Forum Thread

suggestions for getting a laptop with a french keyboard

p_s_92 564 52 February 15, 2011 at 03:41 PM
1. If you want to buy a laptop for someone who is studying in a French school, needs to type in French what are the options? Usage will be like a high school student(assignments, class projects etc.)

2. Can you buy the laptop in US, then ship it to the user? The user is not in France, but in a country where French is the primary language.

3. Does the OS/software also have to be in French or can they be in English?

4. Or is buying a English keyboard, then setting it to French an option? How does that work? English keyboards have 'Q' as first letter whereas I hear in French it is 'A'

I don't know much about buying a laptop with a language other than English keyboard so
any suggestions would be appreciated.

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#2
If the student is going to be in another country and this is a new laptop you could buy it in the US, but if you have to send it out for a warranty repair that might turn into a hassle. Windows has French and English settings. If the primary language is English then get a laptop with a built-in English keyboard then purchase a French USB keyboard to plug in or vise-versa.
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#3
easiest: a regular us laptop and use the us-international keyboard layout [wikipedia.org] to get deadkeys/altgr... that's a setting in software (the operating system. see this kb for windows [microsoft.com])...

OR buy the laptop in the region it will be used in... which as pointed out above, may be easiest for obtaining service from the manufacturer...

note that some makers/importers (in the us) will allow a special order of a non-english keyboard but may require the preloaded software to also be in that other language.
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Last edited by 2cheap4retail February 15, 2011 at 10:07 PM
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#4
funny I got French keyboard sent to me by accident for my Dell laptop. I would just get a external keyboard in French then you can go back and forth you can set windows to French also

http://www.amazon.com/French-Euro...B0002JP05Y
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#5
Several options:

- Windows has embedded languages where you use key combinations to get the non-english characters - my wife uses this extensively as she is a spanish teacher
- You can buy an external keyboard that is french (that is, has all the special characters on it).
- If it was easier to do, you could buy a regular US (english) laptop and buy a second, french, internal keyboard for it and just swap it out (very easy to do).
- While you can set the OS to french (e.g. all the prompts, etc will all be in french), that is not necessary to be able to type in word processors and etc in french.
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#6
You can get replacement keyboards in whatever language you want. Lenovo has very good support for this - you can buy whatever machine you want & then order a French KB for it & swap it out (takes all of 10 minutes). Also, Lenovo has excellent international warranty coverage, so you can buy it here & generally get it serviced wherever the machine is in the world.
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#7
I agree that if the primary language is English then order a laptop with an English keyboard. A USB keyboard that is in French may be helpful to learn on in the beginning but the user will pickup the converted English keyboard. Most people I know who use the foreign languages on US keyboards just learn the special key combos. It seems to work well.
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#8
Quote from eagleknightsky View Post :
If the student is going to be in another country and this is a new laptop you could buy it in the US, but if you have to send it out for a warranty repair that might turn into a hassle. Windows has French and English settings. If the primary language is English then get a laptop with a built-in English keyboard then purchase a French USB keyboard to plug in or vise-versa.
Actually, the uncle wants to help his nephew(who is overseas) by getting him a laptop. Thanks, will offer the suggestions in this thread.
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#9
Quote from 2cheap4retail View Post :
easiest: a regular us laptop and use the us-international keyboard layout [wikipedia.org] to get deadkeys/altgr... that's a setting in software (the operating system. see this kb for windows [microsoft.com])...

OR buy the laptop in the region it will be used in... which as pointed out above, may be easiest for obtaining service from the manufacturer...

note that some makers/importers (in the us) will allow a special order of a non-english keyboard but may require the preloaded software to also be in that other language.
Thank you, the first suggestion you mentioned is easiest.

I did not get the "use the us-international keyboard layout [wikipedia.org] to get deadkeys/altgr" part. So, if i change the setting as per http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306560 and set the language/keyboard to French when the user types QWERTY in the English keyboard, it will come as AZERTY as that is how French keyboards are configured. I mean will the OS recognize since the setting is French when 'Q' is entered, the user wants to enter a 'A'?

Quote from komondor View Post :
funny I got French keyboard sent to me by accident for my Dell laptop. I would just get a external keyboard in French then you can go back and forth you can set windows to French also

http://www.amazon.com/French-Euro...B0002JP05Y
Thanks, will suggest that also.
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Last edited by p_s_92 February 16, 2011 at 03:21 PM
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#10
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
Several options:

- Windows has embedded languages where you use key combinations to get the non-english characters - my wife uses this extensively as she is a spanish teacher
- You can buy an external keyboard that is french (that is, has all the special characters on it).
- If it was easier to do, you could buy a regular US (english) laptop and buy a second, french, internal keyboard for it and just swap it out (very easy to do).
- While you can set the OS to french (e.g. all the prompts, etc will all be in french), that is not necessary to be able to type in word processors and etc in french.
How do you set the OS to French, once you purchase it as a regular US(English) laptop?

Regarding swapping of internal keyboards, once when I tried to change the hard drive of a netbook, one key from the keyboard came out when i was trying to pry it out. For that, I need to be careful. Besides, won't the warranty be voided if that is done?

Thanks for your suggestions.
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#11
Quote from Jeffbx View Post :
You can get replacement keyboards in whatever language you want. Lenovo has very good support for this - you can buy whatever machine you want & then order a French KB for it & swap it out (takes all of 10 minutes). Also, Lenovo has excellent international warranty coverage, so you can buy it here & generally get it serviced wherever the machine is in the world.
Thanks, but the uncle is bit on the low budget(around 500) and Lenovo are generally expensive, though I haven't checked the prices lately. I told him that I would look if I can get a decent configuration for 500.

But, your suggestion is right, warranty/coverage are important.

Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
I agree that if the primary language is English then order a laptop with an English keyboard. A USB keyboard that is in French may be helpful to learn on in the beginning but the user will pickup the converted English keyboard. Most people I know who use the foreign languages on US keyboards just learn the special key combos. It seems to work well.
Thanks, will suggest that also.
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Last edited by p_s_92 February 16, 2011 at 03:27 PM
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#12
Quote from p_s_92 View Post :
I did not get the "use the us-international keyboard layout [wikipedia.org] to get deadkeys/altgr" part. So, if i change the setting as per http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306560 and set the language/keyboard to French when the user types QWERTY in the English keyboard, it will come as AZERTY as that is how French keyboards are configured. I mean will the OS recognize since the setting is French when 'Q' is entered, the user wants to enter a 'A'?
set the keyboard layout in windows to us-international, NOT french.. that way labels on keys match what you get when you push them (for regular characters). the difference between us-english and us-international layouts is that you can enter those pesky accented and other characters with the us-international layout but cannot with the standard us-english layout (the english language doesn't use them).

Quote from p_s_92 View Post :
How do you set the OS to French, once you purchase it as a regular US(English) laptop?
to switch a computer bought in the us and loaded with standard us-english windows, you'd have to upgrade it to windows 7 ultimate and then download the desired language pack (list of available languages [microsoft.com]) from windows update. UI language is a per-user setting in windows. any text not translated in the selected language pack will display in the native language of the installed version of windows (i.e. english in this case). you do not need to do this to work with non-english documents or surf non-english web pages. language packs affect only the menus, texts, dialog boxes, etc. of windows itself.
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Last edited by 2cheap4retail February 16, 2011 at 04:20 PM
#13
Quote from Jeffbx View Post :
You can get replacement keyboards in whatever language you want. Lenovo has very good support for this - you can buy whatever machine you want & then order a French KB for it & swap it out (takes all of 10 minutes). Also, Lenovo has excellent international warranty coverage, so you can buy it here & generally get it serviced wherever the machine is in the world.
There are some caveats to that. Typically, how it works is models released in the US first, then as they're added overseas, new machines types are added with IWS. ThinkPads bought in the Lenovo outlet come with a one year depot warranty, which cannot be upgraded. Accidental, on-site and IWS are not available. You can look up the IWS status of any ThinkPad using this site [ibm.com].
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#14
Quote from 2cheap4retail View Post :
set the keyboard layout in windows to us-international, NOT french.. that way labels on keys match what you get when you push them (for regular characters). the difference between us-english and us-international layouts is that you can enter those pesky accented and other characters with the us-international layout but cannot with the standard us-english layout (the english language doesn't use them).
Thanks for clarifying. I got that, but since the user is used to keyboards with AZERTY he wants that type of keyboard.

Quote from 2cheap4retail View Post :
to switch a computer bought in the us and loaded with standard us-english windows, you'd have to upgrade it to windows 7 ultimate and then download the desired language pack (list of available languages [microsoft.com]) from windows update. UI language is a per-user setting in windows. any text not translated in the selected language pack will display in the native language of the installed version of windows (i.e. english in this case). you do not need to do this to work with non-english documents or surf non-english web pages. language packs affect only the menus, texts, dialog boxes, etc. of windows itself.
Can you get a French OS and french keyboard in US?

And, is upgrading to Ultimate 7 of Windows required? I mean while the Windows OS sets up for the first time when a new machine is bought, can't you choose the install setting as French, just like while installing Acrobat you can choose language of install and if you choose French, Adobe Acrobat will have menu, messages etc. in French?

I am new to this so might be confused.

Thanks for your advice and time.

Quote from zazon View Post :
There are some caveats to that. Typically, how it works is models released in the US first, then as they're added overseas, new machines types are added with IWS. ThinkPads bought in the Lenovo outlet come with a one year depot warranty, which cannot be upgraded. Accidental, on-site and IWS are not available. You can look up the IWS status of any ThinkPad using this site [ibm.com].
Thanks for the clarification.
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Last edited by p_s_92 February 18, 2011 at 04:06 PM
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