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In my capacity as “the guy who knows something about computers”, I occasionally get a phone call from a frantic friend or acquaintance to come round and help them fix their computer. Their problems normally come about because they’d thought they’d see what would happen if they deleted the “Windows” folder or because they thought it was their lucky day when someone emailed them an attachment entitled “nakedBritneySpearsphotos.exe”. I guess you get the idea what kind of people we’re talking about.
Well the other day I went round to an acquaintance to help out with a computer issue and I discovered right away that the keyboard was totally dead, one of the problems being that the pet cat had decided to use it as the toilet (as well as pieces of food stuck between the keys). So if I was going to be doing any typing for this guy to work out his computer problem, I needed a replacement keyboard and fast. That was when I got out my USB stick and fired up Portable On-Screen Keyboard – “a virtual keyboard to go”
Portable On-Screen Keyboard is part of the Portable Apps Suite by John Haller. As you can see, it’s a no-frills interface but who cares as long as it works, right? Basically you just start it up, then open the program you want to type in (a browser, MS Word, whatever), then use your mouse to click on whatever keyboard key you need. Those keys will then immediately show up in your typing program as if you were using a real keyboard – no time lag, nothing.
This lightweight program is an absolutely fantastic and essential program to have on your USB stick, especially if you are in the habit of fixing other people’s computers with dodgy keyboards on a regular basis. Next time you find yourself with a keyboard with broken keys or sticky stains, toss it to one side and use Portable On-Screen Keyboard instead. Plus you can also use it while accessing sensitive online accounts to make sure that no keylogger can grab the username and password letters.