Pass@word1, Virtual Machines, and Windows Keyboard Layouts

If you’re one of the many people on the planet who uses a keyboard with a non-US English keyboard layout, you may have encountered difficulty using some of the Team System virtual machines that using Darren’s Pass@word1 password.

If I understand the issue correctly, the virtual machine guest OS is using its default keyboard layout irrespective of the keyboard layout in use by the host OS. The Team System virtual machines coming out of Redmond typically use the US English keyboard layout. With this layout, you accesses the “@” key by pressing Shift+2. If the host OS is using the UK English keyboard layout, you access the “@” key by pressing Shift+’ (apostrophe); however, the virtual machine instead interprets this as a double-quotation mark (“), which is what you get when you press Shift+’ (apostrophe) on a US English keyboard.

The diversity of available keyboard layouts in Windows has grown quite a bit over the years. For a complete list, see Windows Keyboard Layouts.

As a workaround to this issue, which is by design, you can:

  • Change the host OS keyboard layout to match the keyboard layout of the guest OS, or
  • Change the guest OS keyboard layout to match the host OS, or
  • Display the on-screen keyboard in the guest OS, or
  • Just know that the keyboard layout changes as you switch from host to guest and adjust your keystrokes to use the guest OS keyboard layout.

Unable to Log On to Virtual Machines Designed for MOAC with a Non-US English Keyboard Layout is a related KB article, and Michael Kaplan blogged about a related issue in Virtual PC needs international thought about its keyboard support.


Comments (1)

  1. Laughing John says:

    Thank you for that!