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Swapping the Windows Key and the Alt Key on Mac OS X

Running Mac OS X on the MSi Wind U100 netbook with the Windows and Alt keys mapped the way they are really bugs me. The Alt key is mapped to the Mac's Command key, while the Windows key is mapped to the Mac's Option key. That doesn't make sense at all. You'll immediately notice that if you try to run Remote Desktop Connection in Mac OS X. You'll end up using the Windows key as the Alt key (huh?). Finally, I think the Command key symbol looks kind of like the Windows symbol. Why not make them the same key?

So I've been searching all over the net to remap the keys. There are a lot of people with the same concern. Most of the web posts mentioned that changing the "/System/Library/Frameworks/Carbon.framework/Frameworks/HIToolbox.framework/Resources/English.lproj/Localized.rsrc" file is the easiest method to remap keys in Mac OS X. And that was the path I was on . . .

Until I mentioned that to my co-worker, Sasha. He picked up the MSi Wind netbook and in five minutes, he had swapped the two keys. And he did it while standing. My jaw dropped to the floor. How did he do that?

  1. Pull down the Apple menu.
  2. Click on "System Preferences..."
  3. Click on "Keyboard & Mouse".
  4. Click on "Modifier Keys..."
  5. Swap the Caps Lock, Control, Option, and Command keys however you like.

Yah, it was that easy. And to think I was ready to modify system localization resource file to get this done. The screen shot below shows the "Modifier Keys..." dialog, where you can swap the keys.

Attached Image:

Modifier Keys.png

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 13 Nov 2008 09:31:27 +0000

Thanks... My Hackintosh is feeling like a Windoze PC again :-)

ATSC
Mon, 28 Dec 2009 12:20:44 +0000

Hi there,

Thanks so much for the tip. I was honestly considering physically swapping the keys out on the keyboard before I found your page. You have saved my some grief.

Cheers,

Eddie.

Eddie
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 09:44:28 +0000

thanks! i was going nuts with the mapping too. this worked like a charm!

keychey
Thu, 07 Jul 2011 00:20:33 +0000

Thank you! Just hooked up my M$ ergonomic keyboard and having to reach all the way over to the Windows key for my Mac option key was driving me nuts!

Billy
Wed, 16 Nov 2011 18:49:09 +0000

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