A+ Certification / Beginners

Installing a keyboard

Installing a keyboard is fairly straightforward - you pretty much plug the keyboard into the system, and Windows uses a keyboard driver to communicate with the device.

It is important to know the different keyboard connectors, which are described in the following bulleted list:

  • DIN-5 connector: The DIN connector is also known as the AT connector and is used on older systems to connect the keyboard to the computer.
    You can always tell the DIN connector because it is large and round.
  • PS/2 connector: The PS/2 connector, also known as the Mini-DIN 6 connector, is the most popular keyboard connector on today's computers. It is identical to what is found on a typical mouse.
  • USB connector: Keyboards that connect to the system via a USB connector are becoming very popular. A number of systems today are getting away from the PS/2 connections for keyboards and mice and using USB.

Configuring keyboards

Configuring a keyboard in Windows doesn't involve a lot of options - normally you just plug it in and it works. Windows does allow you to configure the blink rate of the cursor and lets you change the repeat rate, which dictates how quickly a letter will repeat if you hold a key down on your keyboard.

To configure the keyboard options in Windows XP, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Start → Control Panel → Printer and Other Hardware → Keyboard.
    The Keyboard Properties dialog box appears.
  2. Adjust the settings to suit your needs.
    Here you can configure the character repeat options and the cursor blink rate. The following options are available:
    • Repeat Delay: The repeat delay controls the length of time between when you first hold down a key and when the character begins to repeat on-screen.
    • Repeat Rate: The repeat rate controls how quickly additional characters are displayed when the key is held down.
    • Cursor Blink Rate: The cursor blink rate controls how fast the cursor blinks.
    • Click OK to apply your settings and close the dialog box.

There are also a number of accessibility features in Windows that deal with the keyboard. Accessibility features in Windows are designed for users who have disabilities. To configure the keyboard accessibility options in Windows XP, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start → Control Panel → Accessibility Options.
    The Accessibility Options dialog box appears.
  2. Ensure that the Keyboard tab is selected and then configure the following options as needed:
    • StickyKeys: When StickyKeys is enabled, when you press the Shift, Ctrl, Alt, or (if you have a Windows keyboard) Windows logo key, the key remains active, as if you were holding it down, until you press it again. This allows someone who cannot press two keys at the same time to still take advantage of these keys.
    • FilterKeys: Use FilterKeys to tell Windows to ignore repeated keystrokes. For example, if you hold down a key too long with FilterKeys enabled, the repeat rate of the keystroke is reduced. This will prevent the character from appearing many times at a quick rate.
    • ToggleKeys: ToggleKeys is an option that triggers audible tones when the Caps Lock, Num Lock, or Scroll Lock keys are pressed.
  3. Click OK.
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