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Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?

Did you know that there is a key shortcut that turns your screen upside down if you are using Windows XP? I didn’t know that until Ringo decided to flop down on my keyboard and invoked the magic three-key combination. Oh BTW, re-booting doesn’t clear the problem and your mouse and arrow keys work in reverse.

To make matters worse, there was a Windows update, and I was wondering if that was the problem, until I developed the skills to Google upside down and backwards to find a group talking about this “kewl feature” of this bloated mess.

I’m not advertising the keystrokes, but they are quite easily produced by even a kitten flopping on your keyboard.

Oh, I have finally stabilized on whynow at dumka dot com as the e-mail address.


1 Michael { 11.14.07 at 4:47 pm }

Obviously, this was a product of the “computing in space” drive. That, or else someone at Micro$uck was guilty of CUI–coding under the influence.

2 Bryan { 11.14.07 at 5:40 pm }

I assume it’s a geek “joke” that was missed by the QA team.

3 Steve Bates { 11.14.07 at 5:57 pm }

It’s not necessarily a joke. I’d be willing to bet there are also keystroke combinations for rotating 90 degrees either way as well. That could be useful if you have a display that can be physically set up in portrait or landscape orientation, and you need to switch to portrait.

4 Scorpio { 11.14.07 at 6:43 pm }

A friend of mine mailed me a PDF and half was upside down. I use Linux.

I ended up picking up my (light, flat) screen and turning it upside down to check it out. Ah well.

5 Fallenmonk { 11.14.07 at 6:48 pm }

It is not a joke. There are certain situations where monitors have to mounted in positions other than how they were designed to be mounted. I just finished an implementation were we had to mount them upside down from the ceiling. This was in the call center for a major PC manufacturer in Texas that shall remain nameless. Anyway, this call center was to be a showcase for showing clients the commitment to customer service so all these big flat screen displays were very important and they needed to be “upside right”… a term my daughter coined when she was a wee one.
Steve is right in that you can cause the display to rotate 90 degrees left or right as well and you can make them present a mirror image so that they can be reflected to the user in a mirror and still be correct.
Ain’t technology fascinatin’.

6 hipparchia { 11.14.07 at 8:17 pm }

how much do i have to pay you to get that keystroke sequence?

7 Bryan { 11.14.07 at 9:24 pm }

I didn’t want to do this but neither the HP, nor the MS help explains this. While depressing CTRL+ALT you can use the Arrow keys to change the screen orientation. Apparently they assume that programs will do this and there is no need to mention it.

It will only work with recent video cards.

If I hadn’t figured it out I was about to build a stand to hang this LCD upside down, Scorpio, but in Adobe Reader 8 you can rotate a page from the View menu.

The portrait monitors usually have an identified utility do this, although the last one I used did it automatically when you rotated the screen.

I don’t like surprises when I’m trying to work.

8 Steve Bates { 11.14.07 at 9:42 pm }

Heh. I was off discovering how to do this while you explained it, Bryan. I finally found it in an Intel utility for their graphics chip, though apparently the keystroke sequences are pretty common among vendors. For the Intel chip, you can uncheck a box to rid yourself of surprises of this particular kind.

Should hipparchia be told that if one uses the full width of one’s widescreen display for desktop shortcuts, cycling through the portrait modes have an interesting and unpleasant effect on shortcut locations when one gets back around to “normal” orientation? Or shall we let her find out for herself?

Ringo must be getting really long, or really adept, to be able to press Ctrl, Alt and an arrow key simultaneously.

9 hipparchia { 11.14.07 at 10:35 pm }

widescreen sux. two monitors, now, that rocks.

10 Bryan { 11.14.07 at 10:44 pm }

It only takes 5 inches to cover all three keys on the bottom row right-hand side. A kitten could do it.

11 Bryan { 11.15.07 at 12:15 am }

Steve, thanks for the tip on the Intel card. The problem is blocked since the cats can’t be.

It’s just another layer of complexity, Hipparchia.

12 Steve Bates { 11.15.07 at 1:45 pm }

(Sigh. Correction: “… cycling… HAS an interesting and unpleasant effect…”)

Bryan, you’re right. I use both sets of Ctrl and Alt keys all the time, but when I merely look at the keyboard, I tend to forget about the right-hand set. A kitten could indeed do it; indeed, some kitten probably has.

hipparchia, why not… after all, we have two eyes; why not use two monitors, and focus one eye on each monitor. :p

Bryan, you mean your cats don’t have control panels and settable options? 🙂

13 Bryan { 11.15.07 at 3:28 pm }

I’m still searching, but there are a lot of forums to read with people asking, but no one offering solutions.

14 hipparchia { 11.15.07 at 6:25 pm }

we have two eyes; why not use two monitors, and focus one eye on each monitor.
that’s how i do it. i thought everybody did. you mean they don’t?

as for the kittens, they’re still happy with the dvd eject keys.

15 Steve Bates { 11.15.07 at 9:48 pm }

Considering the quality of movies today, the kittens probably think of those buttons (as I do) as dvd Reject keys.

hipparchia, does that mean you are wide-eyed, or wild-eyed?

16 hipparchia { 11.15.07 at 10:08 pm }

wild-eyed, of course. you had to be told this?

mostly i use the dvd player to listen to music, or watch the occasional travel video, not having a very high opinion of the movies of today.

17 hipparchia { 11.15.07 at 10:09 pm }

oops. insert an imaginary /b after wild.

18 Steve Bates { 11.16.07 at 7:16 am }

“Imaginary”? Either I have a powerful imagination, or Bryan closed the tag for you. 🙂

Ever since audio CDs got rootkits, I’ve stopped inserting media discs of any sort in my computer’s drive. Yeah, I know, they fixed that one. And there will never, ever be another incident like that. Right?

19 hipparchia { 11.16.07 at 9:41 pm }


the last few years, i’ve mostly gone to free concerts by local or regional indie musicians, and bought their CDs from them. i have no idea if this lessens my chance of having malware attack me, or increases it.

20 Bryan { 11.16.07 at 10:08 pm }

I would think that there is a good deal more quality control from indies than from the major labels, because most of them are burning the disks in their own machines that are on a stand-alone machine or having them copied on a small order basis by a dedicated CD copier. They can’t afford to have problems, and need a decent level of skill to do it themselves.

As they get better they will buy a CD printer, to make their efforts more professional because small batch CD printing costs an arm and leg at most shops.

The software is available and semi-reasonably priced.

21 hipparchia { 11.17.07 at 12:57 am }

i’ve never found anything to complain about, quality-wise, and as far as i can tell, none of them has ever caused any problems for my computer.

then again, i don’t buy a lot of music, so it’s possible that i’ve just been lucky so far. either way, i refuse to worry about it. if i find something i like, i just buy it and play it. if my computer crashes, it’ll slow down my opinion-spouting a bit, but not by much.