I’m a big fan of my daskeyboard mechanical keyboard, using the built in KVM on my monitor to switch between my MacBook and my Windows desktop throughout the day. This works smoothly apart from the loss of muscle memory for touch typing, particularly around the cmd and ctrl keys, which are switched between the two OSes. As good old ctrl+[zxcv] is a major part of the typing life cycle, this drives me bonkers when on Windows as Windows+C brings up Cortana and Windows+V brings up the multi-clipboard functionality, neither of which I use.

After hours of cursing, I finally motivated myself enough to track down how to remedy this mismatch. What follows are two methods I’ve employed, partly to document what I’ve done for Future Me.

Method 1 - Registry Hacking

Simply disable both of these annoying hotkeys under Windows:

  • Disabling Cortana: reg.exe add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search /v VoiceShortcut /t DWORD /d 0
  • Disabling Windows+B shortcut: reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced /v DisabledHotKeys /t REG_SZ /d V

A quick log-off-and-log-in and my clumsy MacOS muscle memory no longer brings up pop up windows and “helpful” features.

Method 2 - Remap the Keys

A perhaps more graceful solution (apart from becoming a better typist), using the PowerToys Keyboard Manager, I have remapped the cmd and left-ctrl keys under Windows to swap their logical assignment. Now the same physical keys perform the same function, regardless of my operating system. As a bonus, I remap the caps lock key to esc to make that more accessible (something I quickly took to after being afflicted with the horrid touchbar on my MacBook).