Windows keyboard restrictions

Marcel Schneider charupdate at
Sat Aug 8 08:26:31 CDT 2015

On 08 Aug 2015, at 00:30, Doug Ewell  wrote:

> Marcel Schneider wrote:
> > I brought the good news that SIXTEEN UNICODE CODE POINTS can be
> > generated by a single key stroke on Windows six dot one. The only bad
> > news, because of which I've e-mailed to the List, is that that wasn't
> > working in one single circumstance. It was obvious that the main thing
> > to do, is to inform about this fact, so that other people mustn't
> > search for a bug in the driver if it's only that.
> But that's what I've been trying to say. The maximum isn't 16, it's 4.
> "That wasn't working" is the expected behavior here.
> If you were able to create a keyboard layout where 16 code points ever
> worked on Windows 7 (which reports itself as "6.1"), 

Indeed I didn't check on Wikipedia that Windows 7 has the same version number, build number and service pack as Windows 7 Starter which was delivered with the netbooks. So my Windows is the true Windows 7 except some limitations, but *not* the one that one couldn't open more than three applications simultaneously. This limitation we've been saved from, appears to me as a paradigm of all limitations of that sort: a useless worsening of the usability and of the usefulness of a product. There is a use but it's economical, to allow manufacturers to buy the OS a bit cheaper, with respect to the overall price of netbooks. Now, question: What's the advantage of being limited to four characters, even if you're a professional and corporate user? Or a scholar?

> it was purely by accident -- because Windows 7 did not check for the overrun, 
> and because the overrun did not happen to cause any collateral damage.

Windows *did* check for the overflow! This is why *sixteen* characters *only* were inserted, *not* thirty-five.

> If you have a light bulb that's rated for 110 volts, and you apply 220
> volts to it and for some reason the bulb doesn't burn out immediately,
> that doesn't mean 220 volts is the correct operating environment for
> that bulb. It means you got lucky.

That seems a good reasoning. I'm just not quite sure whether limiting ligatures to four instead of sixteen may be compared to electrotechnics.

> If there's a bug here, it's that Windows didn't detect that the limit
> had been exceeded, and respond by locking out the key.

Again, Windows did detect that the ligature was far too long, and consequently limited it to 16. And it did so *without* any collateral damage: no app blocked, no keyboard disabled, just a handful of characters not inserted while they were programmed. That's not worth mentioning except for the case study. Sixteen on one single keystroke is IMHO largely enough. 

But four is *not*. That is what Microsoft knows, and that is why Microsoft asked its Windows developers to raise the limit, IMHO.

Best regards,


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