Hardware

How do I turn off the Caps Lock key in Windows 7?

After seeing the TechRepublic How do I blog post about how to disable the Insert key in Word, Frank Reeves asked for information on how to similarly disable the Caps Lock key.

This blog post is also available in PDF format as a TechRepublic download. The post was originally written for Windows XP, but it will work with Vista and Windows 7.

Sometimes, depending on the manufacturer and on the particular layout, your keyboard can be a great source of frustration. For TechRepublic reader Frank Reeves, the Caps Lock key is the one that drives him crazy. After seeing the TechRepublic "How Do I..." about how to disable the Insert key in Word, he asked for information on how to similarly disable the Caps Lock key.

There are several ways to accomplish this task. One way is to discover the scan code for the Caps Lock key and for the key you want to map it to and then edit the Windows registry. The folks at Annoyances.org explain this method. However, their explanation is more complicated than it needs to be, and there are easier and safer ways to accomplish the same thing.

Third-party keyboard layout and mapping tools are available that will allow you to change the behavior of the Caps Lock key, but many of these really boil down to a .reg file, which edits the Windows registry for you. In general, these .reg files are fine and come from people and organizations just trying to help make your life easier, but it still involves a stranger editing your Windows registry files. That makes me uncomfortable.

The best way to remap the Caps Lock key or any key on your keyboard is with a free utility from Microsoft called remapkey.exe. This little utility is available in the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools. It is one of many utilities included in the kit and works with Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Vista. This TechRepublic "How Do I..." shows you how to use the remapkey.exe utility to remap the Caps Lock key.

Remapping

Once you download and run the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools file, you will have a long laundry list of utilities located in a single directory. I used the default location (Figure A):

Figure A

You'll find the utility in the Tools directory.
When you start the remapkey utility, it presents a screen displaying two keyboards, as shown in Figure B. Note: For Windows 7 and Windows Vista, you have to start the remapkey utility with administrator rights using a right-click and the Run as Administrator menu item.

Figure B

The remapkey utility displays two keyboards.
The top keyboard is the standard base keyboard layout. To remap the Caps Lock key, in the top keyboard, click on the key you would like the Caps Lock to be remapped to, drag it to the bottom keyboard, and drop it on the Caps Lock key there. In my example, I am remapping the Caps Lock key to the left Shift key. (Note the red key in Figure C.)

Figure C

Caps Lock is now left Shift.
When you are satisfied with your remapping choices, click the Save and Exit icon to implement the change (Figure D). A reboot of the operating system will be required for the change to take effect.

Figure D

Save your settings and exit.
As you can see in Figure E, the remapkey utility is writing to the Windows registry, just like the methods mentioned earlier were going to do, but this gives you more control over that delicate editing process.

Figure E

Remapkey writes to the Windows registry.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

70 comments
naees
naees

Open Notepad and type this then save it as a .reg file. Then click on the .reg file and click yes. It will take after reboot. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- REGEDIT4 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout] "Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,0e,00,3a,00,00,00,00,00 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Keyboard Layout] "Scancode Map"=-

waechtlerj
waechtlerj

There used to be a DOS machine language program that would turn off Caplock if you hit the shift key. Has not worked since Windows came along. iT pREVENTED wRITNG sENTENCES lIKE tHIS wITH cAPSlOCK ON. i HAVE had my eye out for a wINDOWS version, but have never found one

techrepublic
techrepublic

With my older MX5000 Logitech keyboard the "num lock" was forced off when I switched to Win7. Since the keyboard has no NUM LOCK key I had to use a registry hack to force it on permanently. I left the hack in place when I got this newer keyboard as it has no NUM LOCK key either. I only use the the numeric keypad for number entry not navigation anyway.

techrepublic
techrepublic

The software that comes with my cordless Logitech keyboard allows for disabling CAPS LOCK, INSERT, WINOWS START and a couple of other keys.

ebloch
ebloch

Look at KeyTweak, a free program from Tucows available at http://www.tucows.com/preview/327616 It runs on my Win 7 64 bit even though "7" is not mentioned as an OK OS. Besides CapsLock I recommend remapping NumLock to Tab so that you can have one handed number entry. NumLock can be permanently set in Bios and does not need to be used anymore if your keyboard includes a numerical key pad.

cbs1947
cbs1947

By far the easiest way to solve this problem is to gently pry off the key cap. Just remember where you put it.

sapsavoir
sapsavoir

Crashed my PC, Thanks a lot, Microsoft! I followed your instructions to the letter and when I rebooted my PC the mouse was totally discombobulated. I had to use Window's RESTORE function to go back to a previous date before I could even use my computer again.

DullenBoring
DullenBoring

I'm a poor typist and have trouble with Caps Lock. I tried various solutions to but have found nothing better than CapsUnlock from http://www.brainsystems.com/capsunlock/ Free Small: 11 kB Runs as a system tray ap Caps Lock may be reactivated Left-Shift + CapsLock. Also disables the Insert key. I think that CapsUnlock has a number of advantages to the very good solution provided here.

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

I really enjoyed the comments of a keyboard direct memory interface.. Very humerous... Here are people who really can't type and want to turn keys off yet when they are needed, they they will have to turn them back on again.. Simple statement to everyone... LEARN HOW TO TYPE AND BE COGNISANT AS TO WHAT POSITION THE KEYS ARE IN.. Oh gee the caps lock was on again.. did not see the little green light on the keyboard..

sskinner
sskinner

I simply remove it from the keyboard...snap it out with letter opener or screwdriver in about 2 seconds. I have a pile of "Num Lock" keys in my desk drawer if anyone needs an extra.

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

I can't wait until someone comes up with some type of connection you can attach to your head and into the PC. Perhaps a mini-usb connection driven by the mini-electrical pulses of your brain, hmmmm? I guess the draw back would be a short in the motherboard leading death or paralysis. Oh well, the hazards of new technology, right? LOL!

shane.freman
shane.freman

One of the best pieces of software I have downloaded in the past 12 months is Enso from Humanized (http://www.humanized.com/). You hold down the caps lock key to use the software so it effectivly disables that key for regular use. It sounds odd but go to their website and view the demo. It's awesome!

lmarks
lmarks

Control Panel-->Accessibility-->Keyboard-->ToggleKeys and check the box. Then each type you hit Caps Lock, NumLock or ScrollLock, you get a high-pitched beep. Turning any of these off causes a low-pitched beep. No need for additional software.

AHUFFTB11108
AHUFFTB11108

GENTLEMEN: apparently i donwloaded rktools.exe nov2007. in my home i am using windows 2000 professional. rktools.exe will not execute because i am not using windows xp. thus while some of the tools may be usable in w2k i can not extract them and thus can not make any use of them. can you help? thanx. terry huff.

quark
quark

What a useful tip! Thank you TechRepublic. There is a small free program available by Falsinsoft called FirstCap which warns you when you type with Cap Lock on ; and what's more it works! - Auldsod

RowanM
RowanM

I just wedge a folded bit of paper under the key - it is then held solid and wont move. Gives a place to rest my little finger then as well.

hideaway
hideaway

< ![endif]--> What is this and what does it do??

ragdyer
ragdyer

Read my post in this very large thread labelled "I use the Windows built in 'TypeWriter Emulatuion'" Regards, RD

ragdyer
ragdyer

Just tripped over this thread, so excuse the late date of this suggestion. Those old enough to remember typewriters are familiar with the practice of turning off Caps Lock by using the Shift key. This was a "built in" *mechanical* action of all typewriters that released the Caps Lock key. An added advantage of this action was that a forgotten Caps Lock would be negated at the first use of the Shift key, which usually occured at the start of the next sentence. All late versions of Windows has a switch which allows the Shift key to turn off Caps Lock. It's one of the first things I change with every machine I work on. MS however, in their never ending wisdom, chooses to *never* place this swithch in the same place in different versions. I've found it in XP and Win7, so I would guess it's also in Vista. Start in Control Panel, Regional and Language Options, Look for Languages, Look for Text Services and Languages, Click Details, And look for "Key Settings", And look for Advanced Key Settings, And look for Turn Off Caps Lock, And click on Shift Key. Some versions of XP might need the keyboard setting to be changed to English, United States, International in order for this switch to be enabled (not greyed out). HTH, RD

C.Ann.C
C.Ann.C

Why would having the Caps Lock key on be troublesome for some? Are their fingers so elongated that they keep hitting it in place of the Shift key? And why would this "fix" be needed for users who have a concern about the Caps Lock key and remap it to the shift key? If they're typing in Word or another program and use the "shift" key to shift in upper case mode for capital letters, every time they hit "shift" key, the Caps Lock key would come on instead. I don't think that's a "fix" - it's a problem! Maybe I don't get it, but it never bothered me before and I don't have a problem with it when typing in Word or other programs. I've never accidentally hit it - my typing is rather faster than most and I know where my fingers are going on the keyboard, I don't even need to look down at it to see if I hit the Caps Lock key, too. So what's the poop about this whole thing in the first place? This causes redundancy and unneeded use of a program that starts other problems in the first place.

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

LOL! I think I'm gonna pick up a MAC soon. At least I'll be sparred from the next 5 flavors of Windows 7.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Not sure why the mouse drive would be involved. Anyone got any ideas?

jseag
jseag

Try AntiCapsLock from www.orionsoft.cz. I've used it for years and have been very satisfied.

jeff.allen
jeff.allen

My issue is that some text I type HAS to be in CAPITALS, eg some forms I fill in. I have to use CAPS LOCK as it's easier. Then I forget it's on and TYPE THE NEXT EMAIL IN CAPITALS... There used to be a hardware device that plugged in series with the keyboard via the old DIN plugs, which beeped if it detected more than one capital in a row. I will try FirstCaps - might be the solution.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

Thank you for the handy tip. I'm sticking with my remapped keyboard for now but you've provided a quick solution for me to pass on to others.

jdriggers
jdriggers

Thank you for the tip. I like this better than not having CAPLOCK at all or having to remember where I put it.

oneqtcat
oneqtcat

I just turned it on and tested it. I am really grateful for this useful tip! Thank you for that. I'd MUCH rather hear a little warning beep than mess with my register. btw, for those of you that don't realize, the sound doesn't come through your speakers so they can be turned off and you will still get the warning.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

I have headphones plugged in and they're not always close enough to hear anything. I've been ready to pry the caps lock key off of my keyboard; the remapping to the left shift key works great. It's not like it's major brain surgery to do it either. Wish I'd done it sooner.

tjsobieski
tjsobieski

It lists being compatible with Win 7. I'll give it a try (of course I'll create a restore point also)

rghomer
rghomer

This little program worked exactly as advertised. I use Vista sp1 and I remapped the right context window on my Dell M1530 to a right ctrl key. No more context window popping up when I miss that regular control key. Thanks!

Dionychus
Dionychus

In HTML there is a tag that can be used to add comments about the code. The correct form of the tag is . If that is what this is it could be there because it wasn't formed correctly. Normally when the browser parses HTML it will ignore what is contained inside the comment tag. Coders use comments to describe what the code they have written does or how it works. They also often use comments to help them "visualize/organize" decision structures - especially when they are deeply nested or they sometimes use them when debugging. [endif] is probably part of an "if" decision structure used in a language such as Cold Fusion or PHP or ASP - frankly I don't remember what these look like. Anyway something in the code wasn't written properly and this piece of code is being parsed and displayed as text.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Since upgrading to Firefox 3 some strange code has been creeping into our WordPress posts - do you see one in this post?

billbaird@aol.com
billbaird@aol.com

Thanks for the tip. For Windows 7: Control Panel Under: Clock, Language, and Region Change keyboards or other input methods Region and Language Tab: Keyboards and Languages Button: Change Keyboards Text Services and Input Languages Tab: Advanced Key Settings To turn off Caps Lock: Select ?Press the SHIFT key? OK

DimBulb
DimBulb

Not everyone can be the world's best typist. I type exclusively on a laptop and the keys are a little closer together than on a full-size keyboard. My fat fingers frequently hit keys I didn't intend . And since no one is forcing you to install any of the suggested programs, what does it matter to you?

oneqtcat
oneqtcat

I suppose an excellent typist, such as yourself, wouldn't be able to understand how the rest of us, with lesser skill, would consider the caps lock key being a problem. Just watch someone who doesn't have the typing skills that you do and perhaps you just might understand the 'poop'. Quite often, when I type an A my finger also winds up turning on the caps lock key. It is annoying. If I remapped the caps lock key to the shift key then I'd be hitting it when I type a Z, so that is a useless solution for me. Not only that but,I don't want to screw around with my registry if I don't have to. I'll leave that to the geeks. The beep warning that I turned on is the perfect solution to my clutzy-fingered problem, and it's built right into windows.

bbwalters
bbwalters

Hi C.Ann.C As a lady, probably with fine fingers you would not have a problem! but, someone like me who spent many years in industry my fingers now spread across two keys. The caps lock is not my only problem! it's all the keys, keys double entering, because of broad fingers. The old IBM keyboards were fine but the new ones have no space at all for my broad fingers.

Rob C
Rob C

I too like to use it sometimes. Does anyone know of a utility that displays a message whilst the Capslock is on ?

gitmo
gitmo

On my Dell Latitude, if I mute speakers the Caps Lock beep is suppressed. I prefer this approach though to remapping the keys.

fmendez
fmendez

This is a great idea, because this driver could be removed later if you would like to return the settings as it was. Besides, I love all Sysinternals' tools way back before Microsoft bought them.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

When I upgraded to Firefox 3 the copy / paste function started to add (keep) the XML meta information normally stripped out - very strange.

richarddavis
richarddavis

It shows up once before each image. (Using IE 7)

TheGratefulNed
TheGratefulNed

[If they're typing in Word or another program and use the "shift" key to shift in upper case mode for capital letters, every time they hit "shift" key, the Caps Lock key would come on instead.] The program doesn't swap the keys, though you could do so with it. Rather, in the example given in the article the 'Caps Lock' key is simply remapped to 'L Shift'. Essentially, both the 'Caps Lock' and 'L Shift' keys act as 'L Shift'. As for reasons why and typing skills and the like: I have pretty good typing skills too and most of the time something of this nature isn't a problem. However, when I'm doing a lot of "non-standard" typing, usually in Notepad (i.e., writing code/script, creating/editing tab-delimited files, creating/editing columnar data sets/matrices, etc.) I have a greater than normal tendency to bump the 'Caps Lock' while reaching for 'Tab' and/or 'L Shift' since my hands aren't in "home row position". This is especially true if I'm doing a lot of numerical entry via the number pad with random/occasional text and tabbing a lot. Also, as mentioned regarding having broader fingers, it can be especially annoying when using a laptop keyboard. One thing I like to do is remap the stupid 'Menu' (right-click) key to 'R Alt' so I can hit 'Ctrl+Alt' with my right thumb and 'Del' with my right index finger for logging on or locking my computer. I was sad when my last PS/2 101-key "Clicky" keyboard died. I've got some AT->PS/2 adapters around somewhere, but haven't had time to dig them out. Needless to say, I am not and have never been a fan of the 'Windows' key or the 'Menu' key. They're just a combo mapping that I've been using since before anyone thought to make them their own keys: 'Windows' key = 'Ctrl+Esc' 'Menu' key = 'Shift+F10'

C.Ann.C
C.Ann.C

Appreciate the compliment "with fine fingers", although I don't think my fingers are that slim either, in any case, I guess what I was saying is that I'm used to typing at a little better speed than I had when the old typewriters came out (that probably predates me by saying that!LOL!) I can understand the new keyboards, I've seen them and even purchased a wireless one (then ran out of batteries so I replaced with an older keyboard - a COMPAQ Internet keyboard, and the keys are like the old style, so yes, you're right about the spacing issue. So, I would assume that if using an old style keyboard that is still usable and the user is used to using it well enough to avoid hitting the Caps Lock key (or any other keys) without much trouble, then this fix wouldn't apply to them. However, I'm still perplexed about remapping that key to the Shift key - it doesn't make sense to me. Maybe someone can make sense of it all and let me know. Thanks.

jschneider
jschneider

Built-in Window via the accessibility options if the ability to flash a window caption or other window attributes, whenever the caps lock, num lock, or scroll lock keys are pressed. Start, settings, control panel, accessabilty options. 'Keyboard tab', click ToggleKeys. Then on 'Sound tab', click "use SoundSentry, then choose the item to flash. ToggleKeys causes your system to make sounds when the keys are depressed but SoundSentry overrides the sounds and uses the flash method to alert the user.

Rob C
Rob C

Hi Quark, I had just written my own in VB6. It flashes an icon in the systray (near clock), when CapsLock is on. But I then took your advice, and tried FirstCap (Beta 4.1). It lacks a good visual indicator, however the beep if you type after a two second pause (with CapsLock still on), is not too shabby. I will run it on my main PC, and try mine on the 2nd PC. Thanks for the 'heads up' Regards, Rob PS let me know if any variation in my VB one, would help you, and I will get it to you. It has no dependencies, and does not require any installation.

quark
quark

Hi Rob C, Falsinsoft's FirstCap (free) is a good little program. You can set it to warn you on second or subsequent caps type, or you can disable caps lock altogether - quark@

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I'm using Firefox 3 on my workstation and don't see it - I'll look at WordPress.

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