Permanently Turn Off Windows 8 Magnifier

Permanently Turn Off Windows 8 Magnifier

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this application is that disrupts your work with an application that is difficult to close due to the nature of the outdated design and one that can not be closed using a Wacom tablet.

ease-of-access-center-turn-off-magnifier-win8If 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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

>takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\Magnify.exe
>cacls C:\Windows\System32\Magnify.exe /G administrator:F


Step 3

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.

  • LG

    I’m stuck. After I entered the second command it said “No mapping between account name and security IDs was done”…. ?? Now what – any idea? Thanks.

    • Rasmus

      Replace “admin:F” with “your user id:F”

    • Brian York

      @LG The default windows administrator account is “Administrator”. I miss typed above (fixed now). So the command should be as below.

      >cacls C:\Windows\System32\Magnify.exe /G administrator:F

      Hope that helps!

  • S33k3r

    Worked flawless, Thanks a lot

  • Kevin

    Why did Microsoft make something so b…..y difficult to remove. Usually only disreputable anti-virus companies do that.
    Perhaps it is time that I went with Apple.

    • Brian York

      I think its strange as well that its difficult to turn off but Apple has its annoyances too.

  • Kevin

    I am stuck because the change to Magnify_disable.exe requires administrator permission though I don’t have a password set.
    The syntax is all correct, “file processed” and Administrator etc

    • Brian York

      If you set a password does it allow you to continue to make the changes? You should always have an administrator password!

  • J.Adik

    Changing the user account to my userid was a critical step. Once I had done this, I was able to run a rename command, while still within the Administrator command prompt session. As a review, open command prompt and enter the following, replacing the text ‘username’ with your actual windows username:

    > takeown /f C:WindowsSystem32Magnify.exe
    > cacls C:WindowsSystem32Magnify.exe /G username:F

    > rename Magnify.exe Magnify-Disabled.exe

    Note: this assumes that your command prompt session opened to c:Windowssystem32 as mine did.

    Hope this helps!

  • FromEarth

    Thank you so much! I use Windows in Parallels on my MacBook Pro, and the magnifier was a real pain. It’s such a relief to finally have it disabled!

  • Ry

    This is great and totally worked with taking control, only one problem.. It didn’t disable it at all! I guess maybe I’m aiming towards something different. I even deleted the whole file and it still didn’t work. Honestly all I want is for the keyboard shortcuts to go away. I have never used “magnify” ever, but all of a sudden the certain commands I now need do other commands. I do know that certain computer/windows/system commands over ride other programs. Is there anyway possible I can stop this?? I would like to at least stop the magnify as the few keyboard cues I need are within that file. Thank You!

  • EC

    Thanks so much! You’ve saved me from setting my computer on fire every time I go to do work in Ps. ^_^

    • Brian York

      Awesome! I know the feeling 😀