SP1 bug: Alt Gr (Ctrl-Alt) doesn't work under COMMAND.COM

Discussion in 'Virtual PC' started by Andrew Aronoff, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. I am using MS Virtual PC 2004 SP1 with a French National ("AZERTY")
    keyboard.

    I have virtual installs of almost every Windows version, with some
    installed in English and in French.

    In Win 9x installs, when a COMMAND.COM session is opened, the AZERTY
    (French) keyboard is recognized, but the Alt Gr key stops working,
    depriving access to such characters as the backslash (Alt Gr-8) or the
    at-sign (Alt Gr-0). Under NT4, W2K and WXP, the Alt Gr key works
    normally in any CMD.EXE session. However, if a COMMAND.COM session is
    opened directly via Start, Run or under CMD.EXE, the Alt Gr key stops
    working. (If the COMMAND.COM session is exited to return to CMD.EXE,
    the Alt Gr key again functions normally.)

    In every virtual O/S, if the Alt Gr key doesn't work, Ctrl-Alt doesn't
    work, either. (FYI, Alt Gr keys are found on many keyboards, including
    those of France, Belgium, and the U.K.)

    In any non-virtual install of any O/S that I've accessed, the Alt Gr
    key and Ctrl-Alt work normally in COMMAND.COM sessions with AZERTY
    keyboards.

    Note that in my install of MS Virtual PC SP1, under File, Options,
    Keyboard, the "Current host key" is set to CTRL DROITE (right Ctrl),
    *not* Alt Gr (right Alt).

    This problem in SP1 has been reported by several French users:
    http://tinyurl.com/baasl

    Unfortunately, I can see no mention of it in the
    microsoft.public.virtualpc newsgroup.

    I uninstalled the Virtual Machine Additions (VMA) from several O/S's,
    shut them down, uninstalled SP1 and reinstalled VPC2004 RTM (Bulid
    582).

    Here's the O/S subset I tested under VPC2004 RTM:

    Windows 98 Standard Edition English version
    Windows 98 Second Edition English version
    Windows Millennium Edition English version
    Windows 2000 Professional SP4 French version

    In every O/S under VPC2004 RTM, with or without VMA installed, when an
    AZERTY keyboard was recognized in the virtual install, the Alt Gr key
    functioned *normally* in an MS-DOS box (including a COMMAND.COM
    session under CMD.EXE in the W2K install).

    This bug in SP1 really needs a fix. Without the Alt Gr key, typing is
    severely hampered during common control prompt tasks. Worse, this bug
    is precisely the kind of thing that drives support personnel nuts,
    since it interferes with diagnosis of user problems -- the virtual
    install will behave atypically, but neither the tech rep nor the user
    will know for sure.

    Is a hotfix available (but ignored by the French-speaking world)? If
    not, what's the release date? In the meantime, is there any
    workaround? (I'm fully aware of Alt+#### and the Character Map, but
    neither is compatible with speed typing at the command prompt.)

    regards, Andy
    --
    **********

    Please send e-mail to: usenet (dot) post (at) aaronoff (dot) com

    To identify everything that starts up with Windows, download
    "Silent Runners.vbs" at www.silentrunners.org

    **********
     
    Andrew Aronoff, Apr 30, 2005
    #1
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  2. One statement in my post is incorrect:
    I cannot get Ctrl-Alt to work in any COMMAND.COM session, native or
    virtual.

    This sentence should therefore be corrected to read as follows:
    Sorry for the misstatement.

    regards, Andy
    --
    **********

    Please send e-mail to: usenet (dot) post (at) aaronoff (dot) com

    To identify everything that starts up with Windows, download
    "Silent Runners.vbs" at www.silentrunners.org

    **********
     
    Andrew Aronoff, May 1, 2005
    #2
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  3. Andrew Aronoff

    Oliver L. Guest

    I have the same problems with my German keyboard.
    All AltGr combinations do not work in a command prompt, even not in a shell
    windows of a Linux virtual machine.

    Very bad! Maybe the problem is VPC2004 SP1 as I have read.

    Oliver
     
    Oliver L., May 3, 2005
    #3
  4. Hi, Oliver.
    I'm convinced the problem comes from SP1. Looking at the keyboard
    layouts in the back of my MS-DOS 5.0 manual, I see that most keyboards
    have an Alt Gr key. The French, German, Belgian, and U.K. Alt Gr keys
    don't work under VPC2004 SP1. I bet none of the Alt Gr keys on any
    other keyboard works, either, under SP1.

    It's discouraging that MS hasn't acknowledged the problem.

    regards, Andy
    --
    **********

    Please send e-mail to: usenet (dot) post (at) aaronoff (dot) com

    To identify everything that starts up with Windows, download
    "Silent Runners.vbs" at www.silentrunners.org

    **********
     
    Andrew Aronoff, May 3, 2005
    #4
  5. Andrew Aronoff

    JSchadler Guest

    Thanks for posting this bug and that it appears in Windows VMs too. For me, I
    have installed some Linux distributions with the same problem. Without the
    pipe symbol it makes really no sense only to start a Linux.

    I hope, Microsoft will offer a hotfix soon.

    Regards, Johann
     
    JSchadler, May 4, 2005
    #5
  6. I will just add to all, the same error occours for the swedish keyboard
    layout in my DOS guest. I havn't tried the non sp1 version of VPC.
     
    Johan Tongestad, May 23, 2005
    #6
  7. Andrew Aronoff

    J. Schadler Guest

    Meanwhile I have found a work-around: ALTGR works correctly with the initial
    VPC, so I have
    - deinstalled VPC SP1
    - reinstalled VPC "without SP1"

    I haven't been confronted with any problem since doing this, because of only
    hosting 2 Linux derivates. As I have read, SP1 mainly covers some issues with
    hosting WinXP SP2 and W2K3.

    J. Schadler
     
    J. Schadler, May 25, 2005
    #7
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