4:00 PM 5/28/2006
Here's the fix for the missing BUTTONS tab on the KEYBOARD PROPERTIES dialogue box for Hewlett-Packard HP Easy Access Keyboard and Mouse. MFG Part #: DM687A#ABA:
1. Go to Start / Add-Remove Programs. Make sure the Show Updates option is selected.
2. Look for SECURITY UPDATE FOR WINDOWS XP #KB908531, probably added to your computer on or after 4-11-06. This is the culprit, not Hewlett-Packard's fault, but Microsoft's for having foisted upon us an incompatible update!
3. BEFORE YOU DELETE this update, be sure to now DISCONNECT YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION. If you have cable connection, you can simply disconnect the modem power cord, as I did, with no problem. This is ensure that in case your Windows Update function is set to automatic-without-warning, the update program will NOT detect the deletion and replace it,
4. Now, close all programs and windows as you usually do and log off from your PC.
5. Before restarting your PC, be sure to reconnect your cable modem and wait for it to reset as usual after a power interruption.
6. Restart your PC.
7. Go immediately to the Windows Update options, and be sure to either disable it or select the warn-before-downloading option. If you don't, the deleted trouble-making update may very well reload.
8. Now check: Start / Control Panel / either Printers & Other Hardware, then Keyboard, or Keyboard directly, whichever display, depending on whether you use the graphic or list mode.
9. If you're lucky, when the Keyboard Functions dialogue box displays you'll again see the long-lost BUTTONS tab (obliterated by MS without our knowing it) allowing you to remap the keys.
I'm tempted to let you all think I'm a heretofore unknown PC-geek-genius now soaring to forum fame. But all the thanks for this goes to a wonderfully talented Hewlett-Packard telephone Help Desk rep (with a delightful East Indian accent, and I'm sorry I didn't get his name) who, while I patiently waited a long time on-hold, actually jumped into the problem and solved it while I waited. His parting advice was DO NOT ACCEPT AUTOMATIC WINDOWS UPDATE DOWNLOADS until you review them and satisfy yourself that you absolutely need them; they may create more problems than they solve, just like this one. I certainly agree!
If you want to contact HP-Help yourself, just quote HP-Help Case #7331022027, and tell them I sent you. Don't hesitate to contact me directly, if you like, about THIS PROBLEM ONLY. And please, no hate mail; I am NOT Bill Gates's grandmother...
Marshall R. Schwartz
Edited by marshallphx, 30 May 2006 - 02:49 PM.