How to switch the keyboard layout globally in Windows Vista

The other day I ran into this issue with one of our customers who wanted to use the Dvorak keyboard as their default keyboard. This user was running Windows Vista and every time I would select the Dvorak keyboard to type, it would type using the Dvorak keyboard until I switched windows, it would then use the standard US keyboard. I searched high and low to find an answer online but didn’t find any that directly answered my question. I finally found the setting that allows you to make a secondary keyboard (like the Dvorak keyboard) your default keyboard for all program windows. The dumb part was it was in front of my eyes the whole time. Here are the steps to configure your keyboard on a Windows Vista computer:

Step One: Go to your Start Menu > Control Panel > Ease of Access Center

Ease of Access Center

Step Two: Once Ease of Access Center is selected click on ‘Make the keyboard easier to use’.


Keyboard Settings

Step Three: Scroll to the bottom and click ‘Add a Dvorak keyboard and change other keyboard input settings’.Add a Keyboard

Step Four: Under the tab Keyboards and Languages, Select Change Keyboards.

Change Keyboards

Step Five: Select the General tab and add whatever keyboard you want to use. Then once you have that keyboard added make sure to change the Default input language to the new keyboard. ( That was the setting I was missing all along.) Make sure to apply the changes and hit okay.

Default Keyboard

Step Six:In the ‘Regional and Language Options‘ window click on the Administrative tab and click on the option ‘Copy to reserved accounts‘. Check the box beside both account types and select Okay.



That is what worked for me. If this helped you, please leave a comment.  Hat tip to Shinmila H. This was posted by techspeeder.


One thought on “How to switch the keyboard layout globally in Windows Vista

  1. vlad

    In Windows 7 this does not solve the problem of changing language or keyboard input globally. Still, language or keyboard switching work only per-application and not global. Meaning whenever you start another window or application language or keyboard layout will be switched back to default one. However this method may give you options to change layout at logon but still after logging in it will go to default.


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