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May 23, 2011

Swap Control and Command Keys on a MacBook Pro Running Bootcamp and Windows 7

Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops are some of the best laptops out there on the market. Not only great for running OS X, but with Bootcamp they make great Windows laptops too.

However, one annoyance with Windows on a Macbook is the tiny little Control key on the left side of the keyboard. When you cut and paste a lot of text, like I do, pressing Control-c or Control-v can be a little difficult. Not a problem when running OS X, since you use your Command key (right next the the Space Bar on a Mac). However, once in Windows you stuck with that little Control key. Or are you?

Recently I found out there is a way to make your left Command key function like the Control key.This is not a key swap, it is really just a key reassignment. So the right command key still works like a the Windows key. But after making this tweak, your left Command key works just like the Control key making your cut and paste keystrokes a lot easier.

The key reassignment is done in the registry. However, since mere morals don't really want to work with the Registry and its nasty hex codes, there is a utilty to do this. Download Sharpkeys 3.0 from here and read the explanation of what it it does from RandyRants.

To reassign the key, start SharpKeys and click add your dialog looks like this:
Chose the left Command key as the "from" key (note in Windows it shows up as the left Windows key). And choose Control as the "to" key. Click OK.
Any reassigned keys are listed in SharpKeys in case you ever want to remove the mapping. Click on the "Write to Registry" button when you ready to make the changes to the Registry.

That's it, the changes have been written to the Registry. Logoff and log back in or reboot. Now you can cut and paste in Windows with your thumb instead of your with your little finger. Absolutely wonderful stuff! Enjoy.
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