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Getting Along With Your Computer

Help for two nagging problems

Two really weird problems cropped up again and again these last three weeks. These solutions might save you some aggravation. They might even make you look like a genius when you solve your friend or relative’s problem!


Help! Mon clavier me rend fou!

I’ve heard from at least ten people in the last few weeks whose keyboards have taken leave of their senses. Usually the question goes like this:

When I want a question mark this is what I get ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ. As you can see, if I hit the apostrophe I get this èèèè.

The cause: Your keyboard is speaking French. This can be a real problem if you’re trying to enter a password.

This can happen if you chose the “Canadian Multilingual Standard” keyboard when you set up Windows. But if you only ever type in English, you don’t ever need to switch to the French layout. We can fix that, but that’s only half the solution.

Start by deciding if you are ever going to need a different keyboard layout than English. If not, we can specify the US keyboard and delete the ones we don’t need. If you actually need a French keyboard just implement the second part of the solution.

For older versions of Windows:

  • Click on Start | Control Panel
  • Click on Clock, Language and Region (In XP, Region and Language)
  • Click on Language | Details | Change keyboards
  • Add the US keyboard and save it as default
  • While you’re there, click on Language Bar, then on Hidden
  • OK your way out

Now your keyboard will be set up just for English, the Language Bar will be hidden so you don’t accidentally change your language there.

But wait, there’s more. The other thing that causes problems is the default key combination to toggle between languages in Windows is CTRL+ Left SHIFT. Touch typists, especially touch typists using a laptop, can easily strike those keys accidentally. Suddenly you’re typing en français.

To fix that, disable that CTRL + Left SHIFT key combination. Again, in older versions of Windows, get to that same Region and Language area. But this time:

  • Click on the Keyboards and Languages tab
  • Click on Change Keyboards
  • Click on Advanced Key Settings | Between Input languages | Change key Sequence
  • Change both to Not Assigned
  • OK your way out

Et voilà!

In Windows 8 and 8.1, it’s a little different. When you add a language, a keyboard is added at the same time. To get to those settings:

  • Press the WinKey + X
  • Click on Control Panel | Clock, Language, and Region | Language
  • Remove any unwanted languages (!)
  • Click on Advanced settings
  • Scroll down to Switching input methods
  • Click on Change language bar hot keys | Advanced Key Settings |Change Key Sequence
  • Change both sides to Not Assigned
  • OK your way out

Help! Windows Live Mail keeps insisting I sign in!

Windows Live Mail has interesting quirks. If you have a Windows Live ID/Microsoft Account (from Hotmail, Livemail,, etc.) you can use that Live ID from within Windows Live Mail to access online photo albums among other things. To do that, just click on the “Sign In” icon at the far right of the Home tab.

But what if you just don’t want to be signed in? Windows Live Mail will continue to prompt you until you tell it to stop doing that! Here’s how:

  • Open Windows Live Mail
  • Click on the little down-facing triangle in the top left corner of the program
  • Click on Options
  • Click on Mail
  • Click on Connection
  • Click on Stop signing in
  • Click on OK

Close and reopen your Windows Live Mail, and you should not see that irritating prompt any more. You can still sign in with your Live ID any time you want by clicking the Sign In button, but there will be no more nagging.

Got a nagging problem? Send email to [email protected] and I’ll try to help.


Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna ( a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

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About the author...

Cate Eales has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible and fun for over 20 years. She lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric, and her dog, Sandy. Cate is a partner in Computer Care Kelowna, helping individuals and small businesses with virus, spyware and malware eradication; personal computer training and management; digital image management; music transfer; and website design, hosting and management.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with your comments, suggestions, or questions. To browse the column archives, visit the Real Life Internet Solutions website at

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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