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Keyboard Fire Drill: aka Saving Your Work in Windows Without the Mouse

Let’s say that you have several Thunderbird emails that you’re composing plus some Microsoft Word 2007 docs that you have yet to save and your mouse dies.  It just dies.  Oh, and just to make it extra special maybe you have a Board meeting in half an hour.  You get the picture.  It would be a total bummer if you didn't know how to save your work and reboot the PC with only the keyboard in order to re-establish mouse communication.  Here’s a keyboard fire drill for when the mouse goes wonky.

Images For the fire drill, see if you can only use the keyboard.

A. Launch Task Manger:

  • Press Ctl-Alt-Del
  • Press T and you’ll be in Task Manager with the Applications tab active.

B. Save all Thunderbird emails that are in the middle of being composed:

  1. Use the keyboard arrow keys to reach a Compose… entry in the Task list and press Enter.
  2. Press Alt-F to activate the drop down menu associated with File.
  3. Press S to save that email.
  4. Press Alt-F4 to close the current Compose… window.
  5. Repeat the launch Task Manager blah, blah, blah steps until all Compose.. entries are gone.  At this point you should have saved all your Thunderbird mail that was in the process of composition.

C. Close Thunderbird:
Once you’ve saved everything, close Thunderbird by:

  1. Press Alt-F to activate the drop down menu associated with File
  2. Press X to exit.

D. Save all of your Microsoft Word 2007 docs:

  1. As before, call up Task Manager.
  2. Arrow to the first Word document and press Enter.
  3. Alt-F to activate the drop down menu associated with File
  4. S to Save or A to Save As.  If you Save As, note the save location and tab to the Save button after naming the file.
  5. Alt C to close the Word file.
  6. Repeat with Task Manager process until all Word files have been saved.

E. Close Word:
Once you’ve saved everything, close Word by

  1. Pressing Alt-F
  2. Pressing X to exit Word

Go through a similar process for all other applications that you have open.  Once you’ve saved everything of import, you can restart windows (which hopefully will re-establish mouse communication).

F. Restart Windows:

  2. Tab to the Shut Down button
  3. Use the arrow key until Restart is selected and then press Enter.

How'd your fire drill go?  Or, if this wasn't a fire drill but 'for real' and you still don't have mouse access, please call the Help Desk.

PS:  By default, all your saved Thunderbird emails (see Section B.) go into the "Drafts" folder.






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