Locking up the Windows key

FI-Log-On-With-Larry-SchneiderDear Larry,

I’m always opening the Start Menu accidentally by hitting the Windows key when I mean to hit the Ctrl or Shift key. Is there a way to make the Windows key non-functional, short of breaking it?

R. S.

Dear R. S.,

First off, please don’t break your keyboard. There is an easier way. Well, maybe not easier, but certainly less damaging.

The purpose of the Windows key is exactly as you’ve described it. It’s a shortcut to clicking the Start button. I can see how you might find this key a nuisance, and if you carefully follow the procedure below, you’ll be able to disable the Windows keys altogether. (There are ways to disable one key versus the other, but let’s keep things simple.)

1. First, click Start, then type REGEDIT in the search box, and press the Enter key on your keyboard.

2. Before doing anything else, press the Left Arrow key on your keyboard 15 times. That’s right, 15.

3. Near the top left corner of your screen, you should see the words My Computer. Click the little arrow to the left of these words.

4. Now click the arrow to the left of the word HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

5. Next click the arrow to the left of the word SYSTEM.

6. Click the arrow to the left of the word CurrentControlSet.

7. Click the arrow to the left of the word Control.

8. In the long alphabetized list, click on the words Keyboard Layout (not Keyboard Layouts).

9. Click on Edit in the menu bar, then click New, Binary Value. Immediately type in the words “Scancode Map” (without the quotes), and press the Enter key.

10. You should now see the words Scancode Map on the right side of your screen. Double-click on these words now.

11. A new window should appear containing four zeroes in a row (0000). Press the zero key on your keyboard 16 times exactly. This should cause 8 pairs of zeroes to appear to the right of the 0000.

12. Below the 0000, you should now see the numbers 0008 with nothing to the right. Type 03 and then press the zero key 10 times exactly. Next, press 5 B E 0. If you did everything correctly, you should see the characters 03 00 00 00 00 00 5B E0 to the right of 0008 (plus some periods and other characters).

13. This is the last row. Below the 0008, you should see the numbers 0010 with nothing to the right. Press the zero key four times (0 0 0 0), then press 5 C E 0, and press the zero key eight times. You should see the characters 00 00 5C E0 00 00 00 00 appear in the third row.

14. Close the program and restart your computer. Your Windows keys should now be dead.

15. Now, should you ever want to bring your Windows key back to life, repeat steps 1-9, right-click on the words Scancode Map, then click Delete, and confirm by clicking Yes. Then restart the computer.

This is Larry Schneider, logging off.

Larry Schneider is the owner of Accent on Computers, a Greenwich-based consulting firm — now in its 16th year of business — catering to individuals, businesses and professional offices. PC and Mac services include computer setup, training, troubleshooting, virus resolution, networking, Internet, database, and programming. Call 203-625-7575, visit Accentoncomputers.com or send email to [email protected]

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