One of my biggest complaints about the Dell Mini 9, especially coming from the Fujitsu P1610, is the keyboard layout. For some silly reason, Dell moved the apostrophe key down on the bottom row, by the arrow keys. This is quite a popular key in the English language, and I use it often, so it’s frustrating to find it so far down there, whereas the semi-colon key is up where the apostrophe key should be. Browsing the internet, I came across this post on MedicThree.com, showing how to remap this.
I’ve uploaded the necessary file here, but keep reading to see how to create it yourself, if you would like. The steps below work fine in Windows 7, without any odd workarounds like running as an Administrator or anything like that.
First, you’ll need to download v1.4 of the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. You’ll need to verify that you have a legit copy of Windows, and I was able to do that with IEtab on Firefox, so there’s no need to fire up Internet Exploder. Once you’ve downloaded it, go ahead and install.
Now, open the app up from your Start menu, and you’ll see a generic keyboard layout. Go to File->Load Existing Keyboard, and it will ask what keyboard you want to load. Choose ‘US’ (note, there are several United States keyboards – keep scrolling till you find just plain ‘US’).
Now, this part is slightly tricky, but pay attention and you’re good. On the keyboard on your screen, click the semicolon button, and then click the ‘all’ button to the far right of the popup. You should see something like this:
Now, highlight the U+003b in the first box, and then press the apostrophe key, and press tab. It should change to U+0027, and show the apostrophe in the box to the right. Now, do the same for the U+003a box, only hold shift and press the apostrophe, to put the quotation marks in there, then press tab. It should change to U+0022. Click OK.
Now, go to File->Save Source File, and save that somewhere (you can call it whatever you want). In the information box that pops up, you’ll want to change the ‘Description’ to something like ‘DellMiniRemap’ to avoid confusion later. Now, go to Project->Build DLL and Setup Package. After a moment, it will ask if you want to see the files, click YES.
In this folder, you want to double-click on the DellMiniRemap_i386 setup file to install the new keyboard layout to your computer. You can now exit the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. You should see a small keyboard in your taskbar now. Right click on that, and choose ‘Settings’. In the settings popup, the first entry point allows you to set your Default Input Language. Click this drop-down box, and you should see your new DellMiniRemap keyboard listed. Choose it, and then click OK (or Apply, then OK, if you’re anal).
That’s it! You’re done, and now the semi-colon and apostrophe keys on your Dell Mini 9 have been swapped. Easy peasy. You can use this for other keys by using the same walkthrough, just change the keys, obviously.