A version of this page is also available for

Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R3


This message is posted to the window with the keyboard focus when a nonsystem key is pressed. A nonsystem key is a key that is pressed when the ALT key is not pressed.


WM_KEYDOWN nVirtKey = (int) wParam; 
    lKeyData = lParam;


  • nVirtKey
    Specifies the virtual-key code of the nonsystem key.
  • lKeyData
    Specifies the repeat count, context code, previous key-state flag, and transition-state flag, as shown in the following table.

    Value Description


    Specifies the repeat count. The value is the number of times the keystroke is repeated as a result of the user holding down the key.


    Specifies the scan code. This value depends on the original equipment manufacturer.


    Specifies the context code. The value is 1 if the ALT key is held down while the key is pressed; otherwise, the value is 0.


    Specifies the previous key state. The value is 1 if the key is down before the message is sent, or it is 0 if the key is up.


    Specifies the transition state. The value is 1 if the key is being released, or it is 0 if the key is being pressed.

Return Value

An application should return zero if it processes this message.

  • Default Action
    If the F10 key is pressed, the DefWindowProc function sets an internal flag. When DefWindowProc receives the WM_KEYUP message, the function checks whether the internal flag is set and, if so, sends a WM_SYSCOMMAND message to the top-level window. The wParam parameter of the message is set to SC_KEYMENU.


Because of the autorepeat feature, more than one WM_KEYDOWN message may be posted before a WM_KEYUP message is posted. The previous key state (bit 30) can be used to determine whether the WM_KEYDOWN message indicates the first down transition or a repeated down transition.

For enhanced 101- and 102-key keyboards, extended keys are the right ALT and CTRL keys on the main section of the keyboard; the INS, DEL, HOME, END, PAGE UP, PAGE DOWN and arrow keys in the clusters to the left of the numeric keypad; and the divide (/) and ENTER keys in the numeric keypad. Other keyboards may support the extended-key bit in the lKeyData parameter.


Header winuser.h
Windows Embedded CE Windows CE 1.0 and later
Windows Mobile Windows Mobile Version 5.0 and later

See Also


Keyboard Messages