I'm using windows 7 on a laptop. On the laptop keyboard, for some reason, the quote key (which has both double and single quote on it) is doing some "clever" annoying things:

  1. When I press single-quote (or double-quote), windows doesn't send any characters until I press it twice (resulting in '' or "")
  2. When I press it before a vowel, I get some kind of accented character. As I usually only write English, this is annoying.

The backtick/tilde key is subject to similar behaviour.

This is not a duplicate of the linked question because the two problems have completely different solutions. This question was caused by an internationalisation setting being activated; that other question was caused by keys being set to dead.

I have not attempted to set up my computer to process anything other than English. My keyboard appears to be (in so far as these things are standard on laptops) a standard US qwerty keyboard.

How can I stop this happening?

  • 1
    Not enough reputation to post an answer, but the problem you're having is that the quotes, double quotes and tilde are set as "Dead Keys". If you want to keep the US International Keyboard but remove the "Dead Keys" functionality you must create and install your own keyboard (or download a ready made one) using Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. I just opened the US-Interntaional keyboard, removed the dead keys functionality, saved and installed. Nov 8, 2017 at 21:53
  • 1
    This is an old question, but by using an International Keyboard, I have access to other non-ascii characters. I like it better than the old US keyboard. The system is expecting and waiting for another key press to make an ä, or ê or ù or ç... You must press spacebar after pressing ", if you want just the quote ". The right-alt key also gives access to the International keyboard for € (right-alt 5). Otherwise, convert back to US QUERTY Keyboard. If you press "" twice, the result will return with two "". Mar 5, 2019 at 10:17
  • 2
    Does anyone know the logic of what this was actually trying to achieve? How did MS ever think this would make anyone's life easier? How is it meant to be used?
    – Ryan
    Jan 15, 2020 at 14:43
  • A better way to solve it is to install linux, then you the user will be in control, not windoze. Aug 29 at 9:21

9 Answers 9


I would first make sure that your "input method" settings is set to "US" (and definitely not "United States-International"). You can do this through the Control Panel. A restart may be required.

For Windows 7:

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Click on Clock, Language, and Region, and then Region and Language.
  3. Click the Keyboards and Languages tab, and then click Change keyboards.
  4. Under Installed services, click Add.
  5. Double-click the language you want to add, double-click Keyboard, select the text services options you want to add, and then click OK.

See also:

For Windows 10 and/or Windows 11:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Clock, Language, and Region and then click on Language.
  3. If you don't see a card reading "English (United States)" in the list, click on "Add a language" on the toolbar to add it.
  4. On the same row belonging to the "English (United States)" card, make sure there is a line reading "Keyboard layout: US". If it does not (that's the assumption of this answer), click on the "Options" hyperlink belonging to the same line, to the left.
  5. In the "Input method" section, click on the "Add an input method" hyperlink to add a keyboard layout called "US". Delete any other installed input methods pertaining English.

See also:

  • 8
    Thank you! I didn't realise that these settings required a restart to take effect.
    – Marcin
    Oct 13, 2011 at 12:40
  • 6
    Yeah, one thing I've learned is that it never hurts to log off and back on when you are playing around with the control panel settings, computer management, or windows registry (however annoying it can be :) ).
    – Ahmed
    Oct 13, 2011 at 12:42
  • 3
    I stop and start explorer via the run window "cmd /c taskkill /f /im explorer.exe & explorer". Most of the times it will allow changes to many things to take effect. That works on XP should work on 7 and 8 Jan 5, 2015 at 7:54
  • 3
    BEWARE! You will lose pound sign £ (AltGr+Shift+4) by switching from United States-International to US layout, but it will solve aforementioned annoyance.
    – igor
    Jul 31, 2017 at 10:12
  • 4
    "..and definitely not "United States-International." You just saved me from hundreds of hours of suffering. Thank you!
    – golosovsky
    Aug 26, 2018 at 19:04

In the case of Windows 8/10 (not the question, I know) - these accent keys are active when the keyboard is US International (US INTL), and will be deactivated if you change to US ENG.

You can switch between the two using the short-cut WindowsKey + Space.

Also, if you look at the desktop taskbar (bottom of screen) - to the left of the Date/Time display, you should see a tile displaying the current keyboard (in this case US ENG or US INTL) - click on it to bring up a selector.

  • 6
    Worked for me, I was working with Sublime Text editor and it was driving me crazy while programming. Thanks! Nov 3, 2014 at 19:21
  • 1
    This is really a PITA when you're used to work with Mac OS ... Apple Key-Space means "Spotlight search" there, so I press it frequently in Windows ..
    – TheEye
    Nov 9, 2015 at 11:33
  • 1
    Left alt + left shift was bound to change keyboard languages for me in Windows 7. (Shortcut should be listed in the window where you add more keyboard languages). Changed to non-international map and it's back to normal, thanks.
    – aportr
    Jan 8, 2016 at 12:13
  • 4
    +1 The short-cut WindowsKey + Space is working in Windows 10 too. Thanks :) Nov 2, 2016 at 15:00
  • 2
    "You can switch between the two using the short-cut "WindowsKey + Space"." This saved the day for me. Was on the verge of rebooting my webserver thinking that would fix it, but I'm glad it wasn't necessary. (This worked on Windows Server 2012)
    – Vincent
    Jun 9, 2018 at 21:43

You probably inadvertently pressed ctrl shift '.

This is a windows shortcut that affects some applications (examples include: mIRC, gtalk, wordpad, etc) and causes the behavior you are describing. Pressing the shortcut again or restarting the computer will disable it (and hence Dmnisih's answer is incorrect).

  • Does your list include cmd and xemacs running under cygwin? If not, then your diagnosis is incorrect.
    – Marcin
    Oct 13, 2011 at 17:29
  • SharePoint Designer 2010 is also affected by this shortcut.
    – MrChrister
    Feb 24, 2015 at 17:00
  • @Marcin Anything that uses a win32 rich text input would be affected by this. CMD does, and IIRC GTK running under cygwin does. The diagnoses is correct.
    – Tritium21
    Apr 1, 2018 at 2:30

Windows 10 here.

Windows Key + Space did not work for me. It changed between languages - not keyboards. This is how I solved the problem:

  1. Opening Settings.

    • Windows Key + I (like India)
    • OR Start > Settings
  2. "Time & Language"

  3. "Region & language"
  4. Under "Preferred languages" click on English > Options
  5. "Add a keyboard"
  6. You need to use the one which says "US" (not "United States-International"):
    US keyboard
  • 1
    I am having this issue and this is the only keyboard in my list :(
    – Issung
    Feb 22, 2021 at 2:05

If you press space after the quote then it will be as if you have only the one quote

  • Does this work with any key? Or just space?
    – Marcin
    Nov 28, 2013 at 16:07
  • any key as far as I can see...
    – rupweb
    Mar 27, 2014 at 16:30
  • 9
    yeah but pressing 2 keys to make a single key appear isn't the answer to the problem.
    – simo.3792
    Jan 19, 2017 at 6:33

It typically happens when one accidentally hits the left Ctrl and right Shift keyboard keys.

The way to recovery is in hitting these Ctrl-Shift keys two more times.

It has been illustrated nicely at http://www.pctips.smittystips.com/v_laptop_keyboard_errors.php

  • Wow, thanks! A simple fix for me when my keyboard was already selected as US English. I almost skipped your suggestion thinking it couldn't possibly be right! :)
    – pcdev
    Mar 5, 2018 at 12:10

Here’s how I fixed it:

  1. Open the Regional and Language Options control panel.
  2. Click on the Keyboards and Languages tab.
  3. Click on the Change Keyboards button.
  4. Remove all the installed keyboards until none are left except English US.
  5. Restart your computer.
  • 3
    Usually "International" variants of keyboards cause have this behaviour. Note that you cannot remove keyboard which is currently selected and the restart is not probably needed. (but Windows often surprise me with requested reboots) Jan 24, 2014 at 13:27
  1. If you press " once, followed by Space bar, it gives ' without a space next to it.
  2. If you press ", while holding Shift, and then press Space bar, you get " without a space next to it.
  3. If you press " followed by a consonant, then you get the same result as (2). For example:

    ", followed by m, gives 'm.

    Shift+", followed by m, gives "m.

  • What solution/action are you suggesting?
    – meatspace
    Jan 28, 2015 at 15:42
  • What I am suggesting is, the space-bar will do the trick. There is no need to change the Region and Language setting, 'because' this problem occurs, in general case, on any keyboard layout.
    – jaydeepsb
    Jan 29, 2015 at 11:43
  • 1
    Your answer is really difficult to read and could be improved if you edit it and use <kbd>space</kbd> and <kbd>"</kbd> so that it formats the names of keyboard keys to make them easier to read.
    – Ryan
    Feb 27, 2018 at 15:52
  • 1
    Thanks for describing the misery of the original poster in so many words. Still, this is not an answer to the question of "How can I stop it?" Downvoted.
    – user477799
    May 16, 2018 at 5:21

For WinXP

Open RUN window (winbutton + r) type the following line and press enter

cmd /c intl.cpl ,1 & taskkill /f /im explorer.exe & explorer

Click "detail"

Highlight and remove all keyboards except US

Click OK twice and you should be done

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