I wanted to disable some keys and rearrange some other keys on my Dell Studio XPS 1340 laptop. The keyboard on this laptop is the most comfortable feeling keyboard I have ever used however there are a couple key locations, one specifically, that have been causing me issues because of the way I type. Before I explain how to make the keys on any Windows computer do whatever you want them to do I also wanted to mention that this is the first laptop I have ever had with a back-lit keyboard so I can finally work in a completely dark room with no windows! Below I describe and display a application that can easily be used to make keys on your keyboard function in any way that you want without having to run a third party application at all times.
SharpKeys Allows You To Modify The Functions Of Keys On Your Keyboard:
The application I reference in this article is called SharpKeys and can be downloaded here. The newest version of SharpKeys doesn’t need to be installed and simply creates a new Windows Registry entry with any keyboard key modifications you make. The application is really easy to use and is filled with useless additions that are not necessary. Since SharpKeys does not need to be installed you will need to put it in an easy to remember location or you can also just take the SharpKeys.exe that was extracted from the SharpKeys3.zip file and put it into a folder that is in your path which would allow you to launch SharpKeys from a command prompt or from typing “SharpKeys into “Search programs and files” box on the Start Menu. The image below is what the application displays after modifying a couple keys on your keyboard.
SharpKeys With The Application Key & Caps Lock Key Disabled:
As you can see above the application is very simple to use. Once you have made a change to how a key functions you click the Write to Registry button to save your changes. After the changes are saved you will be required to logout of Windows and log back in for the changes to start working. I personally have tested SharpKeys to be fully functional on Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit but the application notes that it will work on any version of Windows including XP, 2003, 2008, Vista, and Windows 7. Below are a couple steps that describe using SharpKeys to disabled the Caps Lock key on your keyboard.
Disable The Caps Lock Key On Your Keyboard:
- SharpKeys: First launch the SharpKeys application either by double clicking the SharpKeys.exe or from the Run box in the Start Menu if you added the .exe to a folder that is in your path.
- Add New Mapping: Click the Add button to start the process of adding a new keyboard function mapping as displayed in the below image.
- Select Or Type Key: Now you can either select the key you want to modify from the list of keys or you can click the Type Key button to have the application tell you the name of the key and use that specific key as displayed in the below image. The example below is what would be displayed after pressing the Caps Lock key which you will then be able to change the function of the key or completely disable the key so nothing happens when Caps Lock is pressed.
Once you have pressed the key you wish to either disable or modify click the OK button.
- Select Key Function Or Disable Key: After picking the key that you want to modify decide if you want to disable the key or change what happens when the key is pressed in the future. In this example I decided to disable the Caps Lock key since it is never used and I accidentally press it all the time. The top choice in the right column of the application is “– Turn Key Off (00_00)” and if selected will cause nothing to happen when the key is pressed in the future.
- Save Key Changes: If you want to modify multiple keys go ahead and do so now but when you are finished modifying keys and want to save your changes click the “Write to Registry” button which will modify an entry in the Windows Registry to save your changes. Once the Windows Registry has been modified successfully with your keyboard changes the below message will pop open.
- Verify Keys: You need to either reboot or log out and back into the computer for the changes to take effect. Press the key that you modified which in this example is the Caps Lock key which after logging out and back into the computer should not do anything when pressed.
You can modify the function of almost any key on the keyboard though I would be very careful making changes to the Windows 7 key functions. Also before adding your first key mapping or before you disable any keys I would make a full backup of the Windows Registry. The SharpKeys application was a savior for me because on my Dell XPS 1340 there was a key I was not familiar with called the Application key that is right between the right Ctrl Key and the Left Arrow Key that I would continually press when not meaning to. With this application I was able to disable that key so I no longer accidenly press