Make a Windows keyboard key act like a different one

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There’s a key on my Windows keyboard that I never use: Caps Lock.  I think probably the majority of people don’t use it.  And those that do use it regularly, shouldn’t!  When you type in all caps, it is considered the equivalent of yelling.  It’s rude.

keyboard

 

Yet there it is on the keyboard.  Which means I can very easily hit it by mistake – a common occurrence.  I tend to type pretty quickly (I get a lot of practice) so even if I’m looking at the screen I could have several words typed after accidentally hitting the Caps Lock key.  I hate when I do that.

Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t come with a setting called “Disable Caps Lock”.  I don’t know why not, because it would be pretty handy.  But there is a solution, and it’s free.



You could do this manually if you just followed the proper steps.  But you should not attempt this.  Fixing this involves editing the Windows Registry – that’s an area of your computer that you shouldn’t mess with.  If you make a mistake, even a small one, it could really screw up your computer.

Rather than trying to edit the Registry yourself and hoping you do it right, you can instead use a cool little program called SharpKeys.  You can get it free here.

Just download and install it.  Nice bonus – the installation didn’t try to sneak any junkware in with it.  I guess the programmer, Randy, either has a bit of integrity or just doesn’t realize how much money there is to be made.  Either way, I was pleasantly surprised about that.

SharpKeys edits the Registry for you, but it makes the process very easy and virtually foolproof.  This is because of the simple user interface.  How simple is it?  Here are the instructions from the programmer’s website:

SharpKeys instructions

To use the program, it’s as simple as choosing the key you want to change, and choosing what you want it to do.  You can choose the key either by selecting it from a list, or by just hitting the key itself.  If you don’t want to actually change the key, you can just disable it (that’s what I did with the Caps Lock key).  The final step is the “Write to Registry” button, then you will need to do a restart for the change to take effect.

One thing to note is that the website says that you need to be running Windows 2000, XP, Vista or 7 and doesn’t mention Windows 8.  This is probably because the program was created before Windows 8 came out.  I installed it on both Windows 7 and Windows 8, and it works fine.

Final thought: this program might come in handy on April Fool’s Day, if you have access to the computer of a friend or co-worker to install it.  Maybe every time he or she types a question mark, it instead comes up as an exclamation point.  Not that I would ever do that of course, but some people might find it amusing.

What would you use this program to do?  Anything other than disabling the Caps Lock key?

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Laverne
August 26th, 2013

Scott,

SharpKeys might be used to disable the right CTRL key. When typing a capital A, sometimes the right CTRL key is hit instead of the right Shift key. Of course, this causes a Select All and highlights the entire text — and the next key pressed wipes out everything highlighted. This has happened to a number of my elderly friends who tell me that their entire email “disappeared.”

Laverne

Scott Johnson
August 26th, 2013

Excellent suggestion Laverne!

paulette
September 5th, 2013

Thank you so much for your help with my ribbon.