I need a Windows program which can display all keys pressed on a keyboard, basically an equivalent of the xev(1) program for X11, in order to troubleshoot a problem I have which I'm not sure is hardware related or not. Googling for "keyboard logging" gives a whole bunch of various programs, all geared towards secretly figuring out if your spouse is doing something he or she shouldn't be doing, and several of them have warnings about "this program has been reported to be malicious".

Can anyone recommend a good keyboard event logger, in the spirit of "xev"?

  • Good question, I've got a problem with random keys being "stuck" on my POS keyboard, so I've been looking for something like this and had the same problems finding it. – Adam Neal Jul 22 '10 at 12:52

There's a utility in the windows SDK, called spy++ that can do this.

To log all keyboard messages make sure you enable all windows in the system checkbox, and filter for Keyboard message types.

  • How about global shortcuts captured by programs like WinAmp? They won't get through to Notepad then, right? – JesperE May 13 '09 at 8:44
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    I just tryed it with the aforementioned notepad setup - you're right, probgrams like winamp can intercept and terminate the messages. You can however use spy++ to log messages from all windows - and this does indeed include winamp gloabal shortcuts. i love winamp. – chickeninabiscuit May 14 '09 at 1:11
  • Thanks, exactly what I needed to figure out what key is stuck on my stupid keyboard! – Adam Neal Jul 22 '10 at 14:04
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    spy++ seems to have disappeared from the Windows SDK. Do you have any idea where it's gone, or if there's a newer tool that provides this functionality? – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jul 31 '13 at 9:39
  • If you have Visual Studio installed, spy++ should be available under the Tools menu. – BurnsBA Mar 13 '18 at 23:19

I've used PassMark KeyboardTest before and it was just what I needed. It shows what keys are being pressed on the keyboard.

It's not exactly free, but there's a free 30-day trial download available. Of course, if you only need it once you can probably get away with the evaluation version.


My usual quick solution for this is keylook.exe<1>.

<1> ftp://ftp.charlespetzold.com/ProgWin95/CHAP05/


You can try keycode.info

It is the only online keyboard tester which I found that respects location of modifier keys, i.e. you can see the difference between left Alt and right Alt for example. However, it only shows last event, but has no logging area. Probably you can contribute to author's project.


The keyboard debugger at


Tracks full keyboard state


I'm note sure the level of logging you want but could Keyboard Jedi be a solution?

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    Keyboard logger seems to report only registered shortcuts, not all keyboard events, which makes it mostly useless for this use case. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jul 31 '13 at 9:50

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