Default virtual machine NumLock state

Default virtual machine NumLock state

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One of the problems that we faced when working on Virtual PC was whether to create virtual machines which had NumLock on by default, or off by default.  This may sound like a small issue - but people tend to have near religious preferences for the state of NumLock on their systems (e.g. I am a 'NumLock off' person - and my wife is a 'NumLock on' person.  We both get frustrated when we try to use the other persons computer and find that the NumLock state is not what we expected).

With Virtual PC - the way we handle this is we check the state of the NumLock key when you power on a virtual machine for the first time ever - and set that as the default for the virtual machine.  If you want to change this value for a given virtual machine - you should hit 'Del' to get into the virtual machine BIOS while booting, and then go to the 'Boot Settings Configuration' section of the 'Advanced' settings page.


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  • Oddly it hasn't been religious for me.

    On a notebook PC the default should never be to turn on NumLock.  For unknown reasons I've never even seen any system ever screw this up, they know that NumLock is unfriendly on notebooks (except when the user really invokes it).

    On desktop PCs I've never had occasion to care.  Of course some infidels do care which way it is, so let them rot in hell, live and let die ^_^
  • Numlock off!
  • Um, just curious, but what is the benefit of having numlock off?  Unless some app I don't use maps those keys to some extra function all that seems to do is disable the useful (calculator like) key pad and replicate the buttons that are typically located right next to the key pad.
  • The funny thing is, in my 13 or so years of using PCs, I have never quite learned to use the keypad because I never quite know what the keys are gonna do, so that part of the keyboard for me is quite useless.
  • Esc -

    As Norman noted - having numlock on is a very bad thing on laptops where the number pad is overlaid over the right half of the keyboard.  Also - as a gamer - I prefer to use the arrows on the number pad rather than the standard arrow keys (which are a bit crowded).

  • I would have thought i would be better to use whatever the host PC has set. IE the same as RDC
  • I agree with Mr. Ford.  I just did a little test, and the state of the NumLock key doesn't depend on which window is active.  Change it in one window and the change is effective system-wide.  So it ought to find its way into guest PCs in their windows in the same host.

    By the way, if I understand correctly, in historical versions of Windows the IME used to behave in a similar manner, system-wide.  Microsoft changed the behaviour of the IME to be settable separately from application to application (though not from window to window when one application has more than one window).  I wonder why Microsoft didn't change the behaviour of the NumLock and CapsLock keys at the same time.
  • Is there a way to just prevent Virtual PC from touching num lock (i.e. ALWAYS follow the host's setting)? I find it extremely annoying when num lock changes state multiple times during the boot process of the VM.

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