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Keyboards can have various functions for each key that are enabled by first pressing a modifier key. Some keyboards may have an Fn key that stands for 'Function' that are identified by a bluish-purple color. You would have to hold down the Fn key before being able to use the corresponding function. Other keys may have items that can only be used once you press the NmLk (Number Lock) key. Usually you only have to press the NmLk key once to enable these alternate functions and then press it again to disable.
I found this on another website and it worked for me. Good luck.
I know this is an old question but when i searched for the same problem
recently, it was the nearest I could find. So in case others are having
the same problem:
The Vaio you have is a Canadian model, which
has alternate keyboard drivers for English and French. The alt car key
only works with the French keyboard (durr). To switch, press the LEFT
control key and RIGHT shift key at the same time, then release. Now if
you use the alt car key like the shift key, i.e. hold it down then press
another key, you should be able to access the pink characters. To
return to English keyboard, press left-ctrl and right-shift together
I'm an Asus X58C user in the UK and my keyboard is the same. I've not found an easy solution. The only way I can insert a £ character is this. Place your coursor where you want the character. Turn Numbers Lock on using the blue Fn and NumLk keys. Hold down the Alt key and then using the blue numbers keys type 0163. Release the Alt key and the £ character will appear. Turn Numbers Lock off using the blue Fn and NumLk keys again. Its laborious but it works, its how I typed it here. I also found out that if you hold down Ctrl and Alt and then press the 4 key, you type the euro character €. Hope this helps
Same keyboard, same problem for almost 2 years now, and just now figured out how to fix it!! Try a simple left ctrl-shift, your language tab up top will switch between US English/Canadian English/Canadian multilingual, or whatever you set it for. I occasionally want the alternate characters applied, so now I can switch back and forth easily. You may need to set the language tab to your preferred settings. Hope this helps!
try hitting the left alt and the left shift button together, then try it out by pressing shift question mark. I had the exact same problem and i think you can alternate between french and english keys by hitting these two buttons together.