The Case of the Failing Focus (or How I Fixed the Calculator Button on My Keyboard)


Ahh, my good ol’ Microsoft Wireless Laser Keyboard 6000 v2.0. I settled upon this keyboard many years ago, and have used it both at work and at home ever since. One of the handiest features is the conveniently-placed calculator button. It’s a simple thing, really, and isn’t exclusive to this keyboard, by any means. Tap the calculator button, wait for the calculator app to launch, move your hand down to the number keys, and start calculating.

On Windows 7, the calculator key (or more appropriately, the software driving the key) was a bit hit and miss. On some computers, hitting the key would open a new calculator instance each time. By that I mean, instead of pulling into focus a calculator app that is already running, it would instead keep opening new calculator apps. On others, it would follow the preferred route and bring into focus the currently open calculator, or open the calculator application if it wasn’t already running.

Well, with Windows 10, things have made a turn for the worse. Hit the calculator key and the calculator will open, but it won’t quite be in focus. It’s selected, but if you start typing, nothing will happen. You have to select the entry area with your mouse, then start typing. Frustrating, to say the least. Additionally, the key will open a new instance of the calculator each time it’s pressed.

This just won’t do. So, how do we fix these issues? Keep reading for the answer…

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Installing Visual Basic/Studio 6 on Windows 10

Visual Studio 6 Logo

As I’ve worked my way through the various oddities of Windows 10, I’ve found that most applications work great. For the most part, anything that worked on Windows 7 works on Windows 10. Visual Basic 6 (VB6) has been one of the few exceptions, so far.

Why install Visual Basic 6? It’s a long-dead program, after all. Well, like many companies out there, mine has a few proprietary programs that were written, long ago, in VB6. The apps work great, so it just hasn’t made sense to spend the time and/or money it would take to upgrade them to VB.Net. Yet, we still need to be able to make minor changes to the programs now and then.

We could keep an old XP machine around just for VB6, or set up a virtual instance of XP, or go for either of those options with Windows 7 (VB6 installed on Win7, though not perfectly). Instead of going those routes, though, I decided to look into getting VB6 properly installed on Windows 10. These notes should work for the Pro and Enterprise editions of both Visual Basic 6 and Visual Studio 6.

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