Extra Keyboards in Windows 10

Published by marco on

I’d recently started using Windows Remote Desktop (RDP) to connect to my desktop at work from my laptop. The advantages are many: My nearly 4-year-old laptop no longer has to groan under the strain of running Visual Studio with 150 projects open. It was working very well, actually, but drained the battery considerably faster than I’d like. The battery lasts longer and the CPU no longer runs so hot, making it a viable laptop again. Hat tip to Björn for telling me to give it a go.

Unfortunately, it’s not all wine and roses: Windows 10 immediately added two new keyboards for me, keyboards that I neither need nor want nor have any use for. They are tangentially related to my settings—ENG (SG) and ENG (US)—but are not input methods. My input method is de-CH. Just because I’m running Windows 10 in English doesn’t mean that I need English input methods.

Not only that, but Windows 10 seemed to be randomly and very irritatingly switching between keyboards. The standard combination for switching keyboards is Win + Space but I was 100% certain that I wasn’t hitting that as often as Windows seemed to be switching keyboards.

Something was wrong.

But’s not a huge problem, right? Just remove the extra keyboards, right?

Right?

Would I be writing a blog post about it if it were that straightforward?

I would not.

As you can imagine, it’s not so easy to get rid of the extra keyboards because Windows 10 doesn’t admit that they exist. They were added when I first connected with RDP. The input-language menu is enabled, but there’s only one keyboard/input language in the settings.

What to do?

A colleague said he knew the solution and it is typically counterintuitive: add the keyboards to the list of input languages and then remove them again.

Genius, right?

This actually worked for one of the keyboards—ENG-US. It was no longer in the list of input languages and the entry on the input-language menu was gone, as well.

However, there is no entry for ENG-SG that I can add and remove.

Not only that but, as soon as I connected with RDP that night, Windows 10 replaced the “missing” keyboard and I was back to square one.

And I’m not going to start editing the registry to fix input languages. That feels like utter capitulation.

So I can’t get rid of the keyboards.

But windows 10 keeps changing my keyboard and I’m not doing it. Spoiler alert: Windows 10 has another key mapped to “change input language*: Left Alt + .

This one is a gigantic pain in the ass. I hit this key combination all the time.

So, I can’t remove the keyboards and I can’t stop using that key combination (it’s intrinsic to text navigation), so I have to figure out how to get rid of that key combination.

Here’s how to do it. There are rather more steps than one might expect.

  1. Click the language menu on the task bar
  2. Choose “language preferences”
  3. Choose “additional date, time and regional settings”
  4. Choose “change input methods”
  5. Choose “advanced settings”
  6. Choose “change language bar hot keys”
  7. Choose “change key sequence”
  8. Change key for “Switch input language” to “Not assigned”

See the screenshots below for context.

In the several days since I’ve done this, I have no longer inadvertently switched input languages. I still have three keyboards, but I don’t have to care anymore.

 1. Input language

 2. Region and language settings

 3. Clock, language and region

 4. Language settings

 5. Advanced settings

 6. Text services and input languages

 7. Change key sequence