I pit the Insert key

OK, it’s not such a big deal, but every so often I have a fat-fingered error and hit the Insert key by mistake … thereby changing from Insert to Type Over mode. Usually it only takes me a few keystrokes to realize I’m wiping out my valuable text, rather than enhancing it, but still … why is this ever useful? Does anyone intentionally go into type over mode or is just a useless pitfall designed to irritate us?

I blame (in declining order of relevance): Microsoft, the Republican Party, and the University of Southern California. Oh, and fire ants. Stupid fire ants.
(Edited to fix fat-fingered errors. Hey, quit your snickering!)

There have been many a time where I’ve been doing a last minute term paper at 3 AM, hopped up on caffeine and typing away about some topic that I couldn’t care less about, where that key has come out of no where and bit me in my ass. Not literally, of course, but I’m pretty sure that’s the only way the fucking thing could piss me off more.

I use it frequently, especially when responding to routine letters where pretty much all I’m changing is to whom it’s addressed. It allows me to keep the formatting and simply replace one set of info w/another w/fewer keystrokes. So, yea, some find it of significant use. Sorry you have a problem w/it.

I think I have intentionally used it once ever, I don t remember what for, but I’m pretty sure I have. I have been bit in the rear end quite a few times by it, though I’m not even sure how that key would have gotten hit a few times. I think it does serve a purpose, but it should be much harder to activate into typeover mode. Instead of just the single keystroke, something along the lines of:
Start>shutdown>wait till power down>remove cover>move jumper J22 from pins 1,2 to 2,3>replace cover>power on.
While in typeover mode a red flashing typeover should hover above all windows.

wring’s glowing (and yet mildly contemptuous) endorsement aside, the Insert key is probably the only thing I’ve ever wished had an “Are you sure you want do do that?” confirmation prompt.

All it needs is to be moved far away from where it can be accidentally hit. Having it right next to the delete and home/end keys is possibly the worst place you could put it.

I think you will find Insert - yeah, exactly what I wanted. to be an interesting read. You are clearly not alone in your hatred.

The Insert key has a valid use - when you’re editing older, machine-readable computer files in which an extra space somewhere can render the file completely unreadable, you definitely don’t want to be inserting any extra characters.

That said, unless you’re still working with ancient stuff like COBOL systems (and there are plenty of people who are in that category, unfortunately), it’s useless today.

Perhaps you would be happy with one of Apple’s new keyboards - they got rid of the Insert key entirely, along with the ever-useless Numlock. They work fine under Windows.


Can we just have it only be activateable with a key combo? Alt + Ctrl + Insert or something like that?

Before I started telecommuting full time, I was one of the go-to people in my department for solving annoying computer issues people thought were too embarrassing to actually call IT about. I used to hear Insert-related cries of panic about every other week. I offered to pull the key off a few people’s keyboards, but no one ever took me up on it.

While we’re redesigning the keyboard, seems like the Caps-lock key could get moved off somewhere a little less likely to get hit by accident. Unlike insert, its not completely useless, but it’s pretty rare I want to type a string of all caps, and its position and size must make it one of the most often hit non-letter buttons on the keyboard. And when I do ues it, its usually something I’m going to be doing for a while, so there’s no need for me to turn caps on and off quickly, it doesn’t need to be reachable from the home row.

I imagine the US has lost some billions of dollar in man hours every year to workers sitting infront of their keyboard wondering why their passwords don’t work, so it’s practically in the public interest to move the thing.

Also, think of the misunderstandings that could’ve been prevented if there wasn’t so much “accidental yelling” on online games and instant messengers.

I am a paralegal, and I use the insert/typeover key constantly. Nothing could be easier when you’re, say, changing dates - just click on the beginning of the date and type over it. Simple and saves many keystrokes/clicks. Really, one of the most used keys on my keyboard…

Now, Num Lock - does anyone use the number pad for anything but numbers? I’m always driven crazy when I use a new PC and have to go into the BIOS to change the “always on” setting…

No, it doesn’t. It saves one drag to highlight the text you want to change, but otherwise you still click, release, and type. Also, unless your dates are very rigidly formatted, they could be different lengths, so the click-drag-release combo would actually be better.

Ah, yes, but…

I’m doing typing, so any time I have to take my hands off the keyboard slows me down.

I find it well located. It’s in my desk drawer.

Give the keystroke a sound so you’ll know when you’ve hit it. I do that with my caps lock.

Ooh, that’s a great idea. Can you still assign sounds to keystrokes in XP, do you know? I haven’t tried to do that for many many years - direx pls?

It’s a part of my keyboard, actually. Sorry.

I’ve got this sudden image in my mind of someone sitting at a pipe organ. Maybe Caps Lock, Num Lock and Ins should be operated by foot pedals.

Oh, and Scroll Lock.

I actually use both the Insert and the Caps Lock keys constantly. But I realize my line of work (court transcription) is a bit esoteric for most people, and even I hit them both accidentally on occasion.

The key that drives me insane is the Scroll Lock. Is there any point whatsoever to that key, other than to light up a light on my keyboard? It doesn’t do any harm to hit it accidentally, but I’ve never even heard of a use for it. Is it one of those ancient holdovers from the computer dinosaur era or somathing?