Computer maker Dell has announced that it will replace the keyboards on Vostro 1310 and 1510 sold in Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Africa because of a bizarre decision it made on the keyboard layout which effectively makes the keyboards unusable to touch typists. For unknown reasons, Dell decided to widen the Shift key on the lower left-hand side of the keyboard, and cram the blackslash key immediately to its right. The result was that the lower row of alphanumeric keys—the ones beginning
ZXCVB—were effectively shifted one space to the right, so touch typists were forever “off by one” when using keys on the lower row.
Dell says it will contact all affected customers and arrange for them to receive an updated keyboard either by having a field technician install the keyboard onsite, or by having Dell send them the new keyboard, along with a BIOS update. Dell says swapping out the keyboard is fairly straightforward, and described in the service manuals for the 1310 and 1510.
Keyboard layouts in the UK commonly place the backslash key to the immediate right of the left Shift key; however, the left Shift keys are usually considerably narrower than the one on the original Vostro keyboard. U.S. keyboard layouts often employ a wider left Shift key, with no intervening keys between it and the
Z key. Dell says wider left Shift keys are becoming more common on European keyboard layouts.
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