Support in the dark

Have you ever wondered why many aspects of your desktop are not as configurable as one might expect…and do you remember Windows 3.1?

Once upon a time, long ago, we were unofficial IT support for the accident-prone switchboard operator at a medical Royal College. One afternoon the luckless lady asked for help with her screen. In those days, with Win31, one could configure all screen elements: borders, title bars, bevels, background, text…and our friend had set each and every single element to black.

Of course, Windows wasn’t so clever then, so on reboot the desktop was the most uniform and uninformative black; think Batman’s song in the Lego Movie

For some reason a call to IT Support was out of the question, and without an Administrator password, we had to resort to a very unusual and old school solution: using tracing paper and a pencil over an unadulterated screen to locate the buttons on the appropriate dialogue boxes, we could then return the screen to default settings.

The pencil is, and always will be, mightier than the keyboard.