What happens when things go wrong?

This was one of those days where my tablet gave me grief!

In the middle of the class this afternoon, the tablet lost contact with the tablet pen. This happens at irregular and unpredictable intervals, and I don’t yet know what causes it. Updating all the drivers has not helped. I’ll have to see if I can get any joy from the Toshiba forum!

The tablet does not crash: it simply stops paying any attention to the tablet pen. The tracker pad still works (though I prefer to have an emergency mouse with me, as I am not very good with a tracker pad). But the only way I have found to reactivate the tablet pen in these situations (on my Toshiba M750) is to reboot the machine, at a cost of about 5 minutes … usually. But to make things worse today, the tablet then announced that it was installing 21 updates! (Perhaps I should have rebooted without installing updates, but I didn’t realize how many there were.) So I had to move temporarily to using the whiteboard while waiting for the machine to reboot.

This last problem, at least, can usually be avoided by ensuring that all updates have been installed earlier in the day. But does anyone know a cure for the problem where the tablet pen temporarily stops working? (After rebooting, the pen always works fine again.)

[See comments below and the follow-up post on this.]



7 responses to “What happens when things go wrong?

  1. One of my colleagues has a similar problem with her type of tablet. However, in her case, opening the tablet pen control panel causes the computer to find the pen again. This does not work for my laptop, though.
    What I may try next time is putting the tablet to sleep (by closing it) and waking it up again (by opening it) to see if that is sufficient. I think that I remember having success with this method in a similar situation in the past.
    Hopefully, with help from local IT support, I can eventually find some superior and more reliable drivers, or whatever software is necessary, to eliminate the problem for good.


    • Success! If you make the tablet laptop hibernate and then make it wake up again, then it finds its pen again. This is much better than having to reboot the laptop. Of course, it would be even better if the problem didn’t occur in the first place.


      • My colleague Ian Dryden had a similar problem recently. For him, bringing up the list of processes using control-alt-delete and closing this again (by whatever means!) was sufficient to bring the pen back to life again. (In his case, the pen was stuck in writing mode and would not do anything else.)
        So there’s another one to try!


  2. Are you using Windows journal? I find that if I quit the application and start it up again then the pen works. This is fairly quick, but annoying nevertheless!


    • Unfortunately, when my tablet pen problem strikes, the tablet completely ignores the pen. So I can’t even use the pen to quit Journal, but have to use the trackpad or my emergency mouse if I have it with me. I am fairly certain that the pen doesn’t come back for me just by restarting Journal, but I may not have definitively established this. So next time I’ll try using the mouse to restart Journal and see if the pen will come back to life again.


  3. Hi Joel, I found your comment concerning the tool CursorAttention.
    Indeed, it contains a virus / worm (hupigon). I don’t understand, that this infected file has been distributed for such a long time.
    Kenrick J. Mock should have seen that.


    • I have communicated our concerns to Professor Mock. He has investigated, and he says that it is not a genuine infection, just an unlucky sequence of bytes. He understands that people may be reluctant to install until this is resolved. He proposes to repackage to sort this problem out.
      Meanwhile, I have mentioned some items on my feature wish list to him, so here’s hoping!


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