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A possible workaround to Alt Gr not working in Windows

Since a few months, I’ve had that issue where Alt Gr randomly stops working in Windows 7. This is a major hassle because Alt Gr is needed for very common characters when programming (#, {, }…), and also, of course, for “@”. A first solution is to use Ctrl + Alt + [key] as a replacement for Alt Gr + [key], but this isn’t nearly as convenient.

According to various posts here and there, this can be caused by third party software, notably some drivers, stealing keyboard shortcuts. In my case I couldn’t identify a culprit: the issue appeared apparently without a recent update, shutting down running stuff didn’t help. Also the issue is really random (sometimes it occurs, sometimes it doesn’t) and is usually solved simply by rebooting.

I haven’t found a permanent solution, however I found a method much faster than a reboot: switching keyboard language back and forth. I have to keyboards layouts installed, and when I switch from one to the other (NB: the shortcut to do so is Ctrl + Shift), Alt Gr starts working again. So double switch brings me back to my current layout, with Alt Gr working. And so far, it then never disabled again until at least the next reboot.

Of course if you find a more permanent solution, such as a utility to find which program is responsible for causing this mayhem, I’d be glad to hear it in the comments.

Posted in Windows.

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