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My Screen is Sideways!

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Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Veteran in computer systems, malware removal and ransomware topics.  I have been working in the field since 1985.
Sometimes a user will call me frantically, explaining that something has gone wrong and they have tried everything (read - they have messed it up more and now need someone to clean up) and it still does no good, can I help them?!  Usually the standard restart will fix most ills.  In this case a restart was unproductive.  It took me a moment to figure out this was probably something fairly simple and, most likely had happened to someone else already (which meant there was likely to be a solution online).
 

The problem:


You are working on a Windows 8.x laptop and you have an experience where your screen is suddenly all sideways,

(I  will confess, up front, that the solution to this dilemma did not come to me unbidden, or even with great effort.  I googled it and found something that looked like my problem and found a way to fix it. )

001-flipped.PNGYes sideways.  Or if you have a web browser open it may look like this one:
002-flipped.PNG

Note that if your machine is anything like my laptop or the one I fixed, it has a touchpad to control the mouse.  Everything is flipped.  So right is down and left is up, while up goes to the right and down goes to the left.  
 

The Solution:


There is an easy fix (which I found here and another Microsoft link here).  The basics in this article were good enough to get me started.  My desktop did not have the checkbox (allow the screen to auto-rotate) like the one pictured here.  This seems to only exist if you have a screen that flips as in a 2-in-1.
004-screen-res-cp.PNGBut once I was in the control panel (right click on desktop and choose screen resolution), I used the drop down to select landscape instead of landscape flipped.  

In the case of this problem, it is almost certainly a user who has mistakenly pressed a control sequence in error (CTRL+ALT+down arrow/up arrow does the trick on a Dell XPS 12).  You can generally use the same CTRL sequence with the opposite arrow to fix the problem.  If CTRL+ALT+down arrow caused it to happen then CTRL+ALT+up arrow will usually fix it and vice versa.

NOTE: unchecking the "Allow screen to auto-rotate" checkbox will NOT prevent the control key sequence from triggering this action. 

Don't attempt to get anyone to admit to this though.  It is my experience that most users just want someone else to blame (some will admit to computer illiteracy and will ask for help, the rest just want you to fix the stupid computer), usually it is either the computer's fault or a virus.  The person who was using the machine at the time insisted they didn't do anything, and would not even own up to a possible accidental press of the control keys that could have made this happen (even though the user was attempting to print at the time).  

At any rate, I hope this gets you out of a similar jam.
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