Caps Lock trials and tribulations

Once upon a time I was driven mad when I kept hitting the Caps Lock key on my keyboard and having to go back and correct my typing.

i WOULD REGULARLY MAKE MISTAKES LIKE THIS and things got so frustrating that I decided I would have to do something with some urgency. Various solutions suggested themselves to me including ripping the Caps Lock key off of the keyboard or gluing it so that it couldn’t move.

A wise old computer veteran then came up with an ingenious idea which was to pull off the key, lay some bits of compressed foam cut from a camping mattress around the little post that the key fitted on, and then put the key back.

The key would then rest on the foam which would need to be compressed before Caps Lock could be engaged, making it much harder to do by accident. This worked perfectly for a long time and virtually eliminated having to go back and undo typing errors.

Just the other day, thanks to Telegraph columnist Rick Maybury, I learnt of a little software program that does the same thing and a bit more besides. It’s called First Cap and is available free from


At just over a megabyte in size, it’s quick to download and install and not at all complicated to set up. Under general settings, you can tell First Cap to run whenever Windows starts, choose the beeping sound for it to make, choose whether you want it in English or Italian, and find out how to make a donation to author Fabio Falsini.

The controls menu allows you to configure what the Caps Lock, Insert and Num Lock keys do. As far as the Caps Lock goes, you can disable it is entirely, but the setting that makes the most sense to me is found under advanced settings, and switches it if you press the shift key.

This is pretty cunning because it allows you to use Caps Lock but, as soon as you hit the shift key it knows you were expecting an initial capital followed by lower case letters, and switches off, beeping as it does so. There are other settings you can choose such as a keystroke combination to turn Caps Lock on or off.

The program’s added bonus is that you can completely disable the Insert key as well. In three decades of computing I’ve never needed to use it but, because it’s very near the delete key, I must have hit it accidentally thousands of times, and had to go back and retype things that I had accidentally typed over.

You can also disable the Num Lock key but somehow it has never been the irritant that Caps Lock and Insert have been, so I’ve left it alone, secure in the knowledge that I can now turn it off if it ever dares to raise its ugly head at me.


2 thoughts on “Caps Lock trials and tribulations

  1. Thank you! I read this yonk ago in the Tribune and thought it was a fantastic idea. At my last company in Durban i wasnt able to download any programmes off the web, but at my new company in Cape Town I can. I have just been given a laptop to use and suddenly caps-lock has driven me crazy. I remembered your article and googled it. You are a star. I have downloaded the programme and know I will be delighted with the results. Thanks for your wonderful column, I hope you will be very happy in your new country and will keep writing.

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