Fun (or not so fun) Chrome … Issue

Wanna lose 5 to 20 minutes of your day depending on how well you know your computer? Visit this webpage in Chrome 51 (the current version as of 6/23) on an Windows 8.1 (or maybe Windows 10) machine. Might require NVidia drivers, not sure. Tell me what happens.

see below for spoilers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What happens for me is my entire desktop rotates into portrait mode.

Normally on a desktop computer this is something that only happens by going into an advanced control panel. I’m guessing because Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 run on tablets this is now something you might want to do on a tablet. Certain tablet only apps, especially games, might require a certain orientation.

Unfortunately, at least for me, on a normal desktop I don’t want that at all! The mouse/touchpad controls no longer match (well they would if you could actually rotate your monitor separate from the touchpad but I’m on a laptop)

It gets worse though. If you manage to dig out the control panel, find the advanced settings and click “landscape” the moment you make chrome the front app it goes back to “portrait” mode. Even if you close the page Chrome’s process (or something) is now marked as “in portrait mode”.

As far as I can tell it the only way to fix it is to first visit this page which will tell Chrome itself to go landscape. Interestingly it doesn’t actually make the desktop go back to landscape. At least on my computer nothing happens. But then if I go back to the control panel and pick landscape then at least going back to Chrome won’t make it go portrait again.

It’s not really clear what should happen. My first thought is it might be okay to go portrait but it should maybe switch back if Chrome is not the front app? Similarly should each tab keep its own orientation? If you were on a tablet most people are generally comfortable when an app changes the orientation but web pages are a little different.

I don’t think webpages should banned from orientation. I’ve written webpages for phones and tablets that really need to be able to set the orientation. But what should happen? Is it desktop only this is an issue? Maybe the browser should un-rotate (or go to the default orientation) when the page is not fullscreen and/or not the front app.

Even more complications, I ran into this issue using the devtools mobile emulator. What I hoped would happen is the emulator would change dimensions. Instead my entire desktop rotated. So that’s arguably yet another mode. When in devtools and in emulator mode just change the dimensions don’t rotate anything?

Anyway, hoping someone figures it all out. Bug Filed…

  • On most computers that I’ve used (it might be just Intel GPUs that have this shortcut, I’m not sure), ctrl+alt+arrow will rotate the screen. If it’s not in the orientation that you would expect, then ctrl+alt+up should put it back to normal. I’m not sure how this will work with whatever Chrome is doing.