How to change the keyboard settings in Windows XP

This page explains step-by-step how to change the keyboard settings in Windows XP. FilterKeys provides you with the ability to control the pace of repeated keystrokes and to slow down the acceptance of keystrokes (if required), helping you to avoid accidental keystrokes.

Set up FilterKeys

Step 1: Turn on FilterKeys

Open the 'Start' menu by clicking on the 'Start' button, or by pressing the Windows key or Ctrl + Esc.

Click on 'Control Panel', or press C until it is highlighted and then press Enter if necessary. (Note: in earlier versions of XP, you will need to click on 'Settings' or press S first.)

You need to be in Classic view. If you see the text 'Pick a category', as shown in Fig 1, click on 'Switch to Classic View' or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter.

Fig 1Detail from Control Panel window

Double-click on 'Accessibility Options', or press A until it is highlighted and then press Enter, to open the 'Accessibility Options' window shown in Fig 2.

If it is not already selected, click on the 'Keyboard' tab, or press Ctrl + Tab to cycle through the tabs until it is selected.

Fig 2'Accessibility Options' window

Tick the box next to 'Use FilterKeys' by clicking on it, or press Alt + F to tick it.

If you don't want to customise the FilterKeys settings, click 'OK' or press Enter to exit the 'Accessibility Options' window.

Step 2: Customise FilterKeys

To customise your settings, click on the 'Settings' button under the 'FilterKeys' header, or press Alt + E, to open the 'Settings for FilterKeys' window shown in Fig 3.

Fig 3'Settings for FilterKeys' window

To use the keyboard shortcut to turn FilterKeys on and off when right SHIFT is held down for 8 seconds, tick the box next to 'Use shortcut' or press Alt + U to tick the box.

FilterKeys has two modes. Select the first radio button to only ignore repeated keystrokes. The second button allows you to specify in finer detail how the keyboard reacts to your keystrokes. For details about customising these options, see Steps 3 and 4 below.

You can check any adjustments you have made within the test area. This provides you with a quick way of ensuring that the changes you have made actually do what you want them to do. Click in the test area, or press Alt + C to enter the test area, then type a few words.

Tick the box next to 'Beep when keys pressed or accepted' by clicking on it, or press Alt + B to tick it, to be notified upon each selection being entered into the computer. This can be very useful as it allows you to concentrate on typing rather than watching the screen.

A small stopwatch will appear in the system tray near your clock (as shown in Fig 4) when the 'Show FilterKeys status on screen' option is ticked. Click the box next to it, or press Alt + H to tick it, to enable this option.

Fig 4The stopwatch icon that shows FilterKeys is on

Step 3: Advanced Settings - Ignore repeated keystrokes

You can tell the computer to ignore any keystrokes that are repeated faster than a time of your choosing.

Under 'Filter options', select the radio button next to 'Ignore repeated keystrokes' by clicking on it, or pressing Alt + O. Click the 'Settings' button next to it, or press Alt + S, to display the 'Advanced settings' dialogue box shown in Fig 5.

Fig 5'Advanced Settings for FilterKeys' window

Choose a time delay from the drop-down menu, or press Alt + I and then use the arrow keys to select the time you want. Click 'OK' or press Enter to return to the 'Settings for FilterKeys' window shown in Fig 3.

Step 4: Advanced Settings - RepeatKeys and SlowKeys

You can tell the computer to wait a certain length of time before it repeats a keystroke, and to ignore any accidental keystrokes.

RepeatKeys

Under 'Filter options', select the radio button next to 'Ignore quick keystrokes and slow down the repeat rate' by clicking on it, or pressing Alt + N. Click the 'Settings' button next to it, or press Alt + E, to display the 'Advanced settings' dialogue box shown in Fig 6.

Fig 6'Advanced Settings for FilterKeys' window

In this dialogue box, you can choose to either switch all keyboard repeating off completely, or customise the 'repeat delay' and 'repeat rate' separately. This lets you set a different length of time the computer waits before repeating a keystroke for the first time, different to further keystrokes.

By setting the repeat rate to a higher speed than the repeat delay, the keyboard will accelerate when a key is held beyond the first repeated keystroke. This is important for tasks such as backspacing over an entire word, so you don't have to wait as long for every single keystroke.

To do this, select the radio button next to 'Slow down keyboard repeat rates' by clicking on it, or pressing Alt + S. Choose the time you want for 'Repeat delay' from the drop-down menu, or press Alt + D and then use the arrow keys to select the time you want. Choose the time you want for 'Repeat rate' from the drop-down menu, or press Alt + R and then use the arrow keys to select the time you want.

SlowKeys

'SlowKeys' enables you to set the amount of time the computer waits after you press a key before it accepts it. This means that you can press hundreds of keys by accident but they will be ignored unless a key is held down for a specific length of time.

From the drop-down menu below 'SlowKeys', choose how long you want a key to be held down for before it is accepted. Or press Alt + K and then use the arrow keys to select the time you want.

You can check any adjustments you have made within the test area. Click in the test area, or press Alt + T to enter the test area, then type a few words.

Click 'OK' or press Enter to return to the 'Settings for FilterKeys' window shown in Fig 3. Click 'OK' or press Enter again to return to Windows.

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

Back to How to guides - I find a keyboard or mouse hard to use

More ways to: Make your keyboard easier to use

Use the keyboard with one hand

Set it so you don't have to hold down multiple keys at once

Turn on and customise the on-screen keyboard

Use a mouse or other pointing device instead of a keyboard

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