyway?? there are MUCH more useful things they could have had that link to, honestly. anyway, thank you again!

    Reply
  4. Thank you!!! When F2+3 are brightness and you accidentally open a dozen separate bing windows instead of dimming the screen, enough is enough.

    Reply
  5. Thank you SO SO SO MUCH!!!

    I’ve always found the F1 thing very annoying, and I wish I’d found this years ago!!

    Thank you!!!

    Reply
  6. This is legit! Thank you for posting this fix!

    I have dropped my fps and almost crashed during gaming so many times accidently hitting F1 instead of ESC. I’m not a fan of companies that won’t let you fully alter your own products but hey at least I will never have to see that useless “help” page again in bing, which is not even my default browser.

    Reply
  7. Thank you so much 🙂 i was using microsoft teams for official purpose, it dint let me ping anyone rather directing to help tab. I was trying to fix the issue and finally your blog helped to fix it.

    Reply

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