Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Yes, strange. (I've got this lengthy list of computer-related questions and I thought today would be the day to ask this one, while I was at it with a few others. Thanks in advance!)

The problem: When I go to press shift-tilde, nothing happens. Any key pressed after brings up the missing tilde and that key.

Keyboard stuck? or programming error?

edit: It seems this occurs in any application: browser, word processor, etc.

edit2: completely forgot the specs: XP, Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse.

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

What language is your keyboard set to?

At one time I had my keyboard set to UK(International) - as such pressing Alt Gr + ' (for example) would do nothing, but following that with a press of a relevant letter (eg E) would produce the letter with the relevant diacritic - in this example probably é.

This would work Alt Gr with a variety of keys that would represent a diacritic followed by a valid letter. If you're fussed see Wikipedia's article on that keyboard setup.

A further Wikipedia search shows that n sometimes has a tilde in Spanish, such as ñ.
You could try doing Shift + ~ and then N and see what happens.

share|improve this answer
+1. I'm in Canada, and for some reason, every so often I get a keyboard switching to French (I work in an IT shop so I see a lot of machines), even though it's not supposed to. I usually end up using US settings to avoid this. – user3463 Jul 28 '10 at 5:20
@Randolph - FYI: In Windows you can configure a key combination to switch between languages and/or keyboard layouts. I think it's inside Regional and Language Options somewhere. – DMA57361 Jul 28 '10 at 7:23
This is the correct explanation. I realized after reading your answer that I was using my wife's Polish keyboard and settings. (Why didn't I think of that!? :-) So, even though the right ALT key followed by certain letters will produce the special Polish letters, I never caught on that pressing SHIFT + tilde + certain letters will also do the same special Polish letters. Weird, but it looks to be true. Am I making sense? Thanks! I appreciate it. BTW: how did you get the emboss effect for the keys in your answer? – andrz_001 Jul 28 '10 at 8:20
yup, well aware of the key combination, but it doesn't always work. I figure it's easier to just make the keyboard US English unless it's a French customer, which is hardly ever. – user3463 Jul 28 '10 at 16:04

Check your keyboard manual - does it allow for programming macros etc.? If so, it's probably the keyboard or the keyboard's software thinking you're about to send it a command.

One way to find out - plug in a non-wireless keyboard (don't bother removing the wireless one, Windows works fine with two plugged in, in my experience) and see if it happens with the other keyboard as well.

share|improve this answer

Is your control key stuck? What happens if you try to use a colon : or a carot ^?

share|improve this answer
You mean caret? :P – John T Jul 27 '10 at 22:32
I tried this and other key combinations. Sorry if I didn't write this in the OP. Thanks though. – andrz_001 Jul 28 '10 at 8:14

Are you connected to another computer via something like ssh? Sometimes they intercept ~ as a terminal control character, if it at the beginning of the line.

share|improve this answer
No; but the keyboard is a wireless Logitech, if that helps. – andrz_001 Jul 27 '10 at 21:43
  1. Check by typing the same key combination by using the 'Onscreen Keyboard'.

  2. Check that you've not assigned this key combination to some windows commands. E.g. changing the keyboard layout or changing languages etc.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.