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Windows 7: Keyboard Layout - Change

08 Dec 2014   #10
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
Food for thought

Thanks for taking an interest here, Brink.

Setting a default. Never thought about that idea. But now that I'm looking at the dialog with that in mind, I see that in fact I already had set the standard keyboard as my default. The way I switch from one keyboard to the other is with the little icon that shows up toward the right edge of my Taskbar (which I have docked across the bottom of my screen). Simply selecting one or the other keyboard should not change the default. And removing the international keyboard from the list in that dialog is kind of defeating my purposes. I mean, I just added that keyboard to the list because I wanted to use it, because I use it regularly, just not 100% of the time. I do occasionally lapse into my native language and don't want to have to do the extra things I'm perfectly willing to do when every other word has some sort of accent in it. So I do want both those keyboards there. Removing one of them isn't really a solution. Plus, changing keyboards does not entail opening that dialog, so if switching keyboards via the icon is somehow having an impact on the broader settings dialog . . . well, I'd call that a bug. Wouldn't you?

I'd be curious to know if anybody else has seen this. It happened once while I composing my preceding post in this thread. And then it happened about 5 minutes later, after I had signed off this site. But I have to say it hasn't happened in the intervening several hours. Maybe it just needed some extra time to settle in. Those pesky bits . . .


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Dec 2014   #11
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Yeah, something is buggy about it since it's randomly becoming your default input language.

You might also double check to see what you have set in the tutorial below to make sure it also has the correct input language set in all its options.

Region and Language Settings - Copy to New Users and Welcome Screen
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2014   #12
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
Another thought occurs to me

Interesting idea, Shawn. I ran through that dialog. My system already showed US non-international as the currect setting for all 3 of Current User, Welcome Screen, and New User Accounts. Nonetheless, I clicked the 2 check boxes at the bottom & let it go ahead & set those things. I mean, I don't see how it could hurt. The possibility of me ever creating another user account on this system are, as they say, vanishingly small. I have only ever logged on as me & I'm the only user of this machine. This ID is the Administrator & it's the only one that I've ever used here.

However, another possibility occurs to me. It would seem counter-intuitive if it's true but I'll put it forward just to see what you think. Could it be that the setting could be different in the browser compared to the text editor compared to the spreadsheet processor compared to . . . . ? The system doesn't keep track application by application what the keyboard is set to, does it? I suppose someone might like that kind of flexibility but for myself, I wouldn't like to have to keep track at that level of granularity. I consider the keyboard a system-level resource whose properties are global, meaning the same in all applications at any given moment.

So what do you think?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2014   #13
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Could be. It wouldn't be the first time that software used it's own settings instead of was set as default in Windows.

When it happens next, see if there's any specific program or action that it keeps happening after.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Dec 2014   #14
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
I may be on to something

I've got a Firefox window open side by side with a Metapad window. When I hover the mouse over the language button while the browser is in the foreground, it tells me US International. When I switch tasks to Metapad and hover the mouse again, it tells me US. In fact, if I just leave the mouse hovering over the button in the Taskbar, as I Alt+Tab repeatedly back and forth between FF & MP, the hover text over the button changes back and forth between the 2 keyboard settings.

So you're telling me that applications can query the state of the language setting & select whatever they want from the list of installed things you can see in the dialog we've been discussing here? As long as they can't pick something I haven't made available there, then I suppose that's OK. I have to say it would be a bit rude of an application to not simply accede to whatever I have already set. Even always reverting to the default is, to my mind, a bug.

Well, at least now I know. It's something I have to pay attention to. I don't like it, but as long as I know about it, I can be on my toes & recognize what's going on. If I want to change the keyboard setting in either application, of course that works. It's not like it's stuck in either setting. It's just that I've been expecting that if I set it while I happened to be in the browser, I would still have the same setting if I switched tasks to something else. Apparently the answer to that is . . . . IT AIN'T NECESSARILY SO! (with apologies to George and Ira)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2014   #15
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
Visual cue

It would be a good idea to have some sort of visual cue to alert you to the fact that the keyboard has changed. See, the 2 icons I was seeing were so similar they may as well have been the same. Yes, there's the Change Icon button buried about 3 layers deep in the dialog but the icons offered were all either boring, dull, or not very interesting. Not that I'm one to be redundant or anything. So I thought why not create my own icon? I tried to do that with Paint but it didn't seem to offer that option. Then I remembered I have GIMP. I can't remember now why I got that behemoth of an application. I'm not putting it down, don't get me wrong. But I'm not much of an artist and the couple of times I tried in the past to do anything with it, it was just too overwhelming and intimidating. But I thought I'd give it a try to turn a JPEG I've got into an icon. And it turned out to be ridiculously easy & intuitive, despite the fact that it took about a minute and a half to launch. The image of a sledgehammer crushing a peanut comes to mind, gee I wonder why . . . Anyway, now, when my system goes to the International keyboard, I see this:

Keyboard Layout - Change-icon.jpg

This is a snip of the right end of my Taskbar. The little fuzzy thing at the left is my icon for the International keyboard. I hope it looks vaguely familiar.

Interesting aside. When I launched the Snipping Tool, I had to switch the keyboard even though I already had the International keyboard selected in Firefox. Every time the Snipper came to foreground, the keyboard would revert to default. I'm beginning to believe the keyboard setting is indeed something managed by the system, rather than selected by the application, and the system keeps track of the most recent keyboard setting for each currently running application. I'm sure if I cared enough to look, I'd find a little pocket of bloat dedicated to this feature somewhere in my Registry. But note that I was careful to say "currently running." After creating the above attachment & closing the Snipper, I just reopened it to see what would happen. The keyboard reverted to default. So the memory of who uses which keyboard lasts only until the application is closed. At least for some applications. I need to experiment a whole lot more to figure out if that's true for all applications.

In any case, it's a good idea to assign alternate icons that really look alternate, because the default icon management with this keyboard feature doesn't give you a whole lot of visually striking help.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2014   #16
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Nar, I don't mean that the app will change your input language, but use its own instead.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2014   #17
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
Experiment

So input language is an attribute the operating system exposes to applications and they get to choose? They can choose only those things I've got listed in the Text Services and Input Languages dialog, right? They can't choose from the larger list of all languages, right? By that, I mean the list you get when you click the Add button on the General tab in that dialog. They can't see the full list, just the ones I've selected, right?

I just ran a little experiment with Metapad. I had 2 Metapad windows open, one with the default keyboard, one with the optional keyboard. I saved both files, thus closing all Metapad sessions. (I didn't have more Metapad sessions going, something I often do.) I then reopened each of those files. They both opened with the default keyboard. I guess all that proves is that Metapad does not remember whatever keyboard was set last time it closed. It also means the system isn't remembering the keyboard setting from session to session on behalf of applications. It appears to be something the system reemembers on behalf of open applications only so long as they remain open.

Then it occurred to me perhaps the order in which I saved the 2 files might matter, as in do I first close the session with the alternate keyboard or the default keyboard? So I ran another experiment. I created a file with the alternate keyboard & then closed Metapad. And it was the only Metapad session running. When I reopened that file, the keyboard was back to default. So at least Metapad isn't remembering the keyboard setting. Plus the system doesn't appear to be making any attempt to remember whatever the keyboard was last time it had been running.

I'm just trying to understand how this works. I can't help myself.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2014   #18
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

It all depends on the specific program and program developer. If they make the app fully Windows compatible and compliant, then usually the program should use the same as what you have Windows set for.

Otherwise, it's a toss up of what the program will use. Some programs just have their own settings.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2014   #19
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
Something a bit weird after exiting the International keyboard

I've noticed this a couple of times now so it's not an accident & I'm not imagining it. When the International keyboard is in effect, the Right Alt key is "captive." It has special functions, as described in that MS Knowledge Base article I cited a few posts back. But when you switch back to the default keyboard, it's supposed to "liberate" the Right Alt key to let it become functional again, like for activating the Menu Bar in any window. But I have noticed a few times now that sometimes, intermittently, the Right Alt key remains "captive." You can click it all you want, it won't do anything. And this in applications that you may or may not have been using previously under the International keyboard. The solution is to reactivate the International keyboard & then immediately revert to the default keyboard. That "liberates" the Right Alt key and things are normal from then on. Very strange.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Keyboard Layout - Change




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