What is hotkey.exe?

The .exe extension on a filename indicates an executable file. Executable files may, in some cases, harm your computer. Therefore, please read below to decide for yourself whether the hotkey.exe on your computer is a Trojan that you should remove, or whether it is a file belonging to the Windows operating system or to a trusted application.

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Hotkey.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with hotkey
Hotkey.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as TOSHIBA Hotkey Filter Application or Lenovo Black Silk USB Keyboard or TinianFn or HotKey MFC Application or Performance Logs and Alerts Service or OneTouchHotKey MFC Application or Launch-n-Go or Hotkey Microsoft

belongs to software TOSHIBA Hotkey Utility or Lenovo Black Silk USB Keyboard or TinianFn or HotKey MFC Application or ASUS Hotkey or OneTouchHotKey Application or Microsoft Windows Operating System or Keyword Hotkey

by Lenovo ( or JME or LG Electronics ( or TOSHIBA ( or ASUS ( or Microsoft ( or Pmx. Electronics ( or Tethys Solutions.

Description: Hotkey.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. Hotkey.exe is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files". Known file sizes on Windows 8/7/XP are 114,688 bytes (15% of all occurrences), 225,280 bytes and 38 more variants. 
The hotkey.exe file is not a Windows core file. The application starts upon Windows startup (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run, MACHINE\User Shell Folders, RunOnce, Run). Hotkey.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs. Therefore the technical security rating is 45% dangerous; however you should also read the user reviews.
If you encounter difficulties with hotkey.exe, you can uninstall Toshiba Hotkey Utility or Hotkey software via Windows Control Panel/Add or Remove Programs (Windows XP) or Programs and Features (Windows 8/7/Vista).

Recommended: Identify hotkey.exe related errors

If hotkey.exe is located in a subfolder of C:\Windows, the security rating is 41% dangerous. The file size is 118,784 bytes (35% of all occurrences), 610,304 bytes and 6 more variants. It is an unknown file in the Windows folder. It is not a Windows core file. The process starts upon Windows startup (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run, MACHINE\User Shell Folders, RunOnce, Run). The program has no visible window. Hotkey.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs.

If hotkey.exe is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder, the security rating is 68% dangerous. The file size is 18,944 bytes (20% of all occurrences), 70,000 bytes, 1,219,992 bytes, 20,992 bytes or 78,192 bytes. The program has no visible window. The file is located in the Windows folder, but it is not a Windows core file. The hotkey.exe file is not a Windows system file. The software starts upon Windows startup (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run, MACHINE\User Shell Folders, RunOnce, Run). Hotkey.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs, hide itself and monitor applications.

External information from Paul Collins:

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as hotkey.exe, particularly when located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the hotkey.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

Enables special keys on Chicony keyboards. Special combinations include Internet, E-mail, vol+, vol-, mute, etc. Only required for extended features
ASUS utility used for mapping special keys on a laptop
want it out of pc
  d. sanchez  
enables keys on flatbed-scanner; Name: PrimaxOne Touch MFC Application; (Path: %windir%\Twain_32\FladBed\HotKey.exe)
It's part of the TWAIN-support drivers for the scanner-drivers (installed as part of camera software, under C:\winnt\twain_32). I removed it, since I don't have a scanner.
  Shalom Craimer  
part of LG Onscreen display software, needed for several shortcut button
TOSHIBA utility used for mapping special keys on a laptop
  Fernando Torres  
TOSHIBA laptop utility for key combinations with the Fn key.
it's a virus according to norton and i want to remove it. it slows the performance of my computer.
It is a Toshiba utility
  Ian B   (further information)
My virus protector keeps blocking this program as "medium risk". Since the icon has been popping up in my taskbar, my pc has been running extremely slow. I will probably delete it since my keyboard does not have the "Fn" button, and I have not been using my scanner. Thanks for the information provided. 4-10-09
info from hotkey.exe is a an application which belongs to the OneTouchHotKey Application by Pmx. Electronics Ltd. "This program is a non-essential process, but should not be terminated unless suspected to be causing problems.
  Teresa 4-10-09 1:38pm   (further information)
not dangerous it freezes up my computer every 5 secs for a millisec mouse an all i killed the process and the problem stopped, no harm done
I Know This Virus Will Slow Down Your Computer And You Will Need Professinal Help To Remove It
hotkey,exe is a universal name for the process that allows you to use shortcuts using the keyboard. EX:FN+F3 on my comp mutes sound. Without hotkey.exe, it would not work. Ii is completely harmless, unless infected by malware.
Same experience as jeff. Every 5 seconds, the computer froze, and any audio or video froze as well. The CPU usage spiked every 5 seconds or so, oscillating between 9 and sometimes 100%. Thanks to Ian B, though. The "further information" link showed that it is not applicable to all Toshiba laptops, including mine (Toshiba Satellite M45 series). I deleted it and now my video and audio is fine again and the computer speeded up.
Used for keyboards that can control volume, quick button internet etc.
installed itself after trying to get toshiba fn buttons to work again... but it ended up freezing the pc every few seconds and i cant see how to get it permanently removed. not a published service/app, not in add/remove programs, not in windows/system32 as some have said before. searching for hotkey.exe while enabling hidden files does not find it.
PHotkey is frequently installed by a computer mfg to direct input from the user to a pre-installed program. Removing the utility will make it necessary to access the target program manually.
  T R Frazier  
Memory Hog
It prompts alerts whenever pressing caps lock/num lock that can't be stopped and get very irritating. Removing Hotkey seems to have had absolutely no adverse effects.

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of hotkey.exe: based on 23 votes with 21 user comments. 11 users think hotkey.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 2 users think it's probably harmless. 5 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 3 users suspect danger. 2 users think hotkey.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 2 users don't grade hotkey.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving hotkey issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with hotkey. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using cleanmgr and sfc /scannow, uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using msconfig) and enabling Windows' Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off doing a repair of your installation, or in the case of Windows 8, executing the DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the hotkey.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: Security Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

hotkey.exe [all]