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I've inherited an old PC from my girlfriend's dad and when setting up the printer I got a bit of a surprise:

Toaster keyboard

Two questions spring to mind here:

  1. Why does Windows think my wireless keyboard is a toaster?
  2. Why does Windows even have an icon for a toaster in the devices menu?
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146  
Can you please add the model name of the keyboard? –  A.L Aug 5 at 14:43
32  
@A.L google suggests that an there may be several keyboard-toaster models –  Kevin L Aug 5 at 19:21

3 Answers 3

up vote 1242 down vote accepted

Reason 1

Because Microsoft made a toaster driver sample. In the sample there is the line <DeviceIconFile>Toaster.ico</DeviceIconFile> and there is a chance that your keyboard manufacturer took that sample.

Reason 2

Look at the back of the keyboard for some place to insert a slice of bread…

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159  
Now that you mention it there is a bread slot! So I'm guessing they've just copy-pasted the XML and forgot to change the icon? Still pretty bizarre. –  ydaetskcoR Aug 5 at 10:21
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@ydaetskcoR As you can see from the icon, the toaster brand is indeed Fabrikam (i.e. a fictional company). –  and31415 Aug 5 at 11:20
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The keyboard driver developer was probably using this toaster example as a template and forgot to replace the icon. –  Ido.Co Aug 5 at 13:55
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yd: Not XML, but the .INF file. (We wish they'd go to XML for INF files...) There was a case where a company got a copy of PCI System Architecture by Mindshare, which is an essential book if you're building PCI devices, and copied the manufacturer ID and product ID from the examples in the book, for their own PCI device. Makes you want to slap someone. –  Jamie Hanrahan Aug 5 at 20:54
40  
I cannot think of a single good reason why you would want to go from the simple, readable, trivially-parsable INF format to the ugly, complicated, behemoth that is XML. As a universal exchange format, XML might have its merits. But for a domain-specific configuration file, ugh. –  Cody Gray Aug 7 at 5:18

As for "why specifically a toaster", "Toaster" is an old catch-all name for "any arbitrary device." For example, you can find "SCSI toaster" alongside "SCSI disk", "SCSI tape", and even "SCSI scanner" (yes, scanners used to be on SCSI) in some very old Microsoft slides depicting the storage stack.

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40  
Do you have a reference for this? –  slhck Aug 8 at 21:20
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I might still have the handout from the '92 NT DDC. (If I do, it is not physically nearby ATM.) And I may be misremembering the actual point of origin. But if you're that skeptical, I have to say that I have nothing that would be considered proof (as opposed to possible image manipulation). –  Jamie Hanrahan Aug 8 at 21:27
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Are you sure you're not thinking of the Bus Toaster? "New Media's Bus Toaster is a high performance SCSI adapter that lets you connect most CD-ROMs, hard drives, scanners, and more. The Bus Toaster supports up to 7 logical devices and data transfers of over 10 megabytes per second." :) –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 9 at 17:43
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Here are the oldest toaster related slides I was able to find (February 28, 2000): Toaster Sample Package And here's a MSDN article which talks about a toaster device: Configuration of Non-Plug and Play Serial Device Connected to an RS-232 Port –  and31415 Aug 11 at 15:25
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I've also seen somewhat similar usage of the word 'toaster.' See the 'toaster' entry here: jargon-file.org/archive/jargon-2.9.12.dos.txt or catb.org/jargon/html/T/toaster.html –  pcnThird Aug 13 at 1:21

Windows recognizes device type by what the device says it is which in the majority of cases can be overwritten...

If you have plugged in an actual thumb drive (confirmed by observation) it could be because there is malware/virus on that device.

This is a technique used by impostor software to for example show up as a keyboard so windows will trust it automatically yet act as a key-logger...

Never had experience with a 'smart' toaster so it depends, did windows trust it (install and allow its usage) without any consent?

Note: this scenario is unlikely, but note it ;)

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9  
We just don't think this has anything to do with the question. The question isn't about a thumb drive, it is about a keyboard. Do you think that someone hacked into his wireless keyboard and reprogrammed its device type to "toaster"? Why would they do this for a keyboard? (Also, there has only been one downvote.) –  Cody Gray Aug 16 at 10:48
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I downvoted because the answer is wrong. Kenneth L's answer is clerly the correct one –  Josh Aug 16 at 17:36
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I did say it was unlikely. –  BAR Aug 17 at 4:07
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If they've written a virus that pretends to be a keyboard you'd think they would go to the effort of putting in a keyboard icon, instead of using the default 'toaster' icon in order to blend in better. –  Robotnik Aug 19 at 1:50
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I've +1'ed it to balance the downvote. You were correct in that its a theory, you did state unlikely and I agree but its a valid theory and worth noting despite its likeliness. –  ccame Sep 2 at 12:31

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