I received two similar messages from readers, and the topic was so unusual that I thought this was some sort of April Fool joke. But it turns out the queries were real and I even managed to send solutions.

Both messages were calls for help: a Windows 7 user's screen had turned sideways. One user had been playing an internet game and had turned the screen sideways using the game's View menu. The other user had no explanation for the strange event.

The administrators who wrote to me said they weren't able to use the mouse to restart the computer, so they used the Power button. When Windows loaded, everything was still sideways. They managed to log the user on by carefully moving the mouse (which has re-oriented itself to match the screen rotation and is therefore frustrating to manipulate), but they cannot figure out how to fix the problem.

Can you solve this problem?

Answer:

The quickest way get the screen back is to press Alt+Ctrl+UpArrow. The user who didn't know how his screen flipped probably inadvertently pressed Alt+Ctrl+LeftArrow (or RightArrow).

There's also a Rotation command on the Graphics Options menu you see if you right-click on the desktop, but using a mouse to get to the command is frustrating when the screen is rotated.

How to Play

Solve this month's UPDATE challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to challenge@windowsitpro.com by April 26, 2011. You MUST include your full name, street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes), and a telephone number in the body text of your e-mail (no embedded graphics or attached datafiles). Without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct.

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance.

Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for an email receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem here next month.

March 2011 Reader Challenge Winner

Congratulations to Evan Hoke of Edmonton, AB, the winner of our March 2011 Reader Challenge. The prize is a copy of Windows 7 Administrator's Pocket Consultant from O'Reilly Media.