Right Alt Key for Emacs using Putty


I am trying to get my right Alt key to work just like the left one in emacs (and in general). I am using putty to log into my linode.

I googled and found various instructions about using dumpkeys, loadkeys and keymaps to modify the mapping, but when I try to run dumpkeys I get the following message:

"Couldnt get a file descriptor referring to the console"

I get this both when I ssh into my machine AND when I connect using LISH.

Can someone help me understand this message and how to get around it?

Thanks. I am running the Debian small distribution.

– Nathan

3 Replies

Hi, I had the same frustrations and I found a Windows XP registry setting that I believe changes the keyboard mapping of the right alt key to be the same keyboard code as the left. Whatever it does, my right alt key now acts exactly like the left one in PuTTy on Windows XP. It might screw you if you want to use the right alt key as AltGr in the future. I dont think I care so it's okay with me.

Here's the page I got the registry hack from:


At the very bottom is a link called "menu.altgr.reg". Download that and run it, then reboot your system. PuTTy should work the way you want.

From the emacs FAQ

To bind keys on starting Emacs or on starting any given mode, use the following "trick": First bind the key interactively (M-x global-set-key), then immediately type "C-x ESC ESC C-a C-k C-g". Now, the command needed to bind the key is in the kill ring, and can be yanked into your .emacs file.

FWIW, the right Alt key should be able to be configured in PuTTY as a Compose key by ticking the "AltGr acts as Compose key" from the Terminal->Keyboard settings.

Hope this helps!

[edit: Oops, no, it doesn't, I didn't read. Sorry.]


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