I haven’t been able to figure out what triggers this. Sometimes it corrects when I change programs; otherwise I reboot. I’ve checked the language and regional settings; they’re okay.
The list of character changes was particularly helpful. It’s what happens if a keyboard gets put into Dvorak layout.
But why did it happen? That’s a little unclear.
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Dvorak is an alternate keyboard layout that’s more ergonomic and efficient than the traditional “qwerty” layout we’re all familiar with. Where qwerty was designed specifically to slow down typists that were too fast for old mechanical typewriters. Dvorak is designed to be fast and efficient. You can read more about the Dvorak keyboard, its origins, and resources here at The Dvorak Keyboard – A Brief Primer.
It’s unlikely that Windows would spontaneously load up the Dvorak driver – the first time takes a reasonably complex procedure.
Once the driver is loaded, you can set it to switch back and forth via an icon in the notification area of the taskbar a specific keyboard sequence. But you’d probably know it, as it has to be set up for either or both.
You can check in Control Panel, Regional and Language Options, Languages, and then the Details button.