IBM M13 Keyboard

Turn off CAPS LOCK and INS

I am a ten finger typist doing around 5 strokes/second – though I do make a lot of mistakes. I learned the craft on a good old fashioned typewriter. The world has moved; unfortunately, keyboards have not. There are keys left in a modern keyboard that are simply of no use anymore – grim reminders of the age of typewriters or just leftovers from ancient (before 2000) times in computers.

Two such keys are CAPS LOCK and INS. As fast typist, you simply don’t need CAPS LOCK. And I have no idea what anyone needs INS for anymore. In other words, hitting either of those keys is always an error. Fortunately, there is a solution that does not require you to take a screwdriver to your keyboard: you can turn those keys off.

The attached registry file will do this nicely. Just unzip and apply.


Featured image: The legendary IBM M13 in Stealth Black.


  1. Ronald Duncan   •  

    I trained by self all those years ago to use the CAPS LOCK key, and it is helpful for languages like SQL where some people like to type the key words in upper case. I have to admit I just use VIM to fix them up. Currently I have a collection of Microsoft Natural 4000s can not remember the name of the previous model but I wore the letters off it before it died. I use SHIFT + SPACE in VIM for ESC so holding down the shift key while typing does not work that well for me.

    My son has the most wonderful keyboard where he has managed to wear off all the letters, and it still works nicely.

    Those old IBM boards were great, if a little noisy.

    • Thomas Kejser   •     Author

      HI Ronald

      I find VIM quite annoying and prefer an editor that auto corrects, auto completes, inline compiles (so I dont have to wait for a compile cycle to find errors) and actually allows me to just move the cursor to where I want to type and then just start typing there without invoking an obscure shortcut first. I know its kind of crazy to have such requirements as we are only in 2014 and not in 1980.


  2. Martin Cairns   •  

    I do have a single use case for the insert key, when doing a block selection (ALT and left click) and copy/paste without the insert being on it will overwrite text on lines below if there isn’t enough blank space. So a couple times a week at most it’s quicker than hitting carriage return to generate the blank space to prevent this.

  3. Marco Russo   •  

    I never had an issue with CAPS LOCK, but disabling the INS might be really a good idea.
    What is your favorite keyboard? I and Alberto use Unicomp ( and we still didn’t find anything better. I hate almost all of the notebook keyboards and those useless expensive wireless ones. I never seen you at office/home so i’m wondering what is your favorite setup.

    • Thomas Kejser   •     Author

      Hi Marco

      I used to own the M13, but unfortunately spilled a cup of coffee on it. It is without doubt the best keyboard I have ever had. It DOES have one problem which is that it sounds like a machine gun when you type on it. This makes is unusable for open office spaces.

      The best alternative I have found is Das Keyboard. The Ultimate version (without any inscriptions on the keys) is just amazing: It is perfectly balanced and very, very fast to type on.

      • Sanjay   •  

        I had an IBM keyboard as well. it was awesome, so awesome my brother ran off with it when he went to UNI :-(.

  4. Mark   •  

    I haven’t timed myself since high school typing class, but I’m no slouch. I find that caps lock can be very useful when typing t-sql. I learned when the convention was typing keywords in all caps and still do it that way (get off my lawn /s). I find it’s easier to hit caps lock before and after SELECT rather than holding it down the entire time.

    • Thomas Kejser   •     Author

      Mark: typing SELECT in uppercase is what your left little finger is for 🙂

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