Windows key mapping – Scancode map

I’ve now held on to a beautiful old IBM Model M and used it as my primary keyboard for 13 years. Came from a school district auction, along with a Commodore 64 monitor that became my first dorm television. This keyboard’s likely seen every major build of Windows since 3.1.

For this and any other device that lacks a Windows Key, however, the need for its addition is feeling ever more pressing. The keyboard-heavy interface in MetroUI greatly benefits from finding some way to fake it. Luckily, the need for others is rapidly dwindling. (Many use Caps Lock, I prefer Scroll Lock.)

In particular, check out Windows Key+Q, a Search Charm being used throughout the MetroUI environment. The Windows Key on its own handily toggles between MetroUI and the conventional desktop, as well, although that much can also be accomplished with CTRL+ESC. Other new or updated shortcuts are listed here by the Aussies at

Luckily, while the need has grown, the fix has stayed the same since Windows 2000. To reiterate, this fix works in Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and all builds of Windows Server.

Software-free automated fix: Download either of these Registry Editor files to remap the Caps Lock or Scroll Lock to the Windows key. Open them, say “yes” when prompted by the Registry Editor, and reboot.

Manual fix – If you want to edit or undo this, here’s how:

Step 1: Run Regedit. Hit CTRL+ESC to enter MetroUI, type “regedit” and select it from Apps.

(Already have a Windows key, or running an older version of Windows? Just Windows Key+R or Start–>Run Regedit)

Step 2: Within Regedit, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlKeyboard Layout.Regedit on Windows 8 - Essentially unchanged

Step 3: If creating a new mapping, go to Edit–>New–>Binary Value. If changing or erasing an existing mapping, knock yourself out. Double click or right-click–>Delete away.

Step 4: After making any changes, reboot.

The syntax can be a little tricky, but I recommend either this excellent post on the same subject. Great detailed per-key scancode list at the bottom of his original post. (Alternatively, this post covers longer registry keys, adding a second and third remapping key-pair.)

Hope someone out there finds this useful!

Tested in Windows 8.1, and works fine in Windows 10, too, if you run Regedit from the Start Menu or a normal Run dialog.

Windows 8 – Quickie review

The good:
* Hard to explain how much I like the interface.
* The screen looks crazily busy in screenshots, but when actually using it, this is every bit as much of a grand step forward for keyboard-heavy users.
* Omnipresent, keyboard accessible search.
* The MetroUI PDF reader is absolutely excellent. Like Mac OS X’s PDF reader, it is lightning fast. Much faster than even Chrome’s built-in reader (the only thing that keeps me sane at work). This is one area where the fullscreen-by-default approach of MetroUI seems like a clear win.

The meh:
Changes in MS Paint leading up to Windows 7 radically increased the utility of that simple tool, but progress seems to have stalled.
* Games: For better or worse, stock Windows games that we’ve had since Windows 3.0 are now gone.
* Game size: While some are still downloadable from the MetroUI app store, Minesweeper somehow crazily gobbles up over 140MB of storage space when installed.
* Took multiple reboots to perform the install and to later install Hyper-V (total 4 – 2 to get it to recognize I’d enabled AMD-V prior to installation and 2 installing). However, many driver updates (ATI Catalyst Radeon drivers, etc) strangely no longer require it. You win some, you lose some.
* Media center – Pretty clear why they’re currently giving it away. I didn’t use it in Windows 7, but it doesn’t feel at all like it was redesigned in any meaningful way for Windows 8 and MetroUI.
* Yes, they took away DVD decoding. Who cares – They also added in so many other codecs to the stock environment that it’s better than it was. Only DVD and MKV playback required additional software.

The bad:
* My PC hung up on both of the first two times I booted into Windows 8, locking hard w/o a BSOD or any functional human-interface devices. No repeats after patches, as noted by many other reviewers.
* The absence of a Start Menu and constant need to flip back and forth between the conventional desktop and MetroUI interface is unnecessarily jarring. Really wish there was a middle-ground/a mini-MetroUI that could be brought up where the Start Menu used to be.

Well, that’s about it – Planning to note other issues as they arise in separate posts, including some keymapping details.

(Hard to find a good answer via Google at the moment, and harder via Bing, but YES: Scancode Map key remapping in the registry works w/no changes.)