Oct 142012
 Posted by at 19:39 General Comments Off on Troubleshooting? Really?

Heather’s laptop started freaking out a few hours ago, with the trackpad ceasing to function about 0.5 seconds after logging in (it worked just fine on the Win7 login screen, and worked on initial desktop population, but stopped moments later). She couldn’t immediately fix it, so I figured it was a usermode driver problem, and was harboring visions of rooting through the registry or doing a system restore (not the “Wipe everything and reinstall” kind, the “Windows keeps backups of your registry for when you do something stupid” kind). Not fun. But I’m stretching pizza dough, so it’s not like I can work on it immediately.

So. Fast forward through dinner, where we ate sufficient quantities of delicious homemade pizza, and I’m actually experiencing the joys of auditing services.msc, rooting through the registry and msconfig. Without a mouse. Something in the process list makes me want to look up drivers for the touchpad, so I’m tilting the netbook to get a good look at the model number. And I notice that the right side of the power button is the “turn off the wifi” button. I’m not surprised by the existence of this button; most PC laptops these days have something that’ll do that. For airplanes, I suspect, or to preserve battery when you want to use your netbook in an offline mode. Hah, like anyone can actually do anything offline these days. Anyway. For some reason the idea dawns on me that maybe I should look at these other F-key functions. There’s one that looks interesting, like a window with a lightning bolt in it. That brings up taskmgr.exe. Good to know. The spacebar has some Bachman-inspired Running Man on it (at least that’s what I saw, others’ interpretations may vary). And lo and behold, F3 looks suspiciously like a trackpad with an X on it.

“What in the world could this button do?” I ask in a nigh-facetious manner. Fn-Tap! Oh, look, a screenpop that says “Touchpad enabled”. Oh, and the trackpad actually starts working again. I think I’m more surprised with the latter than the former.

Mischief managed. Also, I’m inspired to post my first serious update here in, what, 18 months? Let’s hope this is the start of a trend. The blogging, not the fixing computers bit.