My laptop's gone insane. I need help

My laptop has apparently decided to act on its long unfulfilled dream of being a mobile phone.

I was working on it and the screen went black. But only for a second. However when the display came back it is now rotated ninety degrees.

I didn’t even know a laptop display could do this. And I have no idea how to change it back to the normal display.

I have my laptop propped up on its side so I can read the screen. And I have plugged an old keyboard into it so I can type. But I don’t see this as a viable long term solution.

Any help would be appreciated.

Assuming it’s Win10:
Right-click on desktop, hit “Display Settings”, scroll down to “Display Orientation”, and change from “Portrait” to “Landscape”.

Laptops may have a hotkey combo that does this for you, so you may have triggered the setting by mistake.

CTRL-ALT-UP ARROW. C-A-LEFT or -RIGHT would have made it go portrait.

Okay, this seems to have worked. Thank you.

But seriously, why would anyone want a laptop display to be turned sideways?

Convertible laptops, for one. I.e., where the display is removable and can be used as a tablet.

and if anything ever goes wierd – reboot. Solves 90% of all laptop issues

There are some situations where the portrait view is more useful than landscape. The first one that comes to my mind is word processing: If you turn your laptop sideways, you can see a full page of the document more zoomed-in.

That was one of the first things I tried.

Kind of hard to type like that.

A laptop, not so much - but a desktop (with a separate monitor) would be a whole 'nother thing, and they’re running the same operating system. It might be dependent on the graphics card the machine has as well.

I posted about this here many years ago, but:
We had a Sony flatscreen monitor attached to our desktop computer. One day, I was using it, and not sure if I hit a weird key combination or what, but suddenly the whole display was mirror-image.

As in, reflected in a mirror, NOT the rotation you can achieve via those hotkeys. It was a great deal of fun attempting to troubleshoot graphics settings while having to read everything backwards.

Sony would have attempted to fix the monitor, for an upfront fee of about 200 bucks.

We tried powering the thing off and back on. We tried unplugging it from the computer. We tried all the onscreen menus. Nothing.

My husband borrowed a spare monitor from work and set it up with the computer, and it was fine - which clearly isolated the monitor as the problem.

What finally worked? Completely unpugging the monitor from power. Not just turning it off or disconnecting it from the computer, but literally removing the power cable. Instant fix (well, once we plugged it back in).

We have never found any kind of information about any sort of settings which would cause this to be desired behavior.

I have this anthropomorphic theory that sometimes machinery of any kind occasionally wants you to show that you’re not taking it for granted.

That is, frankly, the explanation that makes the most sense :smiley:

That explains why software updates stall out if you’re not glued to the computer screen and try to get something else done.

Oh yeah: The predecessor to the computer we owned at the time was one we bought secondhand from a coworker; he had actually assembled it himself. This would have been around 2000 or so.

We brought it home, set it up, and started using it - and it would completely crash after a couple minutes. That got worse and worse.

He took it back home to try to troubleshoot - and it worked fine. This happened several times. We began to joke that our house had bad feng shui or something. He replaced the hard drive just to be sure.

We brought it home, and for some reason, set it up on the floor (it was a tower-style) and it seemed to be doing just fine.

Then we put it back on top of the desk - and it crashed again.

We finally realized that it was proximity to the monitor (CRT; the predecessor to that flatscreen mentioned above) that triggered the issue. Evidently the monitor was giving off enough RF interference, and the homegrown computer was not well shielded. When the computer was on the floor, it wasn’t an issue.

When we replaced the monitor with the LCD one, the computer worked fine.

So yeah, feng shui wasn’t really all that bad a theory! May not meet the scientific explanation but effectively the problem WAS where the damn thing was placed.

I don’t know if we’ve had the weirdest computer problems, but we’ve certainly had the funniest ones!

The latest behavior we’re having trouble with is that I’ve got 3 computers and 1 desk. I built what is effectively a “rack system” using Metro-style shelving, and had set them all up through a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switch so I only needed one keyboard and mouse.

All was going well, until the one work computer decided it didn’t wanna play. When I switched back to it, sometimes it would decide that it was no longer willing to respond to the USB ports - thus, no keyboard and no mouse. Plugging them directly into the computer didn’t help - the only fix was a forced reboot. This happened every week or so, then every couple of days, and last week when it hit 2-3 times a day I had to solve the issue.

The solutions appeared to be

  1. Use a USB 2.0 hub between the work computer and the KVM (didn’t work)
  2. Power the KVM off and on again (didn’t work)
  3. Invest in a very $$$ KVM that does something called Dynamic Device Mapping, where the computers don’t know they’ve been disconnected (these start at 250 bucks. Nope)
  4. Have a lot of different keyboards cluttering up the desktop.

Note that all 3 computers are Windows 10; 2 of them (including the troublemaker) the professional / enterprise / whatever version.

I wound up leaving the problematic computer connected to the monitor via the KVM, and just connecting a separate keyboard / mouse directly to that computer. The other 2 computers still use the KVM’s keyboard / mouse. Then when I need to switch, I have to move the unneeded keyboard to a little bit of spare desk space, and grab the other one.

For some reason, when I type the unlock PIN on the shared keyboard, the other computer does not unlock. Deucedly inconvenient. And my desk looks like a cable factory exploded all over it.

Hehehe, back in the day of PS/2 ports being your standard input peripheral, when I was working for a place that would set up desktop computers for conventions, we had a problematic mouse. You’d plug it into an otherwise working machine, and it wouldn’t boot. Switch the mouse out with another one of the same make/model/brand, and the machine would boot and work fine. Move the same mouse to another machine with the same motherboard and bios, and it would refuse to boot too. I eventually isolated this mouse on one job and smashed it in a ceremony in the parking lot.

Keyboard not found - Press F1 to Resume

I have a friend whose laptop display rotated ninety degrees when one of her cats walked across the keyboard, and apparently managed to hit just the right sequence of keys. Fortunately I was able to look up the solution on my computer.

I was working on a customer’s wonky display once when I realised they had a negative ion generator on the desk that was essentially pointed at it. I didn’t think to ask at the time but my guess was they thought it would neutralise bad vibes from the computer …

Then there was my friend who is somewhat flaky; she had a small metal tree with doodads hanging from the branches that was supposed to stop the wifi from harming her. I pointed out that the only way it could do that (on the false assumption there was any harm to ameliorate of course) is by stopping the wifi altogether, so why have it on at all? I don’t think she has it any more.

These two words brought back a whole shitload of unpleasant memories.

Possibly that mode was useful in the dozen languages that read right to left, like Hebrew, Arabid, etc.