PC Crapware: Intel’s “Screen Rotation” feature

The software added by OEMs (promotional software, search toolbars, even drivers) tend to be some of the worst parts of the Windows PC experience, and it’s sad to see that even in 2011, the companies that produce PCs haven’t learnt their lesson. Here’s a data point.

Most new Windows PCs have Intel’s display drivers pre-installed, and this includes some “helpful” software to rotate your display. Now, rotating one’s display is very useful with multi-monitor setups — it allows one to set up a widescreen monitor in potrait mode to get a lovely “tall” display.

However once you set this up, it’s done. Not the sort of thing you’d mess around with on a regular basis. So why they decided to have keyboard shortcuts enabled by default for this feature escapes me.

Intel Graphics Control Panel applet - shortcut keys

This is just asking for trouble. One of the shortcuts is Control-Alt-cursor keys. If you ever play a game on your PC, boy, will you be in for a surprise as your screen goes haywire. Even word-processing power users (or Emacs users on Windows) will get bitten.

Granted, changing this setting is simple enough. (My experience of trying to change this setting when running as a non-admin user on Windows 7 was definitely not simple, mainly because the Control Panel applet that exposed the setting had issues running as non-admin.) However, even if it was simplicity itself, should one have to? Add this to a laundry-list of reasons why Apple is ripping the PC business a new one.

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