I must admit to being a sucker for technology that is going cheap ($10 or less).

I recently bought two compact keyboards (different types) and a 7 button laser mouse (1600dpi).

The compact keyboard is the regular querty one without the number pad to the right and most of the function keys (not the F1~F12) in different locations. They have 89 keys rather than the usual 102 (?)

My wife was having problems with them, and so did I until I noticed some very small dark blue characters on the keys to the right hand side of the QWERTY layout. Dark blue on black and dark blue on dark grey don't work! (probably explains why they were so cheap?).

On closer examination I see that this is the numeric keypad sharing the QWERTY one with a Fn key on the bottom far left (where Ctrl usually is) to activate them.

Now, all our machines were normally used with a regular keyboard, so NumLock = "on" was set in the BIOS

It would have been better if they had used moss green or lemon yellow. The blue is barely visible in day and even worse in artificial light.

The 7 button laser mouse is a different story. It is a USB connection. I tried it on one of my wife's computers and she said it didn't work. A few days later I decided to try it myself, with a view to sending it back. Windows detected the new hardware and I gave it permission to go on the internet to find software if it needed to.

Now, my wife's machine is not normally connected to the internet, as\it doesn't have a network port (RJ45) and I haven't managed to get the wireless adapter to "see" the hub yet. It boots Windows 2000 SP4, which obviously does not natively support the technology.

The machine I tried boots Windows XP Pro SP3, is connected to the internet via an RJ45 cable, and took about 15 minutes loading all sorts of crap, before the mouse would work. It needed the internet connection.

Funny thing is it works straight off with Vista SP2 and Windows 7; it doesn't even go through the install.

I am posting this as I think it may be of interest to those who remotely support other people's computers, and may get a cry for help. The answers are not that obvious unless you have seen the problems first hand.

Most importantly, no malware is involved.