In order to switch to a new keyboard layout I have added an setxkbmap command to my Openbox's autostart.sh.

However, this only takes effect once I log in (when Openbox starts).

While logging in, in GDM (I suppose), the layout I chose when installing the system is still active - which is distracting in my efforts.

What do I have to do to have this default layout changed?

(OS: Debian 7.1)

2 Answers 2


Take a look at this Debian Wiki article. There are several approaches on that page probably the easiest is to run this command as root:

$ dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration
  • you mean # dpkg ... I think.
    – jcora
    Jun 28, 2013 at 18:15
  • 1
    @jcora nope, the command dpkg-reconfigure is correct.
    – josch
    Aug 10, 2018 at 7:51

The right way to do it, is already covered by the answer from sim, but in case you are unable do run dpkg-reconfigure for some reason (suppose you have a chroot or something), you have to edit /etc/default/keyboard. This is also what the dpkg-reconfigure command does in the end but in a safe way using an easy to use interface.

Here is an example /etc/default/keyboard for the German Neo2 keyboard layout:



Also, this will affect your initramfs. This is especially important if you configured full disk encryption where you have to type your password. To also immidiately update the initramfs you can run:

sudo update-initramfs -u

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