How to easily mute volume with a hotkey or shortcut in Windows [Guide]

Windows includes a speaker icon on its system tray from which you can select a Mute audio option. However, Windows doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut that mutes the volume. Nevertheless, with suitable software you can still add a mute keyboard shortcut to Windows.

The software required is NirCmd which is a command-line utility. You can add it to all versions of Windows from this page. Click the Download NirCmd option at the bottom of that page to save it as a Zip file. Then right-click on the Zip file, and click Extract All. Enter a folder location for the software, and select the Extract option to close the window.

Right-click the Windows desktop, and select New > Shortcut to open the window below. It is there that you input the NirCmd software location, followed by mutesysvolume 2. As such, enter: “C:\Path\To\nircmd.exe” mutesysvolume 2 in the location box. Of course, you’ll have to modify that to include the folder location of the NirCmd software.

audio option

Click Next and enter a title for the desktop shortcut. Select Finish to close the window, and you should find a shortcut on the desktop which mutes the volume when selected. You can change the shortcut icon by right-clicking it, selecting Properties > Change Icon and choosing an alternative from the window below.

audio option 2

You can now add a keyboard shortcut to the desktop shortcut. Right-click the shortcut, select Properties and enter a key, such as m, in the Shortcut key text box. That adds a Ctrl + Alt + M shortcut key to the text box. Click Apply > OK to close the window, and then play an audio track. Press the mute shortcut key you added to turn off the volume. If you press it again, the volume comes back on.

audio option 3

That’s just one of the volume shortcut keys you can add to Windows with the NirCmd software. You can also add others that increase or decrease the volume settings by adding setsysvolume 65535, changesysvolume -5000 or changesysvolume 2000 after “C:\Path\To\nircmd.exe” in a Windows desktop shortcut location box. Then add keyboard shortcuts to the desktop shortcuts.

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  • KS2 Problema

    Thanks! This command simple utility works great and has a long list of commands it can send. The keyboard shortcut trick also works very nicely.

    By tinkering the volume change amounts I was able to create ‘custom volume controls’ on my throwaway Dell keyboard — as well as a MUTE button — which my crappy MS Natural ‘lite’ (non-split) keyboard didn’t even have! (Thank goodness I spilled coffee on that POS. I washed it out and we’ll see what comes after it dries out — but, honestly, I hated those flat keys, this giveaway board actually types better.) And NOW it even has a mute control!

    A million thanks for the article — and a big warm-hearted shoutout to NirCmd dev, Nir sofer! Attaboy!

  • Lety

    Yeeeeesssss… I feel like a pro… it totally works….. Thanks bunches..

  • Paul

    Awesome! really works. thanks a lot :)

  • Brainbuster

    This is working great!

  • salb4

    This thing saved me a lot of trouble. I have my pc under the desk, and the cd button is flush to the surface. hard to see. with this software a created a shortcut, to open cd door. GREAT!!!

  • Mr.Dave

    Good application of NirCmd – thanks for helping us learn how to use this great tool!

  • David Roper

    Nir and Irfan are the Kings of Software creation.

    Can you imagine the OS we would use if these two got together?