How things have changed in Windows 8:
However, if you remember Windows 3.1, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
…from a good source on writing international characters on the MS platform. After having to explain around dead key behavior hundreds of times, I’d definitely sign the proposed petition to make it more intuitive (= temporarily revive the dead, show something!). The suggestion in the comments to move more languages to full-blown IME’s seems also interesting.
If you won’t use US-International keyboard layout to type diacritics on Windows, 48 61 70 70 79 42 69 72 74 68 64 61 79…
… , that is to say (decode): Happy Birthday. You are 60 years old. For with ALT+NUM code, you essentially use ASCII (ok, to be more precise: High ASCII), a mapping of human language characters to computer binary numbers that was invented on June 17, 1963.
You can continue for another 5 years. Or if you don’t mean to be hard on your brain: Friends don’t let friends bypass US-International keyboard layout.
You can get the LRC’s keyboard shortcuts to write foreign language characters automatically installed on your home or office PC …
..if you click on Microsoft’s FixIt here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306560 (’nuff said elsewhere about US International keyboard layout) . Our British Friends seem to still type French, German, and Spanish accents the old tedious way. Maybe they find it too difficult to install the MS UK-International keyboard layout which takes care of most accents in all languages that use a Roman alphabet. I wish I could recommend them also a Microsoft FixIt installer which automatically enables the UK "international" keyboard layout option built-in to Windows. However, the FixIt version automated enablement seems only available for US International, not for UK international. If you want US International without manually configuring it (interactive video) , take advantage of MS FixIt by clicking here.
Or how do you like this one? .