How can I disable my “Windows” key? Or for that matter, remap my entire keyboard?
If your needs are “standard” then the approach while well hidden
is pretty easy. However if you want a truly arbitrary mapping this is
one of those areas that you’d expect to be a lot easier than it turns
out to be.
By “standard” I really mean “something that Microsoft has already thought of”.
That boils down to two things: a predefined set of foreign keyboard layouts and
the Dvorak keyboard layout. (Dvorak is an alternative to the standard QWERTY layout
that you can read much more about here.)
If you want to do something non-standard though, things get very
interesting and possibly complicated.
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For some types of changes such as disabling the Windows key it’s
possible that your keyboard driver already has a solution for you. I
happen to use one of Microsoft’s keyboards, and the Intellitype Pro
software that is installed includes the ability to do exactly that:
configure most of the “special” keys including disabling the Windows
key. (Control Panel -> Keyboard -> Key Settings has a list of keys that
can then be individually configured.)
It’s possible that your needs might also be met by keyboard macro
program. These programs allow you to assign sequences of keystrokes or
actions to a single key. This could be a viable option if you’re
looking to simply change the function of a few keys. Of course, you
could assign new single keystroke actions to all your keys. The specific
capabilities of the programs vary so be sure to check them out to make
sure they meet your needs. There are several including
Hot Keyboard, and
If you really want to remap the keyboard in arbitrary ways
without using a macro utility I have found one utility:
AutoHotkey. This tool is designed
to do exactly what we’ve been talking about: reassign the
functionality of individual keys on the keyboard.