Ok, this has been something that’s been annoying me for quite some time. Who’s bright idea was it to come up with the Function Lock key? Apparently it was Microsoft. No surprise. If it was just another useless key like SrcLk then I wouldn’t care. But the fact that it totally changes purpose of ALL of the F-Keys and others. It’s really annoying. Here I’ll talk about my experience with a couple F-Lock “enhanced” keyboards and what I did to “fix” them.
The real reason why this annoys me is really because it changes the Insert key. I frequently use SSH programs like PuTTY and Tectia SSH Client (they used to have a free version, but no more.) So when using these programs you need to use Ctrl+Insert to copy and Shift+Insert to paste because Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V actually have a special meaning to the remote machine. (BTW this is the way most programs worked until someone had to come and change it… I’ll blame Microsoft for that one too)
For whatever reason, the Insert key is joined with the PrtScn button on these keyboards. Apparently they thought I would be using PrtScn more than Insert.
Microsoft Natural Keyboard
The MS Natural MultiMedia Keyboard has the F-Lock off at power up, and with F-Lock off, the F-Keys aren’t F-Keys, they are their alternate function. Also with F-Lock off, the Insert key isn’t insert, it’s PrtScn. So with this keyboard, every time I boot my PC I need to hit the F-Lock key to get Insert to work instead of PrtScn. Seems trivial, but gets very annoying after awhile.
Logitech Office Comfort Keyboard
This Logitech keyboard does a little better job. On a whim, I purchased this five pack of keyboards for $25. The F-Lock is still off at power up, but the F-Keys are opposite of the MS keyboard. Meaning, with F-Lock off, they act like F-Keys not the goofy alternate function. The other think I like is that they use a more normal layout for the PageUp, PageDown, Home, End, and Delete keys. They just make the Delete key extra big and moved Insert up to the PrtScn button. The downside is that you still must press F-Lock to use Insert, like the MS keyboard. My only other complaint with this keyboard is they made the right shift key smaller than normal.
If found this awesome little utility called KeyTweak. It makes use of Microsoft’s Scancode Map registry key to remap your keyboard. This means that it doesn’t run any silly program in your system tray all the time. It just modifies the registry and then it’s done.
With the Logitech keyboard I created very simple mapping and effectively swapped Insert and PrtScn keys. That way I don’t have to touch F-Lock unless I want to use PrnScn and everything is as it should be. For now, I’ll stick with the Logitech keyboard. It’s a little smaller than the MS keyboard so it doesn’t take up as much space. Plus, I’ve got five of them now, so I better get typing.