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move the Questionmark

Cause people like the ? -key better than the / -key
  (+10, -2)(+10, -2)
(+10, -2)
  [vote for,

Instead of the slash key (/), the questionmark key (?) should be accessible without using SHIFT. Just because it's used more frequently.
Pleez, Jan 08 2002

some keyboard types http://www.fingerti...kbd/btc.html#French
[Pleez, Jan 08 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       Alternatively use a French keyboard ... if I remember the layout correctly, that is.
Aristotle, Jan 08 2002

       I'm sorry [Aristotle], but look at the link... It's above the , key.
Pleez, Jan 08 2002

       Yes please, Pleez. I've never been able to figure out why I have a tendency to hit the SHIFT key when I want the '/' or not hit it when I want the '?', but it may be some sort of subconscious expectation along the lines of "lower case = more frequent". It's one of my more common typos, I find.
Guy Fox, Jan 08 2002

       Instead of the question mark, the semi-colon should be moved. Heck, why don't I just go get a dvorak?
RayfordSteele, Jan 08 2002

       Pleez: You are quite correct. I have not seen a French keyboard for some months now and I've forgotten it's precise layout.
Aristotle, Jan 08 2002

       RayfordSteele: You are forgetting about us Java, C and other programmers who tend to use the ";" on a linely basis;
I say the keyboard should be widened slightly to give the ":", "<", ">" and "?" their own keys;
CoolerKing, Jan 08 2002

       I'm working on this - I'll get back with instructions if I'm successful.
quarterbaker, Jan 08 2002

       [quarterbaker] If you're taking requests, I'd like a "," (comma) key on the numeric keypad. (For programming)
phoenix, Jan 08 2002

       Ah, the sweet smell of success!

You can customize any keyboard mapping. It is not hard, but you may damage a system file. If in doubt, do a complete backup before proceeding.

This works for a Win98 system. No guarantees for other Win versions, nothing for you *.nix folks (yet).

1. Find the file named keyboard.drv in n:\windows\system

2. Copy this file to another location, such as c:\windows\desktop

3. Rename the file to keyboard.drb

4. Using a hexadecimal editor (check cnet or zdnet download sites for free hex editors - I edited the file on my linux box using a Suse-included editor), open the keyboard.drb file

5. At line 2f40, change / to ?

6. At line 2f70, change ? to /

*Note: line numbers may be different if you are not using standard US101 key layout. Look through the file for a character list that matches the physical layout of your keyboard most closely - that's where you want to change the characters (look for "cvbnm,./" and "CVBNM<>?," for example, which maps the bottom keyboard row for US101).

7. Save the file.

8. Move the keyboard.drb file to c:\windows\system

9. Use notepad or equivalent to edit the autoexec.bat file, located at the root directory

10. Add the following 2 lines to the end of the batch file:
ren c:\windows\system\keyboard.drv keyboard.drd
ren c:\windows\system\keyboard.drb keyboard.drv

11. Restart your computer

If everything went right, the new mapping should work. You might want to pop off the ?/ key and invert it, just for a reminder.

12. If it works, then edit the autoexec.bat file again, and remove the last 2 lines. Otherwise, the renaming will be attempted again at subsequent reboots.

13. If it doesn't work:
- look for a different character string in the keyboard driver file, and change the characters there
- to restore to original condition, add the 2 lines to the autoexec.bat file, only changing the extensions so that keyboard.drv is renamed keyboard.drb and keyboard.drd is renamed keyboard.drv. Restart your computer, and then delete those 2 lines from the autoexec file.

Does that make this baked?

//aside// this opens up some office joke playing possibilities, like remapping a colleague's keyboard to mix upper and lower case characters, etc., though the potential hazard should give you pause - some companies might consider it defacement.

NOTE: The keyboard.drv file is in active use by Windows, so it cannot be edited directly while Windows is running, hence the need for the copying and renaming scheme.

phoenix - you should be able to follow this instruction, and find your numeric keypad layout and modify it as you like

Good luck!
quarterbaker, Jan 08 2002

       I use a french layout. ? are found by pressing Shift+6. Hitting what would be the / key on an english keyboard gives you é.
mighty_cheese, Jan 08 2002

       quarterbaker]: My mom is trying to follow your instructions but is running into a problem. Can she give you a call?
bristolz, Jan 08 2002

       hope she did a backup - after all, she is following the instructions completely, right???? And everybody knows to read the entire instruction set before beginning with the first step, right????? And everybody knows that I bear no liability whatsoever, right??? [extra ???? since everybody loves them so much]

Those who don't understand the instructions, shouldn't try. Or isn't that also something everybody knows?
quarterbaker, Jan 08 2002

       The only reason programmers use the semi-colon so much is because it was already there.
RayfordSteele, Jan 08 2002

       It still works just peachy. But I'll probably change it back to normal. I use the "/" quite often when typing addresses into a browser.

pottedstu - did you try it? for programming, which character on the keypad would you hijack for your comma?
quarterbaker, Jan 08 2002

       Thanks for the programming advice, ¯quarterbaker, my mom is going to be so freaked out by her new keyboard -- I can't wait to see the looks of surprise!
reensure, Jan 08 2002

       // The only reason programmers use the semi-colon so much is because it was already there.//   

       On a related note, certain aspects of the ASCII character set are set up as they are on the basis of typewriter keyboard layouts (pre-Selectric). The top row of many typewriter keyboards, when shifted, would type !"#$%&'() which is to say ASCII character codes $21-$29 (when unshifted, they type 123456789, i.e. $31-$39). The characters ,-./ ($2B-$2F) when shifted would become <=>? ($3B-$3F).   

       Many early uppercase-only computer keyboards were wired to simply toggle bit 4 of the character code in response to the shift key; this is most identifiable when they use shift-P for @ (P=$50; @=$40), shift-N for ^ (N=$4E; ^=$5E), etc. The Apple ][+ keyboard worked this way, though it did "lock out" the shift key in most cases where it didn't belong; on keyboards which did not lock out shift in such cases, shift-A would type Q (A=$41; Q=$51), shift-B would type R, etc. Most notably, shift-space would type 0.   

       In somewhat later keyboards which supported lowercase, the behavior of the shift key changed somewhat; it would only toggle bit 4 for characters where bit 6 was clear. On characters were bit 6 was set, the shift key would toggle bit 5. In addition to changing lowercase to uppercase, it would also swap the characters @[\]^ with `{|}~.   

       Since the invention of ASCII, keyboard layouts have changed somewhat; the shift-2 quotation mark and shift-7 apostrophe are by now a distant memories, and the shift-6 caret and shift-8 asterisk have shoved the ampersand and parentheses one spot to the right. Grave and tilde are now paired with each other, since the at-sign and caret with which they had been paired are now shift-2 and shift-6. The quote and apostrophe, gone from the top row, now share a key with each other.   

       Finally, the colon and semicolon are now paired (they were on some typewriters, but apparently not the ones used by the inventors of ASCII), the equals is an unshifted plus rather than a shifted minus and the underline is a shifted minus rather than a shifted 'O' or a key of its own.   

       These changes are probably good ones, though it did take me a while getting used to them 15 or so years ago. Still, it's nice to note that ASCII shows what keyboards used to be like.
supercat, Jan 09 2002

       Actually shift-2 " is alive and kicking on my keyboard which can only be about 5 months old at most. I much prefer the @ where it is next to the right shift key, even though it would make more sense to pair ' and " together.
CoolerKing, Jan 09 2002


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