Monday, 21 September 2009

How to change the keyboard layout on the login screen in Windows (Can't enter my windows password anymore)

Windows with a "domain" login screen. You get back to your desk and you can't access your PC anymore. You try and retry, check the CAPS lock, nothing. You remember that you have multiple keymaps installed, even for languages using non-latin alphabets. You try to type in the 'clear' username textbox... Literally, Greek appears.

The Greek keymap was enabled by mistake: you are entering the wrong password, in greek script to add insult to injury. Well, you just have to press the [Options >>] button. The familiar icon with the language digramm appears. You click it, hopefully, but nothing happens. There has to be a way to change the keyboard layout here... F1 ? Leave the mouse arrow on the icon ? Nothing, not even a balloon popup telling that something is possibly wrong, as happens with the caps lock issue.

Well, you have to remember to use ALT + LEFT SHIFT to cycle through keyboard layouts. But you have to remember it, if you ever had known that in the first place. What a major user interface blunder. Today it took me three or four minutes to figure this out, but I have access to many computers, but think about a lone translator or tech writer stranded with only his notebook...

Oh, I reckon Vista/W7/2008 login screens have remedied this inconvenience. Too bad I don't use 'em on a daily basis...

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