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Setting the default keyboard selection System
So you decided to immerse yourself in the German language and got yourself a German keyboard to match? Or, like me, you switched to Dvorak? Even if you're the admin (or even the only) user on your machine, at the login screen, your Mac still thinks you're using a US English QWERTY keyboard. Here's how to fix it.

Log in as root. If you haven't enabled the root user, first do so. As root, open System Preferences and select the International pane. Under the Keyboard Menu tab, set the layout to match your keyboard. Finally, unless you like to live on the edge, log out. You can now log in with your keyboard layout of choice.
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Setting the default keyboard selection | 12 comments | Create New Account
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Authored by: gvitale on Jun 13, '02 12:10:50PM

Good to know!!! Why does Apple "hide" this simple hack for an admin user?

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don't root
Authored by: nichrome on Jun 13, '02 07:00:51PM
There's no point in enabling the root user for hacks like this. You can just as well type this into the Terminal to get System Prefs to open with super user privs: sudo open /Applications/System Give your own admin password when prompted to do so. Enabling root can and should be considered harmful.

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Errrrr... no
Authored by: Anonymous on Jun 14, '02 12:16:53AM

You can't do that!

There was a massive security hole arising from being able to do that which Apple closed last year.

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Errrrr... no
Authored by: nichrome on Jun 14, '02 04:45:58PM

Ok. So you want to take advantage of a feature that would lead to an even more massive security hole (ie. root)? Seeing as sudo is crippled, I suggest using TinkerTool like the other comments suggest.

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Errrrr... no
Authored by: Anonymous on Jun 15, '02 10:19:24PM

Root is a security hole!? LOL. Some of the Mac OS 9 users on here are quite funny.

Root is no more of a security hole than the Commander-in-Chief is a security hole in the US military.

If someone can run applications as root when they're not supposed to be able to, *THAT* is a security hole. If legitimate users can mess up their computer when logged in as root that is incompetence not a security hole.

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Authored by: nichrome on Jun 16, '02 05:11:26PM

Firstly, I have been running OS X prior to its public release, so this is no OS 9 user talk. Secondly, root is not a security hole per se, but when combined with a user who likens it to Mac OS 9's single user mode (ie. the ONLY usage mode), it could be (and would be) destructive. The user in combination with root is a security and file system integrity issue. That's exactly why root is disabled by default. Also, assuming that BSD's various known security issues haven't been brought over to Darwin is just plain naive.

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Authored by: Anonymous on Jun 17, '02 08:19:55AM

I agree with everything you've said there. In particular, the part of your post that said 'root is not a security hole'. Cheers.

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tinker tool /// but there's more
Authored by: mahakk on Jun 14, '02 01:55:56AM

tinker tool lets you specify which keyboard layout you'd like to use at login.

but there's also a glitch where the keyboard-menu shows up after each login, forcing you to deselect the us-layout (in most cases) in the system preferences.
this happens if you've defined apps for startup after login which don't have language resources for your language. the workaround - at least for bundled apps (mostly cocoa, some carbon) is this: ctrl-click on the app, select "show package contents" navigate to


and simply duplicate this folder and rename it to "german.lproj" (or whatever your language is). this doesn't do any harm as far as i know - ;) - but keeps the flag from appearing.
this also has the nice side-effect described in two hints at this site of localizing the apple menu and some dialogs inside these apps...

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tinker tool /// but there's more
Authored by: ruebenschuss on Jun 14, '02 05:36:06AM

Thank you for that hint about getting rid of the us keyboard layout !!!!!

I have been trying to fix this problem for a long time now and couldn't make it. There were no hints about this before.
The silly thing about it is that it happens randomly on my machine...

Anyway, thanks again,

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Fixing the layout changes at startup
Authored by: wallybear on Mar 29, '04 11:55:25AM

You can also try JAW SetKbd (donationware), you can find it at:

It just set the keyboard layout at startup to the one you prefer.

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Dvorak keyboard?
Authored by: Stereo on Jun 14, '02 05:53:41PM

This is slightly off-topic, but I was wondering where you had found your dvorak. I re-mapped my iMac's small Apple USB keyboard using a screwdriver as a lever to remove the keys, but not having the small bulbs on the u and h keys make it painful to touch-type.

So, is anyone manufacturing Macintosh, USB, extended, nice-looking dvorak keyboards?

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Dvorak keyboard?
Authored by: nichrome on Jun 15, '02 01:55:25PM

You can use any USB keyboard (even without special drivers) -- it doesn't have to be Mac specific.

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