After recently purchasing a new workstation and laptop for my Photoshop work I was confronted again with an old issue. The Windows Magnifier that opens as a result of the shortcut combination of (WinKey & +/-). Photoshop does not use that shortcut key combination, however it does use (CTRL & +/-) for zooming in and out of an image and sometimes one can miss the CTRL button and press the WinKey by mistake thus launching the application. The problem with this application is that disrupts your work with an application that is difficult to close due to the nature of the outdated design and one that can not be closed using a Wacom tablet.
If you search for how to turn off this application you are presented with many articles telling you to go to the ‘Ease of Access’ section of the Control Panel and uncheck the ‘Turn On Magnifier’. Well needless to say that doesn’t disable the shortcut for launching it, it just is a glorified configuration check box to launch or close it. It is also worth noting that Windows does not have a way to change shortcut keys, so simply altering the shortcut key mapping that launches this program is not possible without a third party application.
How-To Disable Windows Magnifier Permanently
Warning: These instructions show you how disable of the Magnifier completely. It blocks it from opening via shortcut keys or the start menu. If you still need to use the magnifier application do not continue.
Launch the Command Prompt in Admin mode. This can be done in Windows 8 by right clicking on the start menu hover icon and selecting ‘Command Prompt (Admin)’ or in Windows 7 by clicking the start menu and typing ‘cmd’ in the search field.
Run the following two commands to change the ownership and permissions to modify the Magnify.exe from ‘TrustedInstaller’ to ‘Administrator’. Without this step you will get the error ‘File Access Denied … You require permission from TrustedInstaller to make changes to this file’ when attempting to rename the file regardless of having Admin privileges.
Open your file browser and go to My Computer > C drive > Windows > System32. Find the Magnify(.exe) file. Right click on it and go to rename. Change the filename to Magnify_disable(.exe).
Note: Depending on your settings you may not see the .exe extension, if you do not see it do not add it.
Now when you press the (Win & +/-) shortcut key the Magnifier application will not launch.