I am currently on contract with a large financial institution as a IT Security Engineer. One of the benefits of this contract is that I am allowed to work from home at least 4 days a week, if not all week. For the first 2 years of working there, I was bringing home my laptop from the office and then hauling it back to the office on the one or two days I actually went in.
This was fine and a small annoyance to have to deal with, after all, I was getting to work from home all the time. However, late last year my client added a new feature to their existing remote access solution that allows me to leave my laptop at the office, and connect to it using Window’s RDP over an SSL VPN. So now, I never have to bring my laptop home. Enter one major caveat.
Obviously since this is a laptop and this is a major financial institution with sensitive information on said laptop, full disk encryption is utilized. Therefore, if a reboot is performed on the laptop while I’m not physically there, I can’t get back into the machine due to the computer needing a password to boot up and decrypt the hard drive. So, I don’t like to reboot my laptop unless I’ll actually be in the office.
Now, just recently, I was logged into my laptop remotely and I started typing. I hit the ‘M’ key and my windows were minimized and I was shown the Desktop. Hrm, that’s weird. I started typing again and hit the ‘L’ key. The laptop “locked” itself. I typed in my password then hit the ‘E’ key. Sure enough, a Windows Explorer window opened up. If you haven’t caught on yet, these keys I was hitting are short cut keys that are activated when you hold down the “Windows” key. For a full list of shortcuts, check out this link here.
So it appeared my Windows key was stuck in the “down” position, although I wasn’t pressing it. That’s not good, I’m sure a reboot will fix it, but that normally meant a trip into the office. That is, until today. I actually google’d my problem and came up with this wonderful, yet simple solution here @ a blog untitled Bunker Hollow.
It seems that pressing Windows-U will pop up the Accessibility menu where you can pull up the On-Screen Keyboard and toggle the Windows key off and on again until it eventually unsticks. As far as I can tell, there’s no real scientific method to unsticking it, you’ll just have to try it out.
So if you’re Windows XP or Vista RDP (Remote Desktop Connection) session starts displaying that erratic behavior that I just described, check out Matt Williamson’s Bunker Hollow for a fix. Thanks Matt, that was a lifesaver!