posted at 1:17 pm
on May. 28, 2005
The Charmed Life
The Austerity Plan
My buddy Darren spilled root beer on his semicolon key and let it dry. As I started to explain to him how to fix it, I realized that this knowledge could help countless other sticky spillers. So, here’s how to remove a key from your keyboard, as taught to me by tech support god Ron.
First, make your self a KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) out a paper clip. Use a big paper clip, you’ll need the tensile strength.
Insert one side of the paper clip—I mean KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending)—under the edge of the key you wish to remove. I’ve chosen the “control” key because it’s easiest to take pictures of. You should probably choose the key that is sticky.
Now, once you have one side of the pa…—KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending)—caught under the key, pivot and slide the other side of the KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) under the key. This may require both hands.
For keys in the middle of the keyboard, this may also require torcing the KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) to allow the other KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) tong to slide under the key.
For some keyboards, it may also be helpful to depress the key, so that there’s more room at the base of the key for the KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) tong to fit. Whether you choose to have your text editor open so you can capture the random things you type during this time, is up to you.
Once both KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) tongs are under the key at opposite corners, pull firmly but gently upwards. If your keys are detachable, they will detach.
If your keys are not detachable, they will break off. Either way, you will now be able to clean under the key.
This is what the key will look like, detached. You can see that the KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) has suffered no harm and can be used to remove the other 120 or so keys.
Warning: Don’t try this with the space bar, it has a different mechanism. There’s a metal lever under it, and you need to pull it in a different direction.
Most modern caps lock keys are attached the same way, but again, be conservative, and if you have any hesitation, don’t go through with it.
It is possible to put the keys back in the wrong order, or in the wrong orientation. They may not have the same smooth action as before, or may feel slightly off kilter under your fingers, but it’s totally worth it for the look you get from your mom when she comes over and wants to check her email.
I’ve had people ask me how to move the cursor up and down, if all the arrows are pointing right….
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