By default, Mountain Lion maps Windows-key to Command and ctrl to ctrol. I changed the modifier keys under the "Modifier Keys" menu in System Preferences, but it had no impact. I can tell this because I changed all modifier keys to "control", but still was able to use the Windows-key as the Command key and the alt key normally. Does Mountain Lion not respect these settings with Windows keyboard??

Should I be doing something else?

  • Those settings in System Preferences should do exactly what you expect. Could you perhaps take a screenshot of the window (control-shift-command-4) and show us the settings?
    – robmathers
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 3:21

1 Answer 1


Did you select the keyboard from the menu at the top? (Edit: it is not shown if there is only one keyboard.)

If you have installed keyboard or HID drivers, try removing them.

You could also try deleting ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences.*.plist.

Another way to change the modifier keys is to use KeyRemap4MacBook:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
  <!-- <devicevendordef>
  </deviceproductdef> -->
    <!-- <device_only>DeviceVendor::KINESIS, DeviceProduct::ADVANTAGE</device_only> -->
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::COMMAND_L, KeyCode::CONTROL_L</autogen>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::COMMAND_R, KeyCode::CONTROL_L</autogen>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::CONTROL_L, KeyCode::COMMAND_L</autogen>
  • "Did you select the keyboard from the menu at the top?" What menu at the top? Where are you seeing this menu? Commented May 3, 2013 at 13:36
  • @BlackSheep Apparently it's only displayed if there are two or more keyboards. Does defaults -currentHost read -g include settings for the vendor and device ID shown by ioreg -n IOHIDKeyboard -br?
    – Lri
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 14:04
  • By two or more, do you mean two or more external keyboards? I'm not sure what device ID you're telling me to look for. The second command shows two keyboards. The first command shows a JSON file with 0 keyboards - it references a trackpad and multitouch, though. Commented May 6, 2013 at 14:59
  • It's actually an old-style plist, but the first command should show entries like "com.apple.keyboard.modifiermapping.1452-597-0" for every keyboard where you have changed the modifier keys. The "device ID" is called ProductID in ioreg output. The menu was also shown on my MacBook Air when it was connected to one external keyboard.
    – Lri
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 15:46

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