All of us, at one point, have accidentally pressed the Caps Lock key or Num Lock key. Then, you type a password and wonder why it doesn’t work. Wouldn’t it be nice to know at a glance the status of your Caps Lock and Num Lock keys?

RELATED: How to Make Windows Play a Sound When You Press Caps Lock, Num Lock, or Scroll Lock

You can make Windows play a sound when you press the Caps Lock key or Num Lock key. However, if that starts to drive you nuts, you can install a very small freeware program, called TrayStatus, that notifies you visually of the status of your Caps Lock and Num Lock keys, as well as other keys and even hard drive activity in real time.

Download TrayStatus, double-click the .exe file, and follow the on-screen instructions to install the program. You’re asked during the installation whether you want to launch TrayStatus at Windows startup. If you want TrayStatus available automatically when Windows starts, select this box and click “Next”.

On the final installation screen, select the “Launch Now” button to start TrayStatus automatically when you close the setup wizard. Click “Finish”.

TrayStatus displays a separate icon for each key for which you can view the status. By default, the Caps Lock and Num Lock icons display in the system tray, but you can enable more status icons by right-clicking on either the Caps Lock icon or the Num Lock icon in the system tray and selecting “TrayStatus Settings” from the popup menu.

On the Settings dialog box, make sure the Options tab is active. In the Options section on the right, you can choose whether TrayStatus starts with Windows.

To add more status icons to the system tray, select the check boxes for the icons you want to see in the Default Icons section. Any icons with a check mark in its check box will display in the system tray and show you the status of that item in real time.

Click “OK” to accept your changes and close the Settings dialog box.

The default icons you chose on the Settings dialog box all display in the system tray as shown below.

There’s only one problem: By default, on most computers, these icons show up in your popup System Tray, not on the taskbar itself. If you want to have them visible all the time, just click them and drag them onto the taskbar. (Note that there’s a separate icon for each item you check in TrayStatus’ settings.)

Now, we see all the icons on the Taskbar and can monitor the status of each key and the hard drive activity. For the hard drive, read activity shows in green on the left side of the icon and write activity shows in red on the right. When you move your mouse over the hard drive activity icon, the current speed of the read and write activity displays in a tooltip.

RELATED: How do You Make the Shift, Ctrl, and Alt Keys Toggle like Caps Lock?

Now that you can monitor the status of the Shift, Ctrl, and Alt keys, as well as the Caps Lock and Num Lock, you might want to make the Shift, Ctrl, and Alt keys toggle like the Caps Lock and Num Lock keys. This can be handy if you select a lot of files often or do other tasks involving heavy use of these keys. You can toggle the keys on with a single press and not have to hold the keys down while pressing other keys.

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Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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