How To Fix Reversed Caps Lock Functionality

The reverse functionality of the Caps lock refers to when it starts typing in small letters when the Caps lock is turned on, and in capital letters when the Caps lock is turned off. Users have often reported this problem on their Windows computers, and if you are experiencing a similar problem, then you will find a solution to fix it here.

The reversed Caps lock operation can occur for several reasons, ranging from hardware issues to problematic drivers and irregular system settings.

Why is the Caps Lock Reversed?

The Caps lock is meant to write in all caps when toggled and enabled. However, it should write in all small letters when toggled again and turned off. However, as mentioned earlier, that is not always the case. There can be many reasons for the Caps lock to work in reverse operation. Here is a list of the possible issues, to name a few:

  • The Shift key is pressed and stuck on your keyboard. If so, the functionality of the Caps lock will be reversed.
  • The keyboard driver is corrupted or outdated and causing issues.
  • The system files responsible for handling the input/output peripherals are corrupted.
  • The accessibility filter keys are enabled preventing repeated keystrokes from being registered.

Now that we know what the reasons could be for a reversed Caps lock functionality, let us continue to see how it can be resolved.

Fix Reverse Functionality Caps Lock

The solutions to fix the reverse functionality of the Caps lock given below should surely work. However, depending on what the issue was in the first place, it is uncertain which one will fix it. Therefore, we recommend that you apply the fixes in the given chronological order that starts easy and makes its way up to more extensive solutions.

Check if The Shift Key is Stuck

The first thing you ought to do in the troubleshooting steps is to make sure that the Shift key on the keyboard isn’t pressed and stuck there. If it were so, this would reverse the Caps lock functionality, which means that if the Caps lock were on and the Shift key was pressed, it would write in small letters. However, if the Caps lock was on and the Shift key was pressed, it would write everything in capital letters – which is a reversed functionality.

Note: We are not worried that the Caps lock key might be stuck. If it were, then the letters would not shift between capital and small at all.

Use the following steps to make sure that the Shift key isn’t pressed and stuck:

  1. Type in “osk” in the Run Command box to open the On-Screen Keyboard.

  2. Check to see if the Shift key is highlighted, as in the image below. If it is, it means that the Shift key is pressed.

    Check if Shift key is stuck using On Screen Keyboard
    Check if the Shift key is stuck using On-Screen Keyboard

If you find that the Shift key is pressed and stuck, and you cannot get it unstuck, then the only solution at this point is to get a new keyboard, and your reversed Caps lock issue should be resolved.

Restart the Computer

Everything on a Windows computer is running on services and processes. It may be possible that one or more processes that control the computer’s I/O mechanism have gone haywire and needs a simple reboot to function normally again.

Therefore, try restarting the computer and check if it resolves the issue. If the problem remains, perform the rest of the solutions given below.

Reconnect the Keyboard

In case you are using a desktop computer on an external keyboard with a laptop, an issue can occur with the USB interface and cause the Caps lock to function abnormally.

Disconnect the keyboard and plug it back in. It would be better if you can change the USB port when inserting it back. If you are using a Bluetooth or a dongle keyboard, disconnect it and then reconnect it too.

Once reconnected, check to see if the reversed Caps lock problem has been mitigated.

Run Keyboard Troubleshooter

Thankfully, the modern Windows operating systems come with a built-in troubleshooter that automatically detects and resolves problems. With a dedicated keyboard troubleshooter, you should be able to fix and apply settings that may be causing the Caps lock functionality to behave this way.

Here are the steps to run the keyboard troubleshooter:

  1. Go to the following:

    Settings app >> System >> Troubleshoot >> Other troubleshooters
  2. Click Run in front of Keyboard.

    Run the keyboard troubleshooter
    Run the keyboard troubleshooter

    The troubleshooting wizard will now run and scan the keyboard settings for any anomalies. If it finds any, you will be suggested to perform the action.

  3. In case any suggestions are offered, apply the fix(es). If not, close the troubleshooter.

Disable Filter Keys

Filter Keys is a Windows accessibility feature that lets you ignore repeated accidental keystrokes. This feature is useful for people with tremors, but you may not need it if you have no disabilities.

Disabling the filter keys has often solved the issue of the reversed Caps lock functionality. Use the following steps to turn off filter keys:

  1. Go to the following:

    Settings app >> Accessibility >> Keyboard
  2. Toggle the slider in front of “Filter Keys” into the Off position.

    Disable filter keys
    Disable filter keys

Although the filter keys function is disabled by default, it may be possible that it had been activated by someone else, or by accident. Either way, once disabled, check to see if it resolved the reverse Caps lock functionality issue.

Update/Reinstall the Keyboard Driver

If the problem persists, then try updating or reinstalling the keyboard driver. Drivers are an integral part to run all system hardware. If they are not functioning correctly, it will in turn affect the functionality of the hardware.

Use the following steps to automatically update the keyboard driver:

  1. Open the Device Manager by typing in “devmgmt.msc” in the Run Command box.

    Open the Device Manager
    Open the Device Manager
  2. Expand “Keyboards,” right-click the keyboard, and then click “Update driver” from the context menu.

    Update keyboard driver
    Update keyboard driver
  3. From the update wizard, click “Search automatically for drivers.”

    Search for drivers automatically
    Search for drivers automatically

    The wizard will now search the internet for driver updates. If one is available, it will download and install it.

  4. Close the driver update wizard.

If the steps above resulted in the latest driver already installed, then you can reinstall the same driver. After doing so, check to see if the issue is resolved.

Reset Caps Lock with Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word has the ability to autocorrect words if they are typed incorrectly. Using this feature, you can reset the Caps lock key to correct its reverse functionality.

Use the following steps to enable autocorrect in Microsoft Word and then use it to rest the Caps lock key:

  1. In Word, click File from the ribbon menu and then click Options.

    Open Microsoft Word Options
    Open Microsoft Word Options
  2. Switch to the Proofing tab and click “AutoCorrect Options.”

    Open AutoCorrect Options in Word
    Open AutoCorrect Options in Word
  3. In the AutoCorrect tab, check the box with “Replace text as you type” and “Correct accidental usage of cAPS LOCK key,” and then click Ok.

    Enable AutoCorrect in Microsoft Word 1
    Enable AutoCorrect in Microsoft Word
  4. Click Ok on the options window again.

  5. Now, inside a blank, new document, type a word with a small first letter and the following letters in capital and then hit the spacebar.

    For example, type in “hELLO”, or “mICROSOFT”, and then press the spacebar.

    As soon as you press Spacebar, the word should be corrected automatically.

The Caps lock key should now be reset, and its reverse functionality should be corrected.

Repair Windows

Windows comes with preinstalled tools to help fix the OS. Apart from the built-in troubleshooter that we used earlier, Windows also comes with a Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool, System File Checker (SFC), and a Check Disk (CHKDSK) utility, where each performs a different scan and attempts to automatically fix any glitches in the OS.

Run the following cmdlets in the given order inside an elevated Command Prompt instance in an attempt to repair any problematic system files:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Checkhealth
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
sfc /scannow
Repair Windows with DISM and SFC
Repair Windows with DISM and SFC

When the scans are completed, check to see if the Caps lock’s functionality has been returned to its original state.

Use Shift to Turn Off Caps Lock

If none of the solutions above have worked so far, then as a last resort, change the button to turn off the caps lock through Windows Settings.

If there is a problem with the Caps lock button, from the hardware or the software end, then you can set the Shift key (provided that it isn’t stuck) and disable Caps lock with it.

Use the following steps to set the Shift button as the button to turn off the Caps lock:

  1. Go to the following:

    Settings app >> Time & language >> Typing >> Advanced keyboard settings >> Language bar options
  2. Switch to the “Advanced Key Settings” tab and select “Press the SHIFT key” in the “To turn off Caps Lock” section, and then click Apply and Ok.

    Set Shift key to turn off Caps lock
    Set the Shift key to turn off the Caps lock
  3. Now, press the Shift key to disable Caps lock and see if the issue has been resolved.

Concluding Words

The reverse Caps lock on a computer is an issue and not a feature of the OS. Although you can still get all your writing tasks done, it is not the ideal situation. This is why, this article lists all the possible solutions to fix the issue.

Note that you may find that pressing the CTRL + Shift + Caps lock shortcut keys resets the Caps lock and fixes the issue. However, after a thorough investigation, we found that this shortcut does not work and does not reverse the Caps lock’s functionality.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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