Posted to the window with the keyboard focus when the user releases a key that was pressed while the ALT key was held down. It also occurs when no window currently has the keyboard focus; in this case, the WM_SYSKEYUP message is sent to the active window. The window that receives the message can distinguish between these two contexts by checking the context code in the lParam parameter.

A window receives this message through its WindowProc function.

#define WM_SYSKEYUP                     0x0105



The virtual-key code of the key being released. See Virtual-Key Codes.


The repeat count, scan code, extended-key flag, context code, previous key-state flag, and transition-state flag, as shown in the following table.

Bits Meaning
0-15 The repeat count for the current message. The value is the number of times the keystroke is autorepeated as a result of the user holding down the key. The repeat count is always one for a WM_SYSKEYUP message.
16-23 The scan code. The value depends on the OEM.
24 Indicates whether the key is an extended key, such as the right-hand ALT and CTRL keys that appear on an enhanced 101- or 102-key keyboard. The value is 1 if it is an extended key; otherwise, it is zero.
25-28 Reserved; do not use.
29 The context code. The value is 1 if the ALT key is down while the key is released; it is zero if the WM_SYSKEYUP message is posted to the active window because no window has the keyboard focus.
30 The previous key state. The value is always 1 for a WM_SYSKEYUP message.
31 The transition state. The value is always 1 for a WM_SYSKEYUP message.

For more details, see Keystroke Message Flags.

Return value

An application should return zero if it processes this message.


The DefWindowProc function sends a WM_SYSCOMMAND message to the top-level window if the F10 key or the ALT key was released. The wParam parameter of the message is set to SC_KEYMENU.

When the context code is zero, the message can be passed to the TranslateAccelerator function, which will handle it as though it were a normal key message instead of a character-key message. This allows accelerator keys to be used with the active window even if the active window does not have the keyboard focus.

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 lParam parameter.

For non-U.S. enhanced 102-key keyboards, the right ALT key is handled as a CTRL+ALT key. The following table shows the sequence of messages that result when the user presses and releases this key.

Message Virtual-key code


Requirement Value
Minimum supported client
Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps only]
Minimum supported server
Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]
Winuser.h (include Windows.h)

See also