Q: I have Windows 10 (served up to me automatically from Microsoft replacing Windows 7 a few months ago without my asking for it). I have a 2010 Gateway laptop. I received a Microsoft update Nov. 20. My desktop then went to the display setting of landscape and will not allow a change back to portrait using the usual procedure of right clicking the desktop and following the steps in “display settings.” Has something been downloaded in the latest upgrade that is preventing changing back and forth from landscape to portrait settings? ~ Bob, Arvada
Tech+ I’m not sure why you’re trying to switch to portrait mode on a laptop because I find that really hard to use. But however you use your laptop, I was unable to duplicate this issue (any readers out there having the same issue?). Nothing appears to have changed with the update. So, let me start with simple things before linking to potential solutions for you.
Windows offers a shortcut to switch between portrait and landscape mode. This works on most versions of Windows, though apparently not for Bob’s. Press the Ctrl and Alt buttons along with a left or right arrow to flip the screen. Pressing the down arrow flips the screen upside down.
Going through the Windows settings route, you’ll do as Bob did and right-click anywhere on the Windows screen. In the drop-down menu, pick “Display settings” and you’ll land on a page to adjust your screen. Find the “Orientation” box and select landscape or portrait. Here are Microsoft’s official instructions: dpo.st/winscreen
Getting back to Bob’s question, the issue could actually be related to hardware. With a computer that’s nearing eight years old, some hardware sensors may just need updating.
Go to the Windows device manager (type “device manager” in the Windows search bar) and find the display adapters. Right click the adapter and a drop-down menu offers the option to “Update Driver Software.”
You also may need to uninstall the driver and then let Windows reinstall the newest version.
Some manufacturers also offer a way to scan your computer in case something needs an update. Gateway, which was acquired by Acer in 2007, has an area on its site to search for software updates (i.e. drivers is another term for software). The website is at gateway.com/gw/en/US/content/drivers-downloads
Gateway also has a page listing its computers that are compatible with the new Windows 10 update, a.k.a. Creator Update. If you don’t see your machine listed, you should try contacting the company to see if that’s coming (it probably isn’t).
If you can’t find a fix, you have 10 days to one month to revert back to Windows 7. Microsoft posts instructions to go back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 here: support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4027936/windows-go-back-to-windows-7-or-windows-81
Everything’s better online! Subscribe to the weekly Tech+ newsletter to get this week’s question and more delivered to your inbox. Sign up, see past Tech+ answers or ask your own tech question at dpo.st/mailbag. If you’re emailing your question, please add “Mailbag” to the subject line.