Windows: Setting a Key to Launch App, Disable Caps Lock, Windows Key, and Other Keyboard FAQ

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This page is some frequently asked questions about setting keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Windows.

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How to disable the Sleep key on the keyboard?

Go to the Control Panel, click on Classic View, then Power Options. There's a setting you can set.

How to disable the Caps Lock key, or the ❖ Win logo key?

There's no built-in way to do that with Windows Vista or Windows 7. You need a keyboard remapping software. The following are some solutions:

See also: Keyboard Layout & Key Macro tools for Windows.

Is there a way to set a hotkey to launch a app?

In Windows 7, just drag & drop the app to Taskbar. Then, the first item will have key 【❖ Win+1】, second 【❖ Win+2】, etc.

In Windows Vista, you can turn on the Quick Launch toolbar in Taskbar. (right click on a empty area in Taskbar, then Properties, Toolbars tab.) When Quick Launch toolbar is on, you can drag any shortcut files to it. Also, each shortcut file also automatically creates keyboard shortcut for it, that's 【❖ Win+1】, 【❖ Win+2】, …, corresponding to the order of the shortcuts in the Quick Launch bar. You can drag them around to change their order.

When you press 【❖ Win+‹n›】 or click a button in the Quick Launch, it will always launch a new instance of the app, not just switch to it. (except apps designed to run only one single instance. ⁖ Skype, Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Second Life, games, ….)

See also: Windows Start Menu, Desktop, Quick Launch, File Locations.

Is there a way to have a hotkey to switch to a app? That is, just switch to it if it is already running.

Create a shortcut to the file (by holding Alt key then drag). Then, right click on the file shortcut and choose 〖Properties〗. There, click the Tab named “Shortcut”, then click the “Shortcut key” field then type a key.

The shortcut must be one of 【Ctrl+⇧ Shift+‹key›】, 【Ctrl+Alt+‹key›】, 【Ctrl+⇧ Shift+Alt+‹key›】.

For some app, this works. It will switch to it if already running. For examples: cmd.exe, Inkscape. But for some app it'll always launch a new instance (⁖ Internet Explorer, Safari.).

Alternatively, you can use the keyboard macro software AutoHotkey. See AutoHotkey Example Scripts for a example of how to do this.

How to set a key to switch language input system?

Go to Control Panel, click on “Regional and Language Options”, then “Keyboards and Languages” tab, then click on “Change keyboards…” button, then the “Advanced Key Settings” tab.

How to change to Dvorak keyboard layout?

Go to Control Panel, click on “Regional and Language Options”, then “Keyboards and Languages” tab, then click on “Change keyboards…” button.

How to disable 【Ctrl+⇧ Shift+s】 for popping up HP Support Info?

All you have to do is find the file shortcut of the app, then right-click to pop up the properties panel, then disable the key in the Shortcut tab. See: Disable Ctrl+Alt+S of HP Support Information.

When i press 【Ctrl+Alt+⇧ Shift+3】, the MediaSmart DVD starts. How to disable this hotkey?

All you have to do is find the file shortcut that points to the program, open its properties panel, Shortcut tab, then disable the key there.

How to setup my own hotkey?

You need to use a keyboard macro software. See: How To Create Your Own Keybinding In Microsoft Windows.

Is there a central place to manage all keyboard shortcuts that Windows uses?

No. For example, {【❖ Win+1】, 【❖ Win+2】, …} keys are used to launch apps and is set in TaskBar's on Quick Launch bar. Switching keyboard language and layout shortcuts is set under the “Regional and Language Options” in Control Panel. Sticky keys are set in the “Ease of access Center” control panel. Disabling the Sleep key or Power on/off key are set in Power Options under Control Panel, etc.

Nor are these all necessarily in the Windows Registry, and if they are, they are scattered in different places.

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