Language, Locale & Keyboard settings FAQ

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Q: How do I start Knoppix in other languages?

A: At the boot prompt, enter a suitable LANG cheat code:

knoppix lang=ch|cn|de|da|es|fr|it|nl|pl|ru|sk|tr|tw|us

The LANG cheat code changes the locale, which includes the language, keyboard, timezone and other local settings. For example, if you type lang=fr, Knoppix will boot in French language, with the French keyboard layout and set the French timezone, among other things.

Q: Which languages do all two-letter codes refer to?

A: Most of the time the LANG cheat code is a country/territory code. You may recognise it as the top-level domain country codes on the internet. This document shows you what the country codes mean: iso-3166 country codes

Q: Where is the complete list of language cheat codes?

At the boot prompt, press F3 to view a list of LANG cheat codes. There is also a list on the CD. This can be found at /KNOPPIX/knoppix-cheatcodes.txt.

Note that the above lists are not complete. By looking at the autoconfig file, Knoppix will actually accept the following additional LANG cheat codes:

knoppix lang = be|bg|cz|dk|fi|hu|il|ie|ja|sl|uk


  • cs is also acceptedin place of cz (Czech)
  • da is also accepted in place of dk (Denmark)
  • he (Hebrew) is also accepted in place of il (Israel)
  • sl means Slovenia although the country code is si
  • uk means Great Britain although the country code is gb.

Q: My cheat code was accepted, the keyboard and locale settings match the language I want but menus are still in English.

A: Knoppix includes locale files for many places, but only a small number of language packs (which provide the text for the kde menus). For example, if you enter the cheat code lang=cn, Knoppix will start with all the locale settings for China but menus will still be in English. The DVD edition has a much larger set of language packs. For the CD version, you can download and install additional language packs (see below).

Q: I tried to enter a Cheat Code but the letters on the screen are not the same as what I typed. I cannot type out the correct cheat code. (Or I get a funny symbol instead of "=")

A: Most likely you are using a different keyboard from what Knoppix is expecting. At boot time the German Knoppix version expects a German keyboard, the English version expects a US keyboard.

See keyboard layouts for information on different keyboard layouts.

Note where the characters you want are on the US keyboard (or German keyboard if you are using the German Knoppix version) and then press the matching key. If you are having problems looking up keyboard layouts, the differences between various keyboard layouts are, typically:

  • y and z: these are swapped
  • = sign: for US this is the last key before backspace. For German and many continental keyboards of the QWERTZ type, this is usually shift-0.

Q: How do I select a keyboard layout at boot time?

A: If you are use the LANG cheat code, the keyboard will be changed to match the country or locale you selected. If you want a different keyboard setting use the keyboard and xkeyboard cheat code, for example:

knoppix lang=us keyboard=de, xkeyboard=de

Q: How do I change the language/locale after boot?

  • From the K-menu launch Control Center.
  • Go to Regional and Accessibility -> Country/Region