When you inadvertently press Insert on your keyboard, it toggles to Overtype mode. This means anything you type next will overwrite the text that follows the cursor. Fortunately, you can disable this annoying key in Windows 10.
Every key on your keyboard has a corresponding key scan code that tells Windows how to handle each keystroke. While you can’t turn off the Insert key by default, you can tell Windows to replace it with a null character in the Windows Registry.
Disable the Insert Key with SharpKeys
SharpKeys is free software you can use to edit the specific Registry entry for you. It uses a graphical interface to remap keys on the keyboard. This tool makes it easy to make the necessary change to the Registry without actually having to open Registry Editor.
To do this, fire up a browser, head over to the SharpKeys GitHub page, and download the most recent release.
After you install SharpKeys, open it from the Start menu, and then click “Add” when it opens.
Scroll through the list on the left and click “Special: Insert (E0_52),” click “Turn Key Off (00_00)” in the list on the right, and then click “OK” to remap the key.
The value in the parentheses is the key scan code associated with it, so the Insert key’s code is “00_52.” We want to disable it, so we replace the code with the nonexistent “00_00.”
Next, click “Write to Registry,” and SharpKeys adds the values to the Windows Registry for you.
For the changes to take effect, you have to log out or restart your computer.
You can also use SharpKeys to disable other annoying keys, like Caps Lock.
Disable the Insert Key via Registry Editor
If you’re comfortable making changes to the Windows Registry, you can also disable the Insert key manually in the Registry Editor. You’ll be making the same change that SharpKeys performs in the background.
The Registry Editor is a powerful tool, though. If it’s misused, it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. However, this is a pretty simple hack. As long as you follow the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems.
If you’ve never worked with the Registry Editor before, you might want to read up on it a bit before you get started. Definitely back up the Registry and your computer before you make the following changes.
For extra safety, you might want to create a System Restore point before you continue. This way, if something goes wrong, you can just roll back to a time before things went haywire.
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When you’re ready, open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key in the left sidebar:
Right-click “Keyboard Layout,” select “New,” and then click “Binary Value.”
Although the name of the value is arbitrary, you should choose something memorable in case you have to find it again and make any changes. For example, you could name it “Insert Remap.”
Double-click the value, and then set the value data to the following:
The order is important here. It tells the OS how to handle the remap and what to do when you press the key.
The first 16 zeroes act as the header and will remain set to all zeroes. You can ignore these.
The next hexadecimal number specifies how many remaps are in the value plus one—the null entry at the end—followed by six more zeroes.
The next two digits are the scan code to the key to which we want Windows to remap the Insert key. In this case, we set it to do nothing (00 00).
After that, the following scan code is the Insert key (52 E0).
Finally, the last eight zeroes signify the null entry and the end.
As long as you follow the scheme above, you can map multiple keys with a single value. First, increment the “02.” Then, type both the scan code for the remapped key and the default key before the null entry (the final eight zeroes).
It might seem daunting at first, but once you understand which set of values do what, it gets easier.