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I am running VirtualBox on a Ubuntu 12.04 host with a US keyboard. The virtual machine is running Japanese Windows Server 2008 R2 (Standard). I want to cd \ from the Command Prompt.

On Japanese Windows the backslash character has been replaced by a Yen character [1] [2], so what I want instead is cd ¥.

My backslash key is mapped to ] while in the VM, and I can't find a key that maps to backslash/Yen. After looking at a few images [3] [4] and talking to a Japanese colleague (and having them demonstrate how they would type it) I've come to the conclusion that my US keyboard is effectively missing the required key.

If I copy the Yen character from the VM, it is pasted as backslash in my host. If I copy a backslash from my host, it is pasted into the VM as a Yen. So, using copy and paste while on the VM or between the VM and host I can cd ¥ and (laboriously) achieve the desired result. But I want something simpler.

What key combination can I press to simply enter the ¥ character?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Just change the keyboard layout of the guest OS. If you don’t actually know Japanese, then it will be a little bit harder, but you can still figure it out based on icons and control locations:

  1. Control Panel (note the separator just above it): figure 1
  2. Region and Language (note the globe and clock icon): figure 2
  3. Keyboards and Languages (third tab): figure 3
  4. Change Keyboards (sole button): figure 3
  5. Add Language (top button; also note the blue squares with English letters next to the installed languages in the list): figure 4
  6. English (US) (look for en-us or 英語(アメリカ)): figure 5

That way the guest OS remains Japanese, but the keyboard layout is in English so it should respond correctly.

(If you are allowed, you may want to just change the language of the guest OS to English.)

Figure 1: Control Panel in Japanese Start Menu

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Figure 2: Regional settings in Japanese Control Panel

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Figure 3: Keyboards and Languages in Japanese Regional settings dialog

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Figure 4: Add Language button

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Figure 5: “English (US)” in Japanese

enter image description here

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I am accepting this answer untested because following the steps will require me figuring out the Japanese equivalents, but the solution would make using the VM the easiest – d3vid Aug 31 '12 at 11:53
I added screenshots to make it easier so that you don’t have to figure out the Japanese equivalents. :-) – Synetech Aug 31 '12 at 13:30

It's possible by using ALT Codes for this. There's many Web site with the information like this one:


In case of a laptop keyboard without a numeric pad check this answer:

Using OSK for special characters

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thanks for the links, but I can't find what I'm looking for on that site, do you have a deeper link I can try? – d3vid Aug 14 '12 at 11:40

Typing ALT+0165 for Yen and ALT+92 for Backslash works in my English version of Windows and should work within your Japanese Windows Server OS.

As for Ubuntu, it seems the way to input them is different. In this post, it explains that you need to use CTRL+SHIFT+U, and while still holding CTRL+SHIFT type 0165.

Alternatively, still in Ubuntu, the hexadecimal equivalent of 0165 (A5) may work directly without having to type U: CTRL+SHIFT+A5. For backslash, that would be CTRL+SHIFT+U+92 or CTRL+SHIFT+5C in hexadecimal.

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ALT+92 works to make backslash-Yen, however because I'm on a laptop without a num lock key I needed OSK.exe (… ) which led me to the happy discovery that it has a full Japanese keyboard, including the backslash-Yen key! – d3vid Aug 31 '12 at 11:48
All laptops come with a numlock key which you can turn on to use the keys on the right as numpad – Lưu Vĩnh Phúc Sep 3 '13 at 6:35
@LưuVĩnhPhúc I mispoke, I meant I dont have a numpad :) – d3vid Jan 14 '14 at 9:58
@d3vid most laptops have numpad although it's a bit tricky to use. Look at the key UIOP/JKL... they have colored numbers printed on, you can press fn with those keys to make them act as the numpad, or turn on num lock to permanently use that as numkeys and fn to use them back as characters – Lưu Vĩnh Phúc Jan 14 '14 at 10:02
@LưuVĩnhPhúc hmm, no numbers printed on them and holding down the Fn while typing them doesn't do anything - oh well, a SU question for another day! :) – d3vid Jan 14 '14 at 10:18

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