How to reprogram or disable CAPS LOCK key

If you often find yourself typing long lines of text containing nothing but capital letters, you are probably very fond of the CAPS LOCK key. For the rest of us, the CAPS LOCK key is more of a nuisance than help. Fortunately, there is a way to change the way this key operates or even disable this key completely, so that when you press it accidentally, it does nothing.

A quick note before we begin: the instructions below assume you use Windows 11 or Windows 10, but they should work for the older versions of Window, such as Windows 7, XP, or Vista, as well. Just keep in mind that you may see slightly different messages or commands. Also, if you share your computer with others, this change will affect all users of the computer, not just you.

To stop the CAPS LOCK key from working, all you need to do is make a small modification to Windows Registry. To do that, right click on the link below, and choose Save link as (or a similar command, depending on your web browser) to download the file disable_caps_lock.reg to your computer:


When the Save As screen appears, make sure to change the file type from Text to All files:

Change the Save As type to All files

Now use File Explorer to open your Downloads folder and double-click on the file that you had just downloaded. It should be listed as disable_caps_lock.reg or just disable_caps_lock, depending on your File Explorer settings. Double-click on it and you will probably see a message similar to the following:

Windows warning about reg file

This warning is expected and is valid: you should not open random files you download from the internet, because if someone tricks you into downloading a malicious file, it can really harm your computer.

Fortunately, the registry files are actually text files that you can examine before letting Windows use them. To be on the safe side, press Cancel for now and then right-click on the file disable_caps_lock.reg, choose Open with from the menu, and then select Notepad as the application to open it with (leave the Always use this app to open .reg files unchecked, because you do NOT want to always open them with Notepad, you only want to do that this one time only.)

Now if the same warning is displayed, press Run and you should see the following text within the Notepad window:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
"Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,00,00,3a,00,00,00,00,00

As you can see, this file will modify the entry named Scancode Map under the key Keyboard Layout, which is what we expect. (If you see some other entries in the script, and you don't understand what they mean, get someone who knows more about the Registry for advice before continuing.) By the way, if you cannot download the registry file using the link above because your security software prevents such downloads, you can use Notepad and the text above to create such a file yourself.

After examining the contents of the file disable_caps_lock.reg with Notepad and making sure the contents is OK, close Notepad and double-click on the file disable_caps_lock.reg again. Press Run this time to proceed and you should see another prompt, this time from User Account Control, asking you to allow Registry Editor to make changes to your computer. Press Yes to allow.

(If you don't see such a prompt and Notepad opens instead Registry Editor, it probably means that you had downloaded the file as a Text file. Go back to the top of this article and read the note about changing the type of the file from Text to All files before downloading it.)

After approving Registry Editor to run, it will probably ask you the third time, are you sure you want to continue? (Windows is really trying hard to keep you safe, isn't it?)

Windows Registry Editor prompt to add to registry

Press Yes one final time and then OK the message informing you that the keys and values have been successfully added to the registry.

You are almost finished, all that's left to do is restart the computer, by using the Start button and choosing Power - Restart from the menu. After the computer is back on, try pressing the CAPS LOCK key, it should not do anything now.

What if you don't want to disable the CAPS LOCK key, but assign a different, more useful function to it? For example, some people may find it convenient to make the CAPS LOCK key operate in the same was as the CTRL key. To do that, use the following registry file, in exactly the same way as described above:


A final note: if you ever decide that you want the CAPS LOCK key to become operational again, use Registry Editor to delete the Scancode Map value from the Keyboard Layout, and after you restart the computer the CAPS LOCK key should start working again.

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