Thursday, January 16, 2014

Reflections on Windows

Yes, I love the pun in the title.  Each day as I use Windows, which I must for work, I am forced to confront the realities of that environment that have plagued us computer users for decades (and the issues that refuse to go away).  My biggest, single largest pet peeve with Windows (and it only seems to be with the OS, but it could also be the PC hardware), is this stupid feature that I am sure not more than 100 people in the world use.

This feature, I don't know exactly what it is called, but it is probably something like Control Lock.  You know how you have a Caps Lock key that locks all keys in capital letter mode?  There is a key combination you can press (after 38 years I still don't know exactly what it is) that locks the Control key down.  I always seem to press it, or it could be that with the combination of Virtual Machines, Remote Desktop, VPN and Web Meeting, the flag gets set in the system.

Anyhow, with this (and other) mysterious key combinations, Control, and sometimes Shift and Control, get turned on.  And, what's worse, I can't figure out how to turn it off, other than to go hog-wild-crazy mashing random combinations of Shift, Fn, Ctrl and Alt in an epileptic fit, until it eventually goes away.

Does anyone else have this?  Today, none of that epilepsy came through for me, I finally rebooted (which means, disconnect from VPN, try to pause VM's with the mouse not responding properly because Ctrl is locked, and more).  Let's try to identify the key sequences to turn this on and off, if anyone knows please post.

And again, why?  Why exactly do people actually pay money (let alone lots of money) for Windows?  I can understand the PC part, that's inexpensive compared to Macs (on a superficial level).

1 comment:

  1. In all my years of using Windows I have never managed to lock my control or shift keys.

    That said, in Windows 7 if you go under Control Panel -> Ease of Access Center -> Set up Sticky Keys you'll find that there is an option labeled: LOCK MODIFIER KEYS WHEN PRESSED TWICE IN A ROW which is checked by default. I suspect that's probably the culprit, but that should only work if you have Sticky Keys enabled. If you disable Sticky Keys then pressing a modifier key twice in a row won't do anything.

    Also note the next item under the lock modifier that says you can turn off said modifier lock by pressing both modifier keys at once (e.g. left-alt and right-alt at the same time).

    As for your last question, I pay for Windows because it's still where the games are and it works just fine. I don't like Apple's policies (let alone premium) and Linux still trails far behind in the games department (though Valve is hoping to change that) and is still a PITA about things that are drop dead simple in Windows.