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How to Stop F1 Key from Opening Help (Bing) in Windows 10 and 11

When you press the F1 key in Windows 10 or 11, it opens Microsoft Edge 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.

As of now, Windows 10 or Windows 11 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.

Stop F1 Key from Opening Help

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,

  1. Download
  2. Unzip the archive and extract the registry files to the desktop.
  3. Double-click f1_key_disable_help.reg to apply the registry settings.
  4. Click Yes when asked for confirmation.
  5. Click OK.

That’s it! Now, the F1 key will do nothing when you’re in Desktop or folder view.

(Note: Later on, if you plan to reverse the changes, run the undo registry file named undo.reg.)

Here is what the REG contains

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

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



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

#IfWinActive, ahk_class Progman

#IfWinActive, ahk_class CabinetWClass

#IfWinActive, ahk_class Notepad

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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