A very, very common problem is incorrect characters appearing on the screen. While this may initially look as if it’s a keyboard problem when characters like the ‘#’ symbol appear on your number 2 key, or the £ sign is completely inaccessible, this is in fact a Windows installation error and is easily corrected.
To explain what’s happened. When Windows is installed, you’re asked to go through a number of screens to set the system up. One of these, while not looking particularly important, asks the user to select the language of the PC required. By default, the lovely people at Microsoft, pre-set this to ‘US-English’ and the majority of users bypass this without even noticing. This needs to be set to ‘UK-English’ for the keyboard’s language to be exactly the same as the one shipped with the PC, or that has been purchased as an add-on.
Changing this is simple - just a little lengthy in it’s solution! Within XP, follow the following procedure:
Open Control Panel (Start -> Settings -> Control Panel).
Go to the ‘Regional and Language Options’ icon and double-click
A new window will open, showing the ‘Regional Options’, with the ‘Standards and Formats’ no doubt set to ‘English – United States’. In the drop-down box at the top, select ‘English – United Kingdom’ and all the attributes will change to pound signs, correct date formats and number settings.
Change the ‘Location’ at the bottom of the screen to United Kingdom, if this hasn’t been done already.
At the top of the window, there are two tabs. Click the one marked ‘Languages’ and the screen will change once again.
Click the ‘Details’ button and the screen will change once more.
At the top of this new screen, ensure that the ‘Default Input Language’ is set to ‘English (United Kingdom) – United Kingdom’
Under ‘Installed Services’, press the ‘Add’ button to the right and ensure that English (United Kingdom) is the Input Language and the Keyboard layout/IME is also set to English and not US.
Press OK to close the ‘Add Input Language’ window.
Click once on the ‘English (United States)’ shown in the Installed Services window to highlight it, then press the ‘Remove’ button. Windows may well give an error message at this stage, stating that the language can’t be removed as it’s in use – after a re-start of the system, this will be removed.
Lastly, ensure that you press the ‘Apply’ button to exit the Text services and Input languages window.
This should then ensure that the language for the keyboard is now set to UK English, rather than US English.
It’s also worth mentioning that Microsoft Office should be checked to ensure that it’s set to UK English – otherwise spellings will be incorrect.