Over the time, the Caps Lock key has been turned into a useless part of your computer. You can seldom remember the last time you’ve used the Caps Lock key. Therefore, it is better to eliminate such useless key from your computer. Rather, you can use that garbage key for some greater purpose. For instance, you can use the Caps Lock Key as a Google Search Hot key. Or, you can assign any application shortcut to the Caps Lock key so that you can run the app by a single key stroke from the keyboard. Isn’t it funny?
Here is some useful guides to reuse the Caps Lock key (Also learn how to reuse Windows key in Windows 7).
How to Turn the Caps Lock key into Google Search Key
Though there are many ways like using Auto Hot key applications, the registry trick would be a better choice. Who does want to keep an extra application running in the background? Even, if you use any Auto Hot Key program, you may face problems to associate any application with the key. So, remapping the Caps Lock key to another key could be the best practice. Especially, when you want to associate Google Search page or any program shortcut with it.
Remap Caps Lock Key
Remapping the keys in Windows 7 or Windows 8 can be done manually by tweaking the system registry. You can disable or remap any key by rearranging the hex key data. What I found tough with this method is that you will have to know the hex code for the key. Learn how does registry key mapping work.
But there is a third-party utility Sharp Keys which can ease your job. This piece of application is very small in volume and free to download.
Remap Caps Lock via Sharp Keys
Download and install Sharp Keys and open it from the start menu. As long as you open this app, it scans your computer and notify the previously remapped (if any) keys.
Now, to remap the special key (here the Caps Lock) to another key press the [Add] button. Find out the special key from the left pane and select it. Also find out the key that you don’t usually use from the right pane and select that. For instance, most of the people do not use F11 key. So select that key from the right pane. If you use that key, you can select another one. Finally, click the [OK] button.
Click the [Write to Registry] key. It will allow Sharp Key to write the remapping rules to the registry.
You’re done with remapping the key. But you won’t see the effect until you restart (or log back) your computer.
You’ve remapped the Caps Lock key to a new key (F11). So, whenever you press the Caps Lock key it will work like the F11 key. Now, we’ll make the Caps Lock key into Google search hot key. That means, whenever press that key from the keyboard, it will open the Google search page in you favorite browser. Let’s proceed.
Create a shortcut for Google Search
Well, now you need to create a Google search shortcut which can be triggered with the F11 key. You can do this into either your desktop or the start menu. Open any folder using the Windows explorer and right-click on the empty space. Select “New > Shortcut”.
Here, we’re creating the shortcut for Google search. So put “http://www.google.com/” as the item location and click [Next]. However ,you can go for any search engine page like Bing, Yahoo etc. or you can put any folder location, website address – it depends on you.
Give a name of the shortcut. Here it is “Google Search”. Click the [Finish] button.
The shortcut that you’ve just created will open with default browser of your system. However you can change the default browser anytime. Let’s go through the remaining workarounds.
Associate Caps Lock to Google Search Page
Right-click on the shortcut and select “Properties”.
Under the “Web Document” tab you can find the “Shortcut” field. Click one time on that field and press the shortcut key that you want to associate with it. Here it is F11. Click [Apply] then [OK].
That’s it. Whenever you press the Caps Lock key, it will open the Google search page with your default browser.
Though I have shown how to turn the Caps Lock key into a Google Search Hot key. You can create the hot key for any program or application so that you can run that application by a single key stroke from the keyboard. The procedure is the same.