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Change the default keyboard layout System
While changing the keyboard layout for your user account is straightforward enough (System Preferences -> International pane -> Input Menu), changing the default keyboard layout is not so easy.

I use Dvorak almost exclusively (with US English enabled for when friends want to use the computer), but foolishly, I did not choose this keyboard layout when I ran through the initial setup. Every time I login, I must type my name and password in US English, before then being able to use Dvorak as I would like.

The solution is simple enough: run Setup Assistant again. Open Terminal (in /Applications/Utilities), and type:
sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/Setup\
/Contents/MacOS/Setup Assistant
Type your user password and then follow the onscreen instructions as you did once-upon-a-time. Reboot and enjoy using your preferred keyboard layout at the login prompt!

[robg adds: I ran the Setup Assistant, but didn't actually take it through to writing and rebooting, so I'm not sure if there are any downsides to this method.]
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Change the default keyboard layout | 6 comments | Create New Account
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Change the default keyboard layout
Authored by: thelamecamel on Jun 05, '06 08:13:44AM

In 10.4 this hint is not so relevant, due to the "Show Input menu in login window" option in the Accounts preference pane (and i think it sticks with the last-used option).

I never used 10.3, but I know that in 10.2 and earlier you could run Preferences as root ("sudo open /Applications/System\\ Preferences"), set the keyboard layout there, and that would become the default keyboard layout.

I also used to change the "Appearance" of windows from aqua to graphite in this way, so that I would know if a window is owned by root. (I think that was an old hint here).

It also looks like these days you can give a password to the root account (thereby enabling it) if you visit the "Accounts" preference pane while System Preferences is open as 'root', although we all know that's a Bad Thing to do.

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Select the "Show Input menu in login window" checkbox.
Authored by: galaher on Jun 05, '06 08:23:39AM
I too am a Dvorak user, and this problem used to drive me crazy. At some point, I believe starting with Tiger, a feature was added that shows a small input drop-down on the login panel. From here you can change the keyboard layout used for logging in. From Apples site: How to change the keyboard layout at the login window.

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Change the default keyboard layout
Authored by: gregraven on Jun 05, '06 04:13:32PM

This may be a good idea for a local computer, but for a remote server (especially one that may have to be controlled even sporadically by the tech guy at the colocation facility), you can run into problems setting the input menu to anything but the standard. For example, if you attempt to log in via ARD using Chicken of the VNC, your local Dvorak will be re-Dvorakized by the server, and you will not be able to gain access. If I remember correctly, setting your local machine to U.S. still doesn't work, so you are left with connecting with the machine via SSL in

Greg Raven
Apple Valley, CA

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Change the default keyboard layout
Authored by: romaninsh on Jun 06, '06 12:35:17AM

This tip in very valuable. It's not only about the login menu. All the new users are created with dvorak. It also sometimes shows up at authentication menu for new users even after keyboard layout is changed. So thank you, this is a tip I've been waiting for months.

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Change the default keyboard layout
Authored by: vasi on Jun 06, '06 05:06:49AM
This appears to be a more-or-less duplicate of an older hint:

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Change the default keyboard layout
Authored by: tidde on Sep 11, '06 04:11:50AM

This hint should be applicable also to those of us who have our own keyboard layouts, that must be installed after the Setup Assistant conversation is finished and one gains access to the file system.

The original hint worked for me, to the point of *initial* keyboard layout (that is, the keyboard layout which gets selected upon login). Setting the keyboard layout in the login window did not affect even the initial keyboard layout when logged in.

Now, *initial* is not good enough, for as soon as I select, for example, one of the time fields for an iCal event, the keyboard layout goes Swedish Pro (which was the layout I first chose when installing the OS). I must then manually switch back, which of course is extremely irritating. Since the layout typically changes without notice, I often type a few wrong charaters before I realize I have to switch back.

Does someone know how to really-really change the default keyboard layout? or why my layout may not be not good enough for editing event times?

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