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I use my numeric keypad for its intended purpose: entering numbers. My boss, on the other hand, doesn't believe in the arrow keys (or something), so whenever he uses my computer, he turns off my numlock.

I find this quite annoying (<--understatement), and I've often wondered if there was a way to either prevent him from messing with my keyboard settings, or resetting it after a period of time, or something. Even a simple confirmation message ("Are you sure you want to misappropriate the numeric keypad? Do you know that there's a perfectly serviceable delete key just a little bit to the left?") would help.

Is there a program that will do this? (OS is Windows XP, at least for now; might be Windows 7 in a few weeks.) Failing that, is there some place that sells a gadget that will give my boss an electric shock if he touches my numlock key?

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This does raise the question of why your boss uses your computer. Hasn't he got one of his own? – ChrisF Nov 21 '09 at 16:06
First question that sprang to mind here also ... – Rook Nov 21 '09 at 16:11
He has multiple computers of his own, but sometimes when we're discussing a question, he wants to "drive". I've learned never to argue with men about things like that, it's not worth it. :) – Martha Nov 22 '09 at 16:49
up vote 2 down vote accepted


SetNumlockState, AlwaysOn

would lock the numlock.

edit: You may also consider

Numlock::MsgBox, [your message here]



to map it to shift - allowing you to hold down the key and use it as arrow keys, or not hold the key, and use it for numbers.

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Why use a perfectly good go-kart wheel when you can use a tank tread? ;) +1 – RCIX Nov 21 '09 at 11:12
You think anybody's gonna argue with a tank? :P – Phoshi Nov 21 '09 at 11:19
Um, I'm afraid you've lost me. Is AutoHotKey a program? If so, where can I find it? What else does it do? Some context would be appreciated... – Martha Nov 21 '09 at 15:29 is the program. It's a computer automation program with a lovely scripting language. Place that inside a script (a text file with the extension .ahk), and run it, and your numlock key will be strangely... unresponsive. You could use something like Numlock::MsgBox, You're using the gorram keyboard wrong to show a messagebox instead. It's a lovely program, I highly reccomend it for almost any task ;) – Phoshi Nov 21 '09 at 15:51
Actually, playing around with it: numlock::shift remaps numlock to shift. When you hold shift and numlock is on, the keys behave as if it is off, so both you and your boss can be happy, just he'll have to hold the key down while pressing it. – Phoshi Nov 21 '09 at 15:54

You can use sharpkeys to remap numlock to some other key, like shift.

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If you hunt around the web, you can also find the appropriate registry values to set to do the same thing - SharpKeys is better interface to the same functionality. – Michael Kohne Nov 21 '09 at 1:32

In the registry, open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Keyboard.

The entry InitialKeyboardIndicators can have the following values:

0 = NumLock is turned OFF after the logon.
1 = Disable NumLock.
2 = Numlock is turned ON after the logon.


If I understand your dilemma correctly, you like one NumLock setting and your boss likes another. So why don't you create another user account for your boss? You can also use a screen-saver with your password, to force him to logon in order to use the computer. I believe that's a better solution than monkeying with the registry.

Regarding the registry key, there are actually two of those. Here's how it works:

After boot and before login, Windows reads
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Keyboard\InitialKeyboardIndicators
and sets it up as default. After Logon, Windows Applies the setting from
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Keyboard\InitialKeyboardIndicators (0=Off, 2=On).
This setting is stored independently inside each user profile, and the state from the Windows Session is saved at logoff. This means if you turn your NumLock on, a value of 2 is written at logoff, and NumLock will be toggled on at next login.

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+1, though logging in and out is likely to be a bit of unnecessary hassle – Phoshi Nov 21 '09 at 11:19
Doesn't this only affect the initial numlock state, though? I.e. how it's set when you log on, but after that you can toggle it at will? – Martha Nov 21 '09 at 15:27
Oh, wait, I just saw the 'Disable NumLock' bit. Unfortunately, that sounds like just the opposite of what I want - wouldn't that simply disable the numeric keypad? – Martha Nov 21 '09 at 15:28

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