What is the most annoying key on your keyboard?
For me, and maybe for you, it is the CAPS LOCK key. It seems to get in the way whenever I intend to hit the Shift key. If I'm lucky I may be in Word or some other program which allows me to highlight the mess which results and hit the command to change case, but in others there is no option but to delete and type the phrase or sentence again.
In Word 2010 you go to the Home tab and then in the Font area click on the Aa button to select from a wide choice including lowercase, Sentence case, Capitalize Each Word or tOGGLE cASE.
The CapsLock is a remnant of the old typewriter keyboard that has continued to exist to this day and has survived the many changes in computer keyvoards over recent decades which has seen the number of keys and the positions of some of them go from 83 on the original IBM PC to 104 for the US, Australia and most other countries, though many European layouts have 105 and some in Brazil and Japan have 107 and 109 respectively.
But there is something you can do about that caps lock key, and even about the strangest key, the one labelled SysReg. SysReg is also named as PrtScn, which doesn't actually print the screen but does put a screen dump or image into memory ready to be pasted in an image editor program such as Paint ot even Photoshop.
So, how do you get rid of CapsLock?
The answer lies in Windows Registry Editor. In Vista and Windows 7 you can search for the local machine code control keyboard layout and replace the scancode which activates when you press the CapsLock key. It then involves entering a sequence of around 20 hex codes.
But there are easier ways. For example, go to:
and download SharpKeys
I went for the MSI version. When installed, press the Add button, select the "Special Caps Lock" with code 00 3A and change it to the default which is "Turn Key Off". You could also change it to another version of the Spceial Left Control key which may be more helpful in reaching many control key combinations.
Think carefully before selecting to write the change to the Registry (you do have a back up of that, don't you?). Then you need to reboot to see it take effect. Though the program says for Windows systems up to Vista, it does work with Win7 too.
You can also download another program, KeyTweak, from http://webpages.charter.net/krumsick/
I've read equally good reports of that but have no practical knowledge.
There are other websites you may find helpful, such as How-to-geek at:
That page includes a downloadable set of .reg files to do what I've just done or to a Shift key or to swap the Caps Lock with the Scroll Lock key that may be sitting up there on the right between SysRg and Break. Did you even know you had those? Break dates back to the teleprinter and telegraph. It was a way for operators at each end to know that outlaws or bushrangers had not cut the line. When did you last need to know that?
This article appeared first in the November issue of PC Update, the magazine of the Melbourne PC User Group. It may be reprinted at no cost under Creative Commons conditions with Attribution.