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in Windows XP, when I type an apostrophe ' or dumb quote (a.ka. typewriter quote) ", no character is displayed. If I type another character, the apostrophe or dumb quote and the next character appear at the same time. This happens with double quotes ", apostrophes ' and tilde ~ characters.

What could possibly be causing this?

This occurs in all applications I have tested - wordpad, firefox, ms word etc.

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1  
this also applies to ~ marks. –  fastmultiplication Apr 6 '10 at 6:46
    
Duplicate of this question. –  JdeBP May 24 '11 at 17:01

7 Answers 7

up vote 16 down vote accepted

This is because you have a keyboard where ' ~ " are set to dead-key setting.

The behaviour of a dead key is ... well... to be dead! So no reaction when you press it. Then you can assign different behaviour on the next keystroke like accentuation, or displaying any kind of character you've programmed it for. And usually, when a keystroke has no meaning after a dead key you have a standard behaviour that is to display the character of the dead key. And of course the next character appears as well because it's in the buffer.

So you can follow advices of other poster on how to change your keyboard (look at which KB you had configured). You can also get the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator to map a new keyboard and see how you can program dead keys.

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5  
Gabriel's answer is better. –  ron Apr 20 at 8:45
    
OP asked what can give that kind of behaviour. Not how to change it. So this answer is explaining why this is happening, whereas @gabriel answer treats it from a local point of view. By the way, I referred to other answers for the practical way of switching keyboards maps since they address this problem clearly. –  M'vy Apr 21 at 11:23

The reason is because you are using US-international keyboard.

Here is how to change this:

  1. In the Windows run box (Windows+R) type control intl.cpl or control international.
  2. Click the "Keyboards and Languages" tab
  3. Click "Change Keyboards..."
  4. AT THIS POINT MAKE SURE YOU ARE USING "English (United Kingdom) - US" as the default input language, meaning you set the keyboard to US, not US-international
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Awesome. That was driving me nuts. –  skaffman Aug 31 '13 at 7:06
1  
be aware however about the differences of the International, the US, and the British English keyboard layouts. –  naxa Sep 5 '13 at 15:54
    
this doesnt work on win 8. –  numan May 1 at 14:00
    
Thanks! On Windows 8.1 I had to press Start, then search for "Edit language and keyboard options". The words are a bit different to Win7 / XP but its the same approach –  will-hart Jun 4 at 21:28
    
This is the correct answer. "English (United Kingdom)" as the language and "US" as the keyboard. Works with Logitech TK820 –  Derek Sep 12 at 8:13

I checked my settings and they are set to English/US but the problem persisted. Then after closing the dialogue an icon appeared on the task bar allowing me to change from EN/International keyboard to EN/US Keyboard - Problem fixed!

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Check your keyboard settings in Region/Language. If it is set to non-English/US it may be expecting accented characters, formed by pressing the accent (', ", ^, etc) and then a character.

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I experienced the same annoying problem since the fresh and clean install of Windows 7 a few months ago. It turned out, that during the installation of the additional input language, Windows has added Ink Correction. This is a keyboard service for "easy" entering of accented characters.

The solution is to remove this Ink Correction:

Text Services and Input Languages

And don't forget to restart the Windows after you removed the Ink Correction.

EDIT:

Removing the Ink Correction fixed the problem only partially. (The dead-keys were gone in the Skype chat, but were still dead in Word 2010.)

Final Solution: Change the input language United States-International to US.

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The problems lies in the Input Language. To change between Input Languages, press Left Alt+Shift. This should solve your problem. If this doesn't work, do it this way:

  1. Search for Language in the Start menu
  2. Click Change keyboards or other input methods
  3. Click the Keyboards and Languages tab
  4. Click Change Keyboards...
  5. Click the Advanced Key Settings tab
  6. Click Change Key Sequence
  7. Assign a shortcut to Switch Input Language
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I had the same problem too. My ' "keys were not working on the first stroke. I changed the input language to English(United kingdom) United states international to English(United kingdom) US. My keyboard is now working perfectly.

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protected by Community Mar 29 '13 at 16:57

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