# Monday, February 14, 2005

For several months now, I've been plagued by unexpected language changes while I'm typing. I'll type one character, maybe a quote or a question mark, and I'll get a really strange character instead, say a capital E with an accent on it. I came to realize that it was the language settings, and I keep the language bar on my toolbar so I can flip back to English whenever this strange thing happens. But I didn't know why it was happening, and I found stopping what I was doing to mouse over to the bar and click back to the language I wanted very frustrating.

Well, now I know what was going on! ALT-SHIFT rotates through the languages. I'm a huge ALT-TAB user, and I ALT-SHIFT-TAB when I need to cycle backwards through that list. I also use a fair amount of other ALT-things, like ALT-A to bring up the favourites menu in IE, then arrow keys to choose an item. I really prefer the keyboard to the mouse. Well I guess every once in a while an ALT-SHIFT gets through to the language bar and flips my language. So now when I go to type a URL and see ццц I can quickly make it right.

Лфеу (er, Kate)

Monday, February 14, 2005 6:41:55 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3]
Sunday, March 06, 2005 11:16:54 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Embracing and extending this one -- see http://blogs.msdn.com/michkap/archive/2005/02/24/379466.aspx for more details. :-)
Thursday, October 11, 2007 5:03:22 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
> Well I guess every once in a while an ALT-SHIFT gets through to the language bar and flips my language.

This behaviour is very puzzling and I am with you on the list of frustrated users. The Alt-Shift really leaks even when you do a proper Alt-Shift-Tab (in other words, both Alt-Shift and Alt-Shift-Tab are applied).

Today, my frustration lead me to a detailed analysis of the problem, and I believe I have found the cause. Here it is:

Alt-Shift only leaks when the Tab key is released before the Shift key. This happens to me often, because I press and release the three keys quickly.

Here is the problematic scenario (A):

1. press Alt
2. press Shift
3. press Tab
4. release Shift
5. release Tab
6. release Alt

And the working (correct) scenario (B):

1. press Alt
2. press Shift
3. press Tab
4. release Tab
5. release Shift
6. release Alt

In scenario B, Alt-Shift-Tab is applied as expected.

In scenario A, Alt-Shift-Tab is applied, PLUS Alt-Shift is applied to the current window. The current window is the one that was on top when Alt was first pressed (event 1.); this is unrelated to the icon on which the "Alt-Tab cursor" is in the "Alt-Tab task-list" at the moment when Alt-Shift-Tab are held down. Other windows than the current one are not affected by the Alt-Shift.

There are other possible orderings of the 6 events (720, theoretically), but the way I use the keyboard shortcut, I am sure events 1 and 6 are in place no matter how quickly I press the shortcut. That leaves us with 24 possible orderings. Then we know that each key is pressed before it is released (6 possibilities left), and that there is a moment when the Shift and Tab are pressed together (because the Alt-Shift-Tab gets applied), which leaves 4 possibilities. Of these 4, two incite the Alt-Tab event (rather than Alt-Shift-Tab), so scenarios A and B are the only two possibilities of what may be happening (at least in my case).

The moral therefore is: learn to press according to scenario B, rather than scenario A.

[using Win XP]

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (Phil 4:4)
Sam Ferencik
Monday, January 21, 2008 9:57:39 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
It seems that the hot key Alt-Shift (for switching among installed languages) is not a fixed setting. Maybe, we just go change it to Ctrl-Shift instead.
Tea Old And Why
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