I’ve been interacting with computers since the mid-80’s, not counting a FORTRAN course in 1965. I’ve gotten to know them pretty well. Computers seem to sense this; often they’ll talk to me so I can help them get over their problems.
Just as with people, communication is important. A computer won’t answer if it can’t hear the question.
A friend tried to install a wireless keyboard and mouse to his computer running Vista. He used the installation CD. The wireless keyboard and mouse both failed to work, so he replaced them with the original keyboard and mouse, which used the PS2 ports. They didn’t work either.
This presented a frustrating situation, both for my friend and for the computer. It had a tragic condition even worse than that of Helen Keller.
When I examined the situation, I noticed that the installation disk specified XP, but not Vista. This may have been the cause, and if it was it indicates some careless programming by Microsoft.
I rebooted it and accessed the bios, noting that the PS2 keyboard worked just fine there, since Vista was not yet running the show. Then I tried “safe mode”. No keyboard; no mouse. It seems odd that even in safe mode there is no failsafe keyboard or mouse driver.
Normally, at least in XP, you can plug in a USB mouse along with a PS2 mouse and they’ll both work. You could have a mouse for each hand to multi-task with both sides of your brain if you wanted to.
Next I booted the computer with a Puppy Linux CD, and of course the keyboard and mouse worked perfectly. I could read and edit any file on the hard drive. Unfortunately it is no longer as simple, even in XP, as editing win.in or system.ini. With enough time I could probably devise a script that would make the proper change in the registry at boot-up.
The easier fix should be to system-restore at a point before the attempt to install the Kensington mouse and keyboard, and to allow choosing that point with at least a working keyboard, a Vista emergency boot disk would be needed. I have downloaded and burned one for my friend, and hope, when he tries it, that this will work.
–cosmic rat June 10 2011