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John T. F.
John T. F., Mac Druid
Category: Mac
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Experience:  20+ years in the computer/Mac industry
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Hello. My keyboard on my MacBook keeps typing a Nordic a symbol

Customer Question

Hello. My keyboard on my MacBook keeps typing a Nordic a symbol (å) instead of the normal (a) letter. My Mac fell asleep and since my unlock password XXXXX a regular 'a' in it, and the 'å' symbol keeps typing instead, I cannot log in. Is there any way I could reset the keyboard or push a few keys in combination to get my normal 'a' characters back while at the log in screen? Thanks!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  John T. F. replied 5 years ago.

I can try to help you with this, though it may be tricky.

If enabled, "Command-Shift" should change the language for you.

If not, you should log in with another user to change the keyboard layout. Do you have another user account on the system?

You can, also, (depending on the version) boot with your original OS X set up disk and change the password on your account so you can log back in and correct the language settings. I can provide more detailed instructions on this step if required.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Command-shift doesn't change anything unfortunately. I don't have any other user accounts either. My Mac version is OSX version 10.5.8. Could you give me instructions on logging in with my set up disk and changing my password on my account?
Expert:  John T. F. replied 5 years ago.
Okay, here we go....

To reset the administrator password using the Mac OS X 10.5 disc:

* Insert the Mac OS X Install disc and restart the computer.

* When you hear the startup tone, press and hold down the C key until you see the spinning gear.

* When the Language Chooser appears, select your language and click Continue.

* Choose Utilities > Reset Password.

* Follow the onscreen instructions to change the password.

* Quit the Installer and restart your computer while holding down the mouse button to eject the disc.

You can change your login keychain password in Keychain Access to match your new account password to unlock your keychain when you log in. You can, also, go to System Preferences > Language & Text to set the proper language settings.

Good luck! If the above does not work for some reason, I believe there is at least one more way to get around this.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Whew! I'm back in. Now, lastly, what should I do to make my 'a' characters go back to normal?
Expert:  John T. F. replied 5 years ago.

If you go into System Preferences > Language & Text, verify that English is chosen or at the top of the list on every tab applicable, particularly the "Input Sources" tab. This *should* restore your normal keyboard.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Unfortunately, this didn't work. The characters still come up as 'å' when I type or this yellow highlighted high dash thing. Any other suggestions?
Expert:  John T. F. replied 5 years ago.

in System Preferences, do you see a "Keyboard" option? If so, choose this and look for "Change Keyboard Type". Try running through this to re-detect/select your keyboard.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
There isn't any "change keyboard type" area anywhere... Not sure what to do.
Expert:  John T. F. replied 5 years ago.
Okay, try this:

1) Delete the file: /Library/Preferences/
2) Restart

...then see if the "Change Keyboard Type" option returns or if you at least get your normal keyboard back.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I actually can't even find that file. It's not in my library with all the other files that have similar path names. Ugh.
Expert:  John T. F. replied 5 years ago.
Just to be sure it's clear, that is the Library folder in the root of your boot drive and not the one in your user folder...

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It isn't there either. I checked the user folder and off of the MacintoshHD Drive. There's a 'keyboard layouts' folder, but it has nothing in it.
Expert:  John T. F. replied 5 years ago.
Hmm, that's rather odd.

In System Preferences > International do you see an "Input" tab? If so, look over the settings to verify that only English is selected and at the top of the list.

You may also see a checkbox to "Show Input Menu in Menubar" If you select this and then click on the Flag icon in the menubar, does it show US as being chosen?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
English is the only language chosen and it is at the top of the list. And yes, the US flag is showing. Nothing new though...
Expert:  John T. F. replied 5 years ago.
I am beginning to be concerned that OS X is auto-detecting the keyboard type but that it is being misreported by the hardware.

Let's try reseting the PRAM on your MacBook back to defaults.

Turn off the laptop and then:

Find and hold down the following 4 keys at the same time:
(The command key is the Cloverleaf/Apple key.)

Turn on the MacBook while keeping the 4 keys held down.

Wait until the MacBook chimes 3 times, then release the keys and let the MacBook boot normally.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I tried doing this five times, and nothing happens. Not even the chimes. However, I did come across a file named 'applekeyboardlayouts.bundle' in the library folder of the system. Should I do something with that?
Expert:  John T. F. replied 5 years ago.
This bundle is actually just holding the exist language files that you see in the International > Input tab. The missing file is what normally holds the data related to your keyboard type.

Do you by chance have a USB keyboard you could plug into the MacBook to see if it will properly recognize a new keyboard?

Also, which specific model of MacBook do you have?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I do not own another keyboard. I'm not sure of the exact model, but I can tell you that it is a white MacBook that I bought 3 years ago. The processor is a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. It is just a regular MacBook, not a Pro. Hope that helps...
Expert:  John T. F. replied 5 years ago.
Honestly, I think we're running out of answers here that don't involve either re-installing OS X or some nebulous hardware issue with the keyboard itself that is going to require a visit to the Apple Store. :-(

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