Mac keyboard layout not supported in Windows

Discussion in 'Windows Virtual Machine' started by jdmuys, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. jdmuys

    jdmuys Bit poster

    There are a number of "glitches" related to keyboards that should be worked around, or at least prominently documented. Mine was tackled somewhat (but not fully), on the forum:

    PC Keyboard layouts are NOT the same as Mac Keyboard layouts.

    The consequence is that on some keyboards, you strike a key, and get character different from the one you see on the key cap.

    Example: on a French (AZERTY) keyboard on a MacBook Pro (or any other machine for that matter), the top row "6" numeric key shows "6" for upper case and "§" for lower case (yes, 0..9 are upper case on the French layout). In any Mac app, striking that key will normally yield the "§" character. In Parallels with Windows XP, using the French layout, I get the "-" character. What gives? The reason is apparent if you look at any French PC Keyboard: on such keyboards, the lower case character for the "6" key is indeed "-".

    The solution is "simply" to install a correct keyboard layout inside Windows. But this is not that simple, because Windows doesn't provide the correct layout. And in any case, it's burdensome and not easy enough for my mum to do!

    For the French layout, I found Florent Pillet already did the work. See

    Now the point of my comment:

    While this cannot strictly speaking be considered as a Parallels bug, I think the issue really belongs to Parallels to solve. The reason is that the purpose of Parallels Desktop is to bring PC compatibility to the Mac. Keyboard compatibility should be on the agenda. The correct layout(s) could be installed at the same time as Parallels Tools. At the very least, Parallels should document the issue and its solutions in the official documentation for the product, AND maintain and ship a library of relevant layouts.

    Finally, many thanks for a great product. I love it.

  2. pbutterworth

    pbutterworth Member

  3. drval

    drval Pro

    Huh? This is a Windows-related issue: ie users have this issue when they are ONLY running Windows and want to map a different language keyboard. FWIW my understanding is that Parallels is meant to PROVIDE a Windows environment within Mac-based hardware and OS X. It is NOT meant to "solve" all of the "problems" attendant upon using Windows.

    I certainly understand your desire to do what you want to do and I think it's great that you've begun to address the problem -- and provide those ideas to other users. THAT is a very good use of this forum IMO and I'm sure that there are other users who would thank you for the information/solution/options that you've provided.
  4. jdmuys

    jdmuys Bit poster

    I see your point. This is debattable I guess. My point is that it's not enough to have a Mac, Windows and Parallels: the keyboard is broken.

    I don't use Boot Camp, but what did Apple do? Does the keyboard work OK in Boot Camp? I would say that Boot Camp and Parallels share the same charter, which is to allow a Mac to run Windows program without a further issue. Thus my point that Parallels should probably handle it. They have the opportunity in Parallels tools. Let them do it.

    Take care,

  5. Hugh Watkins

    Hugh Watkins Forum Maven

    just use a MS WIndows USB keyboard in the mac

    I use MS mice too

    key maps on either system are totally customizable

    just find a utility and learn how to use it
    the next generation of Mac keyboads could usefully have an alt gr key or three spare customizable keys

    I use a danish mac keyboard USB because I like the accents and extra characters available

    which is easier I want to type a word or two in german or french using the so called double strike characters

    on the Mac the old key caps has been renamed Keyboard viewer and character palette is another tool

    Apple >> Menu >> system preferences >> International >> Input Menu >> a list of preinstalled keyboards

    at the bottom of the prefeences check
    X Show input menu in menu bar

    and you get a pretty little flag and immediate access to
    Character Palette and Keyboard viewer

    similar utilites under the WinXP menu start >> programs >> utilities or System tools


    Hugh W
  6. scroll

    scroll Bit poster

    Hi All,

    I'm using a MacBook with belgian keyboard running Windows 2000 under Parallels (build 3188).

    I used Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator 1.4 to create a keyboard layout which is very close to the "real" one: @ can by typed without any modifiers, {} and [] are typed using Num Enter instead of alt ("Translate Num Enter to Alt Gr" option must be switched on in Keyboard preferences), etc. Without the Alt Gr option, ctrl+alt can be used in the same way.

    In addition, I installed AutoHotkey and defined a couple of bindings to make Control-Backspace generate Delete and ctrl-alt-backspace to generate Windows' Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

    This fills my basic needs for Mac keyboard support in virtual Windows. Next destination will be X Window keyboard mapping in Linux.

    Contents of the attached archive:

    kbdbemb/ - installation file for the keyboard layout
    kbdbemb.klc - source file for the above for MKLC 1.4
    AutoHotkey.ahk - AutoHotkey script (default location is My Documents)

    Disclaimer: I did not test under XP, so YMMV.

    Attached Files:

  7. itsdapead

    itsdapead Hunter

    Not quite -but if you'r a USAian you might not "get it".

    Apple's "UK" keyboard is little more than a US layout with a pound (£) instead of a "#" - whereas a "standard" UK PC keyboard has a number of other differences in the positions and permutations of non-alphanumeric keys c.f. the US keyboard. Most annoyingly, from the POV of a UK Apple user the double-quote and @ symbols are swapped, and there's no dedicated # key. Not sure what the historical reason is, but the IMHO the PC layout is better - especially if you are programming and need the hash key!

    An out-of-the-box install of Windows, Linux, or any other operating system designed for generic hardware, even if configured for a UK keyboard layout, will produce the wrong symbols when these keys are typed.

    From the sound of other posts, similar issues affect other non-US keyboards.

    The solution is fairly simple for "techie" types - google for a ready-rolled keyboard layout or a keyboard layout editor and load up the new config. Rinse and repeat for all the OSs you use - but adding a collection of regional Apple keyboard configs to the Parallels tools package would be a very helpful touch and not too onerous.

    However, bearing in mind Parallels already has a key remapping facility to handle the command/option issues it would not be rocket science to add options for handling regional Apple/PC differences at the host level, so it wasn't necessary to customise every single guest OS.

    PS - using a standard UK PC USB keyboard works nicely in windows but you still have to locate and install a suitable keymap for OSX (if you can live without an eject key). Worse, you can't disable the original keymap and when the focus passes to certain apps (Carbon? Rosetta? - not sure what the issue is) it resets itself. Oh, and that kind of assumes you're not using a laptop.
  8. ramido

    ramido Bit poster

    to "scroll": thank you very much man!!! Your belgian layout works great with the French keyboard of my MacBook Pro! Thanks a lot !!!
  9. Geffy

    Geffy Bit poster

    URL seems dead
  10. pbutterworth

    pbutterworth Member

    Last edited: Jun 13, 2007
  11. gdold

    gdold Bit poster

    UK MacBook keyboard layout not working

    Not working for me. Installation says:

    I suppose try making my own with the Keyboard Layout Creator (although I don't know how), unless you can work out what's wrong...

    SYS Info
    Parallels 3.0
    Win XP Pro SP2
  12. pbutterworth

    pbutterworth Member

  13. seebs

    seebs Junior Member

    This is not a Windows issue; same thing in Linux. Parallels passes unmapped key codes into the VM. If your keyboard isn't the one expected, then Bad Things Happen. To reproduce, set your input on OS X to Dvorak, then try to type on either a Linux or Windows machine; you'll get Qwerty, probably.

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