Stuff I fixed this week

I’ve seen three different computers in the last month with this bizarre problem. Laptop or desktop, if you tried typing, it’d just click at you from the PC speaker and type nothing on the screen. Mouse is fine, everything else is fine, just tick tick tick as you typed.

Oddly, this is actually a feature of Windows called Filter Keys, which ignores brief or repeated keypresses in case you find it hard to type normally. It’s an option in Accessibility (irony!) the Ease of Acces Center, and can be turned on or off by pressing and holding the right shift key for eight seconds.

I’m not joking. The PC troubleshooting part of my brain couldn’t come up with a sensible reason for this behaviour outside some kind of hardware fault, and I didn’t think of accessibility settings until the USB keyboard plugged into a laptop did exactly the same thing.

Given the frequency (3 times in a month and never before…), we think it might actually be a sign of a virus or hoax AV messing with your head (Look! Something’s wrong for real! Buy me!). Stay safe.

Filter Keys in Accessibility, Windows XP.

Aside from that, Microsoft Office has been up to its usual tricks. Credit for solution and this screenshot to this CNet thread.


Note the messed up titlebar spacing, and that the ribbons are missing their more typical Fluent blue theming. If Office 2007 appears like this for you, you need to do at least one and possibly both of the following:

  1. Remove anything that calls itself a “mirror” driver from the Display Adapters section of Device Manager. It’s some kind of video acceleration for a particular remote control application;
  2. Turn High Contrast off in Accessibility. The guy in that thread was using Vista, and removing the driver was apparently all he had to do; my customer was using XP, and we had to take this extra step to get it back to normal.

High Contrast setting in Accessibility, Windows XP.

One Response to “Stuff I fixed this week”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I wasn’t finding solutions through google, so I tried Google Images for “MS Office 2007 Ribbon Messed Up”, and you were picture #2 or 3… Fix worked exactly as needed… Thanks!