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My father has a Compaq 700Mhz slim PC running Windows XP. This has the two standard PS/2 ports, with a (French) keyboard and a mouse attached to them. For his studying he needs a Russian keyboard which I have finally been able to find (HP model I would say circa 2002 from the design), but this hooks up to PS/2.

The PC is a bit limited in USB and expansion slots (all already fitted), and his original keyboard is fine. I know of various ways of connecting this additional keyboard:

  1. Add a PCI board with a PS/2 keyboard port on it, but won't there be an IRQ conflict or whatever as the onboard PS/2 keyboard port works and I don't intend to disable it. Would the revision of PCI have any importance in this case? I have seen combo cards with usb and PS/2 ports (as listed at, but those are PCI2.2 and I'm not sure the computer is even PCI2.0!

  2. Add a PS/2 (kb and possibly ms) to USB adapter. I read at some places that they don't need any driver but how is this possible (I don't know if any of the PS/2 keyboards I have supports such direct plugging or detects when it's plugged to USB)?

  3. Add a USB docking station with PS/2 ports, which is possibly just the same as option 2 plugged on a USB hub (or does it have some additional circuitry to cope with the PS/2 ports? and the corresponding driver?)

I know this will not allow two sessions on Windows, and the keyboards will be used alternatively (and the language setting need to be changed accordingly). As my father is far from touch-typing, it's better to have the actual keyboard, especially when the alphabet is different.

Can anyone advise me and possibly explain how the various options work so that I make an educated choice? Maybe I would have no risk of conflict if my onboard PS/2 keyboard port was dead, but this is not the case. As a sidenote, I would not be in such a trouble if I wanted to use two mice as they do not depend on the language in which you type and I would have one more option than USB before reverting to a second PS/2: the serial port.

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An PS/2 to USB adapter is a chip that emulates an ordinary USB keyboard on the 'computer' side that it is handled by standard HID (Human Interface Device) Windows driver and a computer (PS/2 controller really) on it's 'keyboard' side so PS/2 keyboard even cannot determine if it is plugged to USB adapter or real PS/2 controller.

It is probably the easiest way to solve this problem.

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Why don't you buy some Cyrillic Keyboard Stickers for $8.99?

alt text alt text

Even cheaper here ($7.99).

  • Fit any keyboard: Stickers fit any desktop or notebook keyboards, including ergonomic keyboards, in any order layout.

  • Easy to apply and remove: Simply apply the stickers on each key and you are set in a few minutes.

No addon card or adapters required, just install the russian keyboard layout and switch input languages via Alt + Left Shift as required ... as a neat side effect this method will leave more space on the desk. :)

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