Don't Forget The Scroll Lock



In an interview from the early 1980s, PC magazine asked an executive of keyboard manufacturer Key Tronic what was the key’s purpose, to which the executive replied: “I don’t know, but we put it on ours, too”.

The scroll lock key dates back from the original IBM keyboard and is a feature that other keyboard manufacturers simply adopted in the years after. It was initially intended to modify the behavior of the arrow keys. More specifically, it would toggle between two different modes of scrolling. When the scroll lock was on, the arrow keys would scroll the content of the entire window. When it was off, the arrows would only move the cursor.

But this is not the only thing the scroll lock is known to be used for. Depending on the operating system or application that is utilizing it, it can have other functions as well.

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DISCLAIMER:

Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for ”fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

The author of this video believes in good faith that it constitutes fair use as per 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Sources and References:

– PC Magazine: ”The PC’s Keys” (November 1982, page 175) –

– PC Magazine: ”Key Tronic’s Soft Touch” (January 1983, page 347) –

– Wikipedia: ”Scroll lock” –

– Tech Central: ”Evolutionary Leftovers” –

– Stack Exchange: ”Why do modern keyboards have Scroll Lock?” –

– youtube.com/EverySteveJobsVideo: ”Steve Jobs on his legacy (1994)” –

Credit for the beautiful satellite dish time-lapse footage goes to Beachfront:

Used under CC Licence –

-Chrome Experiments used as BRoll:

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– Comfortable Mystery 2 – Film Noire by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

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42 thoughts on “Don't Forget The Scroll Lock

  1. This is all false. The scroll lock has been used by the illuminati for decades to activate a secret code and access the superinternet

  2. I'm happy they keep these vestigial organs of computing around, cause we can utilize them for our own purposes, and maybe one day incorporate them into a new standard. Convincing keyboard manufacturers to add new keys for specific purposes seems like a unlikely battle to be won. The scroll lock, pause button, function keys, etc, give us the opportunity to customize or revolutionize our computing experience without having to market or invent new hardware.

  3. For those who don't have time to watch the full vid, the "Scroll Lock" key is basically an unnecessary key. So you can forget about it and move on with your work.

  4. Scroll Lock: The Pluto of keyboards. "Everything in its right place" with it, but feels odd and unbalanced without it..

    In Sim Racing we use Scroll Lock all the time as a on/off switch, especially for headset mic (with it having that nice little LED and all)
    So, old technology that was actually ahead of its time or just something once considered obsolete re-purposed by gamers.

  5. when i searched this on the internet i was looking for a 3 worder not a 6 minutes video, but a welcomed surprise nonetheless

  6. I want to chime in on this.
    The Scroll Lock.

    I've noticed that every time I use FRUITYLOOPS, any version …. when it loads up, It automatically enables SCROLL LOCK, and I still … for nearly 11 years … have NO IDEA what it does within FruityLoops.

    So ……… WHY?!?!

    Perhaps there should be an investigation into this? Ask them why? Ask the computer head bosses what this Scroll Lock horseshit is all about?

    I never use it…. Not EVER. The MOUSE seems to have overidden anything the Scroll Lock can do, so WHY?
    What a waste of space.

    I bet you at a certain time of day, those who "…know…" can press that key and get into the most darkest secrets of our world … maybe it just is a bs button though, so under used and underappreciated.

    It's like the "how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie center of a Tootsie Pop?"

    The world WILL never know.

  7. Welp, I've watched this video, and I have to say, I care about the key now.

    So since I lost one of my arrow keys on my keyboard, I'm gonna put the scroll lock key on it so I can press it without it feeling bad for being unused!

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