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What are all those useless sockets and keys doing on your PC?

Updated on July 13, 2008
Look at all this useless junk in the back of your PC!
Look at all this useless junk in the back of your PC!

For some reason known only to computer hardware manufacturers, they will continue to provide features in state of the art computers that were needed way back in the dark ages when women had feathered hair, men wore bellbottom tie dyed jeans, and gas cost 39 cents a gallon. This is because they don't want to risk alienating some old geezer who has had the same printer or scanner since he got his Amiga 500 or Commodore 64 and "it better work with that newfangled system, dang gum it!" This is the same ridiculous policy which forces keyboards to be at least one third bigger than they have to be since they have to incorporate all sorts of obsolete and mostly useless keys such as the 12 F-keys and ridiculous things like Pause-Break (wot the heck does that do?), Scroll Lock, Home, End, and the evil Insert key: the single most universally despised key in all computerdom. Who hasn't been typing away in the middle of a text at a mile a minute to mistakenly hit that moronic key and end up wiping out a whole string of characters as you type? Most people hate that key but not enough to delve into Regedit to kill it. If you follow these instructions for XP it's fairly simple. Trust me, once you do it step by step it won't be anywhere near as foreboding as just staring at all those weird characters.

Go to Start-Run and type in regedit

Go to HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout

Right-click on the right half of the screen and choose New-Binary Value

Name the new value Scancode Map

Enter 00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,00,00,52, e0,00,00,00,00

Close regedit


Now press that darned Insert key all you want and it will be mercifully dead. I know that digging into the Registry is best avoided but in this case I believe that the benefits are more than ample. Make sure you do it exactly as shown and don't change a thing, nor go poking around other settings while you're in regedit!

The keyboard is not the only place which is littered with completely outdated and useless prehistoric junk. All you need to do is to go to the back of your PC and start plugging in your various cables to find that it seems that most of the connector panel is taken up by a whole bunch of big sockets that you don't have anything to plug into. The main reason for this is the dreaded "legacy." By far the worst offender is the Serial Data Port. This big DB9 connector works with absolutely nothing at all that has been manufactured since Fred Flintstone was chowing down on Brontosaurus Burgers. The whole idea of having a quadcore CPU running a 64 bit Operating System off of 8 GB RAM hooked up to a Serial device is somewhat akin to fitting a Toyota Prius with differential from a Willys Jeep.

The next worst offender and the one that takes up the largest amount of connector panel real estate is the Parallel Data Port. Are there really any more parallel printers out there? And do any of them have drivers that work with Vista? And what about the PS2 keyboard and mouse sockets? Wouldn't it make sense that any non-USB input devices would be worn out by now and replaced with current models?

One of the main reasons why Vista is such a huge slow slug of an Operating System is that it is designed to be somewhat backwards compatible to ancient software and peripheral functions that no one in their right mind would ever use on Vista, even if they could locate the drivers to run the devices in the first place. As much as we could get teary eyed over the prospect that our new 3 GHz quad core won't interface with the nostalgic 300 dpi scanner you have had since high school, the best thing that can be done with legacy is to jettison it and streamline systems to current standards.


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