How to disable the Caps Lock key

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To me, the Caps Lock key on the keyboard is nothing but a useless annoyance.  I have blogged before about typing in all caps (you shouldn’t).  I seem to frequently hit that Caps Lock key and find that suddenly I am virtually yelling at my audience.  I don’t yell in person, so I don’t want to in print either.

Turn off caps lock


So, for the computer that I use on a regular basis here in my office, I disabled the Caps Lock key.  Now it doesn’t matter if I hit it accidentally, because it doesn’t do anything.  If you follow the steps below, you can disable your Caps Lock key also (instructions are based on Windows 7).

Warning: the steps listed below include editing the Registry.  If you don’t do this correctly, you can really mess up your computer.  I have included a couple of safety precautions as part of the process.  Still, check out the instructions and decide if you want to proceed.  Then do this at your own risk.

Before you do anything or make any changes to the Registry, you should set a restore point.  This means that if something goes wrong, you can take the computer back to the state it was in before you messed it up.  To set a restore point, click the MS logo and right-click on Computer, then choose Properties.  Click on System Protection.  At the bottom of that window, click on “Create”.  For the description you can call it “before caps lock disable”, then click the Create button.  The first safety precaution is done.

The second safety precaution is to create a backup of your Registry.  To do this, click the MS logo and in the search field, type regedit and hit Enter.  This will bring up the Registry Editor:

Registry Editor


Click on File – Export.  For Export Range, choose “All”.  In file name, type “regbackup”.  This should be saving by default in your Documents folder (if not, just make a note of where it is being saved so you know where to find it if things go haywire).

Now we are ready to actually do the Caps Lock disable process:

1. Click the MS logo and type regedit then hit Enter, to bring back up the Registry Editor.

2. Find the line that says “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE”, and click the little triangle at the beginning of that line.  You will see that this expands the subfolders under it:

registry editor

We are just going to keep drilling down a few levels in these subfolders.

3. Click to expand “System”

4. Click to expand “CurrentControlSet”

5. Click to expand “Control”

6. Now you should see a list of subfolders and included there is one called “Keyboard Layout”.  This time, instead of clicking to expand it, you want to click once right on the words “Keyboard Layout”.

7. Now, over on the right side of the screen, in an open area, do a right click and choose New – Binary Value.

8. You will see immediately that the name “New Value #1” is highlighted.  We are going to rename this (you don’t have to delete it, just start typing to rename it).  You need to type “Scancode Map” in that field, then hit Enter to lock it in.  So now your screen should look like this:

reg editor

9. Now we have to give that entry a value.  Do a right-click on Scancode Map, and choose “Modify Binary Data”.

10. A new window pops up, which is titled “Edit binary data”.  In the “Value data” field, you will see 4 zeros already there.  The cursor will be flashing after that.  In the spot where the cursor is flashing, you need to type this series of digits (can’t copy and paste, sorry):

00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 02 00 00 00 00 00 3A 00 00 00 00 00

When you’re done, the window should look like this:

no caps


It might seem a bit confusing, because some of those numbers fill in themselves even though you didn’t actually type them.  Just make sure your window looks like the one above.

11. Click OK, and you will see that your new entry “Scancode Map” now has that value.

12. Close the Registry Editor either by File – Close or by clicking the X in the top right corner.

13. Restart your computer.

Like magic – no more Caps Lock key!  Well, the key is actually still there, but it has been rendered powerless to mess up whatever you are trying to type.

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