Solved Keyboard Keys Produce The Wrong Symbols

April 8, 2012 at 11:35:16
Specs: Windows XP SP3, AMD

When I try to key in characters, not letters nor numbers I get odd characters. Colons and semicolons, the @ symbol, <>./\][{}| return odd or wrong symbols The -+ on the regular keyboard are wrong too but not on the num pad. Tried PS2 and USB keyboards known good. Also does it in Safe Mode or at the DOS prompt.

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#1
April 8, 2012 at 13:19:32
✔ Best Answer

You probably have have something set wrong here....

. Control Panel - Classic view - Regional and Language Options

(determines which key does what)

Advanced tab - the language (country) in the top box must be set right

Regional Options tab - the language (country) in the top box must be set right.

It doesn't matter what the bottom box has in it for a country, other than it sometimes helps Windows or Internet Explorer determine what to show you that is country specific .
(I'm in Canada, and have set that to Canada)
.
Languages tab - Details button

....shows you one or more language (country) keyboard layout(s) Windows can presently use. The Default one is shown in bold lettering and is the same as the one in the top box.

In my case I have both English (United States) US, the default, and English (Canada) US, in the list.

In my taskbar, bottom right of the desktop screen, are the letters EN to the left of the < arrowhead on the left of the icons. If I RIGHT click on that and choose Settings, I can make the other keyboard layout the default by selecting it in the top box of the same window. .

....or, possibly, it's set wrong here....

Go to System Information

E.g. Start - Run - type: msinfo32 (click on OK or press Enter.

On the right side of the window, find the line Locale - the country shown there must be correct

E.g. if you use an English keyboard layout, United States or Canada or some other English speaking country.

(I'm in Canada but I have that set to United States since I don't use any keyboard with a Canadian keyboard layout.)

Normally the Locale is determined by settings you leave as their default or change while running XP's Setup, and so are the Regional and Language settings.

If you need to change the Locale ....

"Change the System Locale for Windows XP Note: You must be logged in with an account that has Administrative Privileges.
Click Start > Control Panel.
Double-click the Regional and Language Options icon.
The Regional and Language Options dialog box appears.
Click the Advanced tab.
(If there is no Advanced tab, then you are not logged in with administrative privileges.)
Under the Language for non-Unicode programs section, select the desired language from the drop down menu.
Click OK.
The system displays a dialog box asking whether to use existing files or to install from the operating system CD. Ensure that you have the CD ready.
Follow the guided instructions to install the files.
Restart the computer after the installation is complete. "

You can try choosing to use existing files if the option is offered to you, then you don't need the Windows CD.
If you have a brand name computer that still has it's brand name supplied software installation on it, the \i386 folder and it's contents from the CD may be already on your hard drive and you may not need to insert the Windows CD if that's the only choce offered.
............

I DO know that some software installation programs that can display in more than one language automatically determine which language to show you while installing the software by what the Locale is set to.
E.g. for Creative or SoundBlaster software for sound cards.
.....

Keyboard type shown and changable here -

(does not change what key does what)

Control Panel - Classic view - Keyboard - Hardware tab

To change keyboard type - Key Settings tab - Change button


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#2
April 8, 2012 at 15:33:04

When you say "DOS" do you mean that you booted to DOS from a boot disk or are you talking about the command prompt?

As said above it most likely is your regional keyboard layout


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#3
April 8, 2012 at 16:38:31

What I meant was that I tried to do a command from the DOS (C )prompt. I was trying to do a chkdsk /f but the / was still the AE character instead of the slash.

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Related Solutions

#4
April 8, 2012 at 16:46:50

So, that's your command prompt from inside windows, right? You didn't boot to anything like a boot disc or your windows install disc, right?

Anyway what I'm trying to get to, is if you are doing anything in windows, then it a regional issue, if you booted from something like a boot disc and you are not in your windows OS and it still does this then there is something else wrong.

I have seen some keylogger viruses do some strange things with keyboard as it replaces the original keyboard drivers. But that is something else entirely. I don't want to get you going down the wrong path with that.

You could try to do a system restore back to a day when the keyboard was working correctly.

Go to programs, accessories, system tools, system restore.


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#5
April 8, 2012 at 17:03:30

The msinfo32 hint is the correct trail. It returned Faroe Islands.
Advanced tab on the Regional Language setting also showed same. Changed both to English United States. Still having wrong characters but this is showing me where to look. This all happened when Norton2006 did not clean out the Temp files and completely filled a 150G harddrive with old temp files...That were protected by some means.

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#6
April 8, 2012 at 17:34:56

I have the Regional Languages set exactly like a good computer but it still produces incorrect symbols.
I see a hint though, When I open a new Word document it reports Icelandic.
Also, when I reboot, it wants to reinstall my keyboard drivers as if it cannot remember (This is with the USB keyboard). The reboots were done to set the Reqional Language change back to English US.

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#7
April 8, 2012 at 18:29:39

"Changed both to English United States. Still having wrong characters..... "

Did you click on OK at the bottom of the windows ?

"This all happened when Norton2006 did not clean out the Temp files and completely filled a 150G harddrive with old temp files..."


It's extremely unlikely Norton 2006 caused that. It's a lot more likely you have malware it isn't detecting.

Download the free version of Malwarebytes, install it, run a Full scan with it. It takes a lot less time to run than a full scan done by Norton 2006. Have it remove everything it finds.

"I have the Regional Languages set exactly like a good computer but it still produces incorrect symbols."

Did you click on OK at the bottom of the windows ?
Did you check ALL the places I mentioned in response 1. E.g. it may still be set to use a different keyboard layout by default.

"I see a hint though, When I open a new Word document it reports Icelandic."

If you have Microsoft Word installed, it has separate language settings.

"Also, when I reboot, it wants to reinstall my keyboard drivers as if it cannot remember (This is with the USB keyboard). "

That should not happen.
Your USB keyboard may need to be plugged into a different USB port

Troubleshooting USB device problems
See Response 1:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

If that doesn't help try a different keyboard.
.....

"....I tried to do a command from the DOS (C )prompt. I was trying to do a chkdsk /f but the / was still the AE character instead of the slash."

XP and above (and possibly 2000) has a virtual keyboard built into it. However if something is screwed up in Windows it may not have the English layout.

Since it sounds like you are able to type cmd
at Start - Run, try typing osk there.
(osk = On Screen Keyboard)

Don't maximize the black window after you type cmd, then type osk.

Clicking on the keys on the vritual keyboard does things wherever the cursor is blnking in something
...

If you can't type osk, or in any case you could do this - go to C:\Windows\System32, scroll down to osk (osk.exe) RIGHT click on it, choose Send to - Desktop (create Shortcut), then go to the desktop. Click on the shortcut to osk whenever you want to use the virtual keyboard.

type chkdsk /f at the cmd prompt, or better still type chkdsk / r to have it check the entire partition even where there is no data.

(When you don't specifiy the drive letter and type a colon character after that, chkdsk checks the partition Windows loads from automatically. That's usually, but NOT always, C for XP and 2000.)

Answer Y to the question .

Chkdsk will want to run the next time the computer is booted at the beggining of loading Windows - don't press any keys when you see that and let it run.



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#8
April 9, 2012 at 05:33:18

Using osk, the wrong symbols are on the osk display.

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#9
April 9, 2012 at 08:15:19

If you're SURE all the settings in Regional and Language Options are correct that I mentioned in response 1, AND if they stay that way after restarting the computer, try what Gretti suggested in response 4.

"You could try to do a system restore back to a day when the keyboard was working correctly.

Go to programs, accessories, system tools, system restore."

However, System Restore doesn't back up everything.

(If the settings in Regional and Language Options CHANGE to something you did not set them to after you have restarted the computer, you probably have malware on your computer.Loading a previous restore point may or may not cure your problem in that case)

If that doesn't help there are other things you could try.


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#10
April 9, 2012 at 10:22:31

The Regional Language was the solution. Even though I had set English US. and it was the default after doing so, it stayed in Faroe Island/Icelandic. I deleted these two choices of alternate languages and IT FIXED IT! Thanks a lot everyone that helped me. I also learned alot of uSoft hidden corners trying to get this one fixed.
I guess some program added these alternate languages and then got the default pointer messed up. With only English left it had to work.
PS: That on screen keyboard is a really cool thing that I had never heard about.
Thanks Ole L J

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#11
April 9, 2012 at 11:09:58

We're glad to hear you solved your problem !

However, you probably missed setting some setting the right way in Regional and Language Options .
From experience with a friend's computer that has Chinese (PRC) support installed as well as English (United States), only one language and ONE of the associated keyboard(s) can be used at any one time. E.g. the wrong keyboard may have been set to be the default one.
.....

Since you had this happen....

"This all happened when Norton2006 did not clean out the Temp files and completely filled a 150G harddrive with old temp files..."


It's extremely unlikely Norton 2006 caused that. It's a lot more likely you have malware it isn't detecting.

I STILL recommend that you......
Download the free version of Malwarebytes, install it, run a Full scan with it. It takes a lot less time to run than a full scan done by Norton 2006. Have it remove everything it finds.




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