How to Disable/Enable the Insert Key in Windows 10

Windows 10 Header

The Insert Key was needed in early versions of Windows. In our modern day of Windows, the key is no longer needed. Now, we just place our cursor where we want to insert text and start typing. If we use the Insert Key, our text is overwritten. This can be frustrating as we find ourselves clicking Undo and starting over.

Every key has a corresponding key scan code that tells Windows how to handle the keystroke. We can find this code and change it to a null character in the Windows Registry, which disables the key.

Instead of editing the Registry directly, we are going to use a free software utility to perform this task.

Note! You should first create a backup of the Registry. See my blog post on Wise Registry Cleaner on how create a backup or click this link to download and install the free Regbak software.

This is for desktop/laptop using Windows 10. SharpKeys will run on Vista through Windows 10.

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Running Regbak Software

First, open and run the program. Next, click on the New Backup button to create a Registry backup. Refer to below image:

Regbak 1
Selecting a new backup

A backup dialog box will appear. Here you can chose a Backup Folder. It is recommended you use the default. Next, give the backup a Description of your choice, then click Start. See below image:

Regbak 2
Chosing the backup location and entering a description

When the program has finished, you will receive a message at the top of the screen that the backup operation has completed. At the bottom of the dialog box, check for the mesage that the operation finished successfully. Now, click Close. See following image:

Regbak 3
Completing the process

A final dialog box will appear showing your newly created Registry backup entry. Additionally, by highlighting an entry you can either Restore or Delete a Registry backup. Click Close to end the program. Refer to below image:

Regbak 4
Exit the program

SharpKeys Overview

SharpKeys is free software for you to edit specific Registry entries. It uses a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to remap keys on your keyboard. This software makes it easy to edit the Registry without using the built-in Registry Editor. Using the Editor is time consuming and error prone.

Download and Install

Open your browser and click this link to download and install SharpKeys. You can download the file in Microsoft Installer (MSI) or Zip format; the easiest method is using the MSI.

Using SharpKeys

Note! This program requires Administrative Privileges to run. Please open the program as an Administrator by right-clicking on the program under Start, and click on More > Run as Administrator.

Once the program is running, click the Add button. See below image:

SharpKeys 1
Opening the program

Scroll through the list on the left and click on Special: Insert (E0_52). Next, click on Turn Key Off (00_00) from the list on the right. To remap the Insert Key, click OK. Refer to below image:

SharpKeys 2
Selecting the Insert Key to be remapped

The value in parentheses is the key scan code associated with it. We are replacing the Insert Key code of E0_52 to a non-existence code of 00_00, which will disable the key.

Next, click the Write to Registry button. The software will add the new code for the Insert Key to the Registry for you. See following image:

SharpKeys 3
Write the null key scan code to the Registry

To complete the process, click OK. Refer to below image:

SharpKeys 4
Restart message

To exit the program, click Close. See below image:

SharpKeys 5
Exit the program

For the changes to take effect, you will need to log out or restart your computer.

You can use SharpKeys to remap a host of other keyboard characters.

Undoing Your Change

If you have made no other changes, you can use Wise Registry Cleaner or Regbak to restore the Registry depending on which software you used to create a Registry backup. If you have made other changes and wish to restore the Insert Key function, those changes will be lost.

Another method is using the Registry Editor to reenable the Insert Key function. This method is very technical, frustrating and error prone; so I don’t recommend doing this.

I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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Author: Raymond

I am Raymond Oglesby, an Information Technology (IT) specialist with 30 years in the field. I have taught Microsoft Applications and troubleshot computers in 15 countries and many States. My career was focused on mainframes and desktops from application development to implementation. I have written hundreds of programs for various architectures. I decided to start a blog to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I plan on updating this blog at least twice a week about smart phone apps to Windows. Please feel free to leave a Comment or Tweet. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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