So, a few days ago, I sporadically decided to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my laptop. I just wanted to get a good look at what’s coming in the next version of Windows. Now, all commenting about Windows 8 aside, I had one pretty serious issue. You see, I’ve become incredibly reliant on the Programmer Dvorak Keyboard Layout. I switched layouts just over a year ago, but it’s put me in a relatively small group of people. While Windows includes three versions of Dvorak by default, Programmer Dvorak isn’t one of them.
I tried installing Programmer Dvorak on Windows 8, but it never showed up in the list of available layouts. While I’m sure this issue will be resolved when Windows 8 is officially released, I figured a decent number of people would like to use custom keyboard layouts. All it takes to get it working is a bit of registry hacking (which, admittedly, can be a bit risky).
First, install your layout. This will depend on your layout, but in the case of Programmer Dvorak, it’s a simple executable.
Next, in the Registry Editor (press the start button and enter
regedit to access it, in case you didn’t know), find your layout. It’ll be under the key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Keyboard Layouts, and will likely be the last sub-key. Each keyboard layout has its own numeric key, and you’ll need to write it down for later. Alternatively, you can search the entire registry for the name of your desired keyboard layout. In my case, Programmer Dvorak’s code is
Next, still in the Registry Editor, navigate to the key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Keyboard Layout\Preload. There, simply change value of the string that says
1 to match your layout’s code.
Finally, log out and back in, and you’re good to go!