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How to Stop the Caps Lock Popup on Lenovo Laptops

I am having an issue with a huge Caps Lock popup notification appearing in the center of my screen, and it does not seem like there is an easy way to turn it off.

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By. Jacob

Edited: 2022-02-04 12:43

I ran into a particularly annoying problem with an "ABC" or "abc" Caps Lock popup notification in the center of my screen on my new Lenovo laptop. Initially I thought that it was Microsoft's making, but after fiddling around and disabling some Lenovo processes in the background I finally managed to make it go away.

It turns out the Program you need to disable is named "This utility controls special keyboard functions like hotkeys and function keys, on your Lenovo notebook.", which is one of the longest titles I have ever seen for a program — if not the longest :-P

The name of the .exe file is FnHotkeyUtility.exe, and runs as the service "Lenovo Fn and function keys service". Personally I just decided to delete the file, since there was no way to uninstall it. To be exact, I first disabled the service, and then I deleted the file. However, deleting the file was not initially possible due to NTFS permission issues.

If you want to avoid having to close the program via Task Manager on each bootup, you will need to either remove the .exe file, uninstall the program somehow, or disable the service in the startup settings for services.

Regardless what you do, the Fn Hotkey functions seem to continue working, presumably because Windows has its own driver or something. But, the annoying Caps Lock popup will be gone. Yay!

Here is a video showing how to quit the service in Task Manager:

How to disable the FnHotkey Service

Disabling the service is probably safer than deleting the file completely, since it seems it is somehow integrated in the system. I have so much Windows experience that I know deleting the file will probably not do any harm, but I better show you how to do it the "right way" as well.

Now, there are multiple ways to access services; you can either do it through Task Manager, or you can simply open up the GUI via start. I suggest you try via start first, because the services UI we are looking after is a bit harder to find via Task Manager.

1. Click on start, search for "Services" and open the services UI.

2. The name of the service is Lenovo Fn and function keys service, find it, then right click on it and open Properties.

Windows services window, the location of properties right-click option

3. A new window opens, and here you should be able to change the startup type. The default type is "automatic", you can go ahead and set this to "disabled".

Disable autorun on startup for a service in the services properties dialog.

How to delete FnHotkeyUtility.exe

Note. It may be better to simply disable the Lenovo Hotkey service at startup. There is a setting that disables it and prevents it from running when your computer boots up, but it is hidden deep within the service- settings in Task Manager.

I was unable to uninstall the program, since there is no uninstaller for it in add & remove programs on my system, so instead I tried deleting the FnHotkeyUtility.exe file. This turned out to be very difficult, since it is protected by SYSTEM, and there is no easy way to take ownership of the file.

In my case, the file was located in:

C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\lenovofnandfunctionkeys.inf_amd64_2f1b6109fa237c16

The exact name of the last directory might be different on your system, but you can get the correct path in Task Manager by looking at the properties of the file.

Unfortunately, an uninstaller may not be available. I am on Windows 11 myself, so that may have something to do with it. However, we can just try to delete the file.

There are probably more than one way to take ownership of a file in order to delete it, in my case I figured I just needed to copy the permissions from my users directory, and delete the file from a PowerShell terminal.

1. Open a Windows Terminal as Administrator by clicking on start, and searching for "Terminal". Right click on the Windows Terminal icon and choose "Run as Administrator".

2. use the Set-Acl command to take ownership of the file:

Set-Acl -AclObject (Get-Acl -Path $HOME) -Path "C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\lenovofnandfunctionkeys.inf_amd64_2f1b6109fa237c16\FnHotkeyUtility.exe"

3. Finally, you will be able to delete the file:

del "C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\lenovofnandfunctionkeys.inf_amd64_2f1b6109fa237c16\FnHotkeyUtility.exe"

Keep in mind, it may be better to simply disable the service at startup; doing that is done via Task Manager in the services section. But, it is not very user friendly, since you can not search for the service of interest, and so, you have to browse through a bunch of other services in order to find what you are looking for. The services GUI is just awful.

Permission issues

Trying to delete the file by normal means will result in a popup message about some sort of permission issue, and this even happens when you are using the administrator account. The message will look like this:

You need permission to perform this action

You require permissions from SYSTEM to make changes to this file

FnHotkeyUtility.exe
File description:
Company: Lenovo(beijing) Limited
File version: 2.0.0.0
Date created: 21/11/2021 19.22
Size: 795 KB

This is a NTFS permission issue, and I just do not know how to get around that without using a terminal window. You can not simply change the permissions on the file, and booting into safe mode does also not allow you to delete it!

I even tried deleting the file from Windows terminal (PowerShell) that i had opened with "Run as Administrator"; using the del command like this still results in permission issues. The file is owned by SYSTEM, and it will not allow you to change the permissions easily from the GUI, despite using an administrator account. Insanely moronic.

Instead, I found I had to somehow take ownership of the file using the set-acl command to change the NTFS permissions of the file. Copying the permissions from an existing file or directory should be easier than typing in your own, hence the use of (Get-Acl -Path $HOME) to copy the permissions from $HOME.

Set-Acl -AclObject (Get-Acl -Path $HOME) -Path "C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\lenovofnandfunctionkeys.inf_amd64_2f1b6109fa237c16\FnHotkeyUtility.exe"

Lenovo bloatware

I am on Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 14ARE05, with Windows 11, but other Lenovo laptops may also be affected by this problem.

Other services I tried disabling:

  1. Lenovo Intelligent Sensing Service
  2. Lenovo Intelligent Sensing Application
  3. Lenovo Fn and function keys service

Stuff like this can usually be safely disabled. Manufactures has been notorious for installing bloatware, and oftentimes the default software that comes with Windows has performed better than alternatives made by the manufacture.

The fact that someone came up with this idea is truly mind-boggling — I mean, the popup is often in the way, covering text on the screen, and making it difficult to write. This "feature" is easily the most annoying thing I had to deal with in a long time.

I even tried to check the "Turn off all unnecessary animations (when possible)" option in control panel, as some tutorials recommend, but this does not seem to have any effect.

Tell us what you think:

Raven

I disabled this silly on-screen popup once before, then it came back randomly after an update. This is the FIRST walkthrough I have found that has actually disabled this popup for good. Thank you, Jacob!!

Jacob

@Raven Actually, it also came back fo me, so it looks like this is just going to be one of those things we need to re-do every time Microsoft decides to sabotage our systems with their broken updates :-p haha

Thanks for commenting! I am on MacBook Pro at work, and this is even worse. E.g. Mac has an annoying delay on the Caps Lock key that can not be turned off in the settings, and you have to install a third party program just to remove that :-/