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Ask HTG: Legacy Keyboard Support, Disabling URL Warnings, and Linux Partitions in Windows

It’s that Ask HTG time of week again where we dip into our reader mailbag and answer your pressing tech questions. This week we’re looking at BIOS support for USB keyboards, disabling URL warnings in Office, and accessing Linux partitions in Windows.

BIOS USB Legacy Support for External USB Keyboards

Dear How-To Geek,

Recently a friend of mine was using my laptop and spilled some water over it, but luckily, only the keyboard got damaged.Instead of replacing it, I am thinking about getting an external keyboard connected with USB, but I am not sure if it will work in the BIOS.

Thanks,
Keyboardless in California

Dear Keyboardless,

That’s an unfortunate predicament to be in. We’d suggest, before committing to only using an external keyboard, doing a quick search for a replacement keyboard first. We just did a quick search for replacement keyboards for the laptops around our office and the cost ranged from $19 to $38 for the various models. Not a bad deal to regain full functionality.

All that said you shouldn’t have any problems with plugging in a USB keyboard. The particular setting that matters in this instance is known as “USB Legacy Support” which allows the BIOS to access USB keyboards early in the boot process. Most laptops will have USB legacy support enabled simply because it makes trouble shooting a laptop so much easier if you can plug in peripherals on the off chance that the built-in input devices are the source of the problem.

If your laptop does not have USB legacy support you may be stuck shelling out for a┬áreplacement. Don’t worry though, replacing most laptop keyboards ia as simple as unscrewing a screw or two, popping the keyboard up, and unplugging a ribbon cable.

Disabling URL Warning Messages in Microsoft Office

Dear How-To Geek,

How can I disable hyperlink warning messages in Microsoft Office products? I understand the security rationale. However, these messages really reduce the utility of linking or embedding files I have created. This is particularly true now that I am getting up to speed with OneNote 2010. Can you help?

Messages are usually something like the following:

Word 2003
Opening “path\filename”

Hyperlinks can be harmful to your computer and data. To protect your computer, click only those hyperlinks from trusted sources. Do you want to continue?

OneNote 2010
Microsoft Office has identified a potential security concern.
This location may be unsafe.
path\filename (note that there are NO quotation marks)

Hyperlinks can be harmful to your computer and data. To protect your computer, click only those hyperlinks from trusted sources. Do you want to continue?

I’m using Windows 7 Professional (x64) Service Pack 1 (build 7601), Office 2003 Professional, OneNote 2010 and Internet Explorer 9.

Thank you for your help!

Sincerely,
Hyperlinking in Houston

Dear Hyperlinking,

We can definitely understand your frustration. Yes the warnings are necessary given how often Office documents are used to load nefarious tools and exploits but if you’re a power user it gets real old real fast. Fortunately Microsoft is aware of this and you can find an article on removing the warning in their Knowledge Base here.

Reading Linux Partitions from Linux

Dear How-To Geek,

I’ve recently started dabbling with a dual boot system running Windows 7 and Ubuntu. So many times I find myself back in Windows and wishing I had access to some files I left behind in Linux. Is there a simple way to mount my Linux partition while in Windows in order to do some basic file browsing?

Sincerely,
Dual Booting in Dade

Dear Dual Booting,

You wouldn’t be the first person interested in snagging files off the Linux partition while booted into windows. All the better for you, that means someone else already did the hard work. Check out our guide to using Ext2Explore to access your Linux partition.


Have a pressing tech question? Email us at ask@howtogeek.com and you just might see your question in a future Ask How-To Geek post.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/5/11

Comments (3)

  1. Bqck

    Nice article, one bug. Reading Linux Partitions from Linux ?

  2. GuiltySpark

    @ Jason F,

    One thing you should’ve mentioned about replacing the laptop keyboard is that if you flip the black comblike bezzle off, you are screwed and will have to send it off to get a new MOBO fitted as the bezzles are pressure mounted.

  3. Jason B.

    It is also worth noting that if you are *constantly* transferring files back and forth between Linux and Windows partitions, not only does Linux have NTFS drivers available (standard in most distros), but there are also ext2/ext3 drivers available for Windows that let you mount a Linux filesystem as a normal drive letter (ext2fsd.com and fs-driver.org are two- there are probably more).

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