From the Kenosha News on 8-26-07

Using the Help feature helps solve unidentified problems

      Several times lately, users at work have come to me to ask me to fix a particular odd symptom their computer is displaying.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I did something strange to my own computer and had to track it down to fix it.  Here are a couple of examples:

      On my own computer, I was typing along and pressed a key repeatedly until a warning message about “something keys” was displayed.  Without carefully reading it or memorizing the term, I clicked “OK.”  After that, I couldn’t type anywhere on the screen in any program.  Re-booting didn’t solve the problem.  My mouse worked fine, but that didn’t really help since I needed to type a document and do some web surfing to specific web addresses.  I soon figured out that I could type a little by pressing the same key repeatedly until one letter showed up.  Here’s what I had to do:

      I’m somewhat familiar with some of the “accessibility” (handicapped) options and figured it might be one of those.  Using the mouse, I went to Start->Control Panel and then to the Accessibility control panel in Classic View.  If I had searched thoroughly, I would have found that the FilterKeys option on the keyboard tab was checked, but I didn’t see that, so I went to plan B.  I went to a different Windows XP computer and clicked Start->Help and Support.  Since I was still pretty convinced it was an Accessibility option that had turned on, I typed “accessibility keys” in the search box on the Help screen.  One of the first items was “Turn on Filter Keys.”  Yes, that was the term that I hadn’t read carefully on the screen.  I clicked that option, figuring if they could tell me how to turn them on, I could do the inverse and turn them off.  Sure enough, it led me to the Keyboard tab, where I unchecked the User FilterKeys box and clicked Apply.  Magically, I could type again.

      On one of our library computers, a student employee came and told me that every time MS Word launched, a grid - like graph paper - came up on the screen.  She showed me the computer, and we launched Word XP.  There was a grid with small squares.  We tried turning off various options on the General screen under Tools and Options, to no avail.  Finally, I resorted to consulting the Help option again.  This time, I used the Help menu within Office XP.  In Office 2007, the Help feature is accessed by clicking on the tiny Question Mark icon at the upper right of the screen.  I then typed in “grid” and pressed Enter.  One of the items was “Show or hide drawing gridlines.”  In Office XP, it instructed me to click on the Draw item on the Drawing toolbar (at the bottom of the screen) and un-select “show gridlines.”  In Office 2007, it’s actually easier to fix:  Click on the View tab and uncheck the Gridlines box in the Show/Hide section.

      The upshot of both experiences is that the Help feature can assist in resolving unknown computer problems; the key is using the right terminology when searching for the problem.

by Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 8-19-07