Windows Keyboard Mapping with SharpKeys

Or: Getting rid of Caps Lock & creating the missing context menu key

I like my current laptop, a Lenovo W540, but details of the keyboard layout really deteriorate the user exeperience (not to mention the horrible trackpad – I can only recommend you carry a mouse or buy the successor which is rumored to sport a less terrible design).

Lenovo W540 keyboard

First of all, there is this totally useless numeric keypad, forcing asymmetric device usage.

Second, the trackpad (Lenovo’s interpretation of a touchpad) is simply awful. Oh, I already mentioned that.

Third, one essential key is … not there … simply missing. I am talking about the context menu key which I use a lot.

Luckily we can do something about that. The simpler method is to just use Shift+F10 instead, as Tim Dunn explains. But we can also go deeper and remap any useless key to function as context menu key.

Windows has had a keyboard remapping functionality for some time, but it requires manipulation of REG_BINARY values, which even I as a developer am not too fond of. Thankfully the free utility SharpKeys facilitates the process a lot. And while we are at it we can also get rid of the useless Caps Lock.

There is really not much you have to do – except figuring out what the secret name of the context menu key is. Why, Special: Application (E0_5D), of course. With that missing information we can configure SharpKeys:

Windows 8.1 Keyboard Remapping with SharpKeys

There is no need to run SharpKeys all the time, by the way. Just click Write to Registry, log off and back on (no need to reboot, either) and the changed keyboard layout should be in effect.

Note: This procedure has been tested on Windows 8.1 and on Windows 10 1703.

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9 Responses to Windows Keyboard Mapping with SharpKeys

  1. Danny January 28, 2015 at 15:28 #

    Good idea – I used the same method to replace the PgUp/PgDn with Back/Forward for web browsing..

  2. Martin Zugec January 29, 2015 at 19:40 #

    I always replace Caps Lock with Context menu\Application key.

    SharpKeys is great for Surface Pro 3 owners as well – I’ve remapped F9-F12 keys with much more useful Home, End, PgUp, PgDn keys.

  3. Roger Beal August 29, 2015 at 20:10 #

    SharpKeys works well with Windows 8.1, on a HP laptop purchased new in July 2015.

  4. xpclient February 5, 2016 at 05:07 #

    Does SharpKeys allow remapping Scroll Lock and Pause? Because I tried the Remapkey tool from Microsoft which is part of the Windows Resource Kit and it doesn’t allow remapping those keys.

  5. Scott March 4, 2016 at 04:13 #

    Great, I’ve done the same thing. I also want to remap the home and end keys so they are easier to ‘hit’ quickly. I have successfully remapped ‘home’ to the Calculator app, but when I map ‘end’ to the windows explorer button and try to use it, the action is to move cursor to the end and type an ‘e’. Anyone else found this?

  6. Evan Lum July 18, 2016 at 22:45 #

    Thank you, SharpKeys works great on Windows 10. I wanted to get rid of the Microsoft Windows key next to the Ctrl Key. I often inadvertently activate the Windows key when doing a Ctrl-X or Ctrl-C and get a useless Windows page that fills the whole screen. I remapped the Windows Key to F13, which does nothing.

  7. str8arrow January 11, 2017 at 03:38 #

    THANK YOU!! for figuring this out and posting it for the rest of us!

    I have been struggling with this and I was frustrated beyond measure. I didn’t know what to use to remap my missing context menu key to a new key – my DellXPS is also missing the key, incidentally.

    THANK YOU, again.
    – str8arrow.

  8. Mike F. January 19, 2017 at 22:02 #

    Hello.

    Since I installed Sharp Keys on Windows 10, it seems that my keyboard has gone mad. How ? Well, if a press simultaneously dfg key for example, I will print the screen, if I pres ghj simultaneously the result is ghfj, cvb is cv-b, or bnv is bnvm only if pressed simultaneously. Is it a registry problem ? Is there a resolution for this. Thank you.

    • Helge Klein January 21, 2017 at 20:05 #

      I deem it quite unlikely that SharpKeys is causing the problem. After all, the only thing it does is alter a single registry value.

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