Laptop keeps typing "``````````" by itself

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Laptop keeps typing "``````````" by itself
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Flying Dutchman
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November 22, 2010 - 4:09 pm
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I'm not sure if this is a hardware problem, so since this machine runs Win XP I'm posting this here.
Here's the story.

A friend of mine has a Compaq Presario 2100 laptop with Win XP SP3.
Earlier today, it fell into "Power Save" mode (I think it's called that), while unattended. Usually, hitting a key or moving the mouse would wake it up, but today it refused, no reaction. So, my friend hit the power key to shut it down. After he got it running it keeps typing the character

I am human

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Chad Johnson
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November 22, 2010 - 4:31 pm
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This feels a lot like a keyboard hardware issue.

Two things you can try to confirm:
1) Plug a different keyboard into the machine. Does the problem persist?
2) plug that keyboard into a different machine. Does the problem follow the keyboard?

Are there any adapters / dongles between the keyboard and computer? Is this a physical keyboard or wireless?

--Zig

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Flying Dutchman
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November 22, 2010 - 4:49 pm
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Hi Ziggie,

This is the laptop's own, build in keyboard, so I'm not sure if any of the stuff in your last question apply.
I can't follow your second tip for ...obvious reasons, I think, unless you can show me how to do that.
As for the first one, I'd try it, but I'm not sure if I can reach a safe conclusion while the laptop's keyboard is "live" - do I make sense to you?

Cheers

I am human

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Jim Hillier
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November 22, 2010 - 5:54 pm
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Hey FD - Agree with Zig...sure sounds like a hardware (keyboard) issue.

You could try connecting a USB keyboard to the laptop: Connect a USB keyboard (while XP is running) and let Windows auto install the driver then uninstall the driver for the built-in keyboard. Now you will be using only the USB connected keyboard.....see if the problem then goes away.

It sounds to me as though that particular key is permanently active, either jammed or some little foreign object is sitting between the key striker and the pad, creating a permanent connection.

Cheers.....Jim

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Chad Johnson
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November 22, 2010 - 11:53 pm
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oh yeah, you did call it a laptop.

You took the key off right? Was there anything in the key? Do you feel resistance under the rubber key?

Laptop keyboards are pretty easy to replace. Depending on your laptop model, instructions are pretty easy to Google.

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Flying Dutchman
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November 23, 2010 - 5:37 am
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The last thing I noticed yesterday, was that the problem comes and goes (that's probably what made me think it got better with the Internet browsers). It's there when I boot/ reboot the machine. If I open Win Explorer and let it run for a while, I then can work in it as usual. Then something triggers the problem and it I'm stuck with it again.
I also noticed that when the problem is present, when I right-click in Win Explorer and select "Create New", the option "Folder" is already highlighted.

This happens even with the key top off. I used compressed air to clean any foreign object (though nth visible), but it didn't make any difference. So, Jim's right, looks like there's a permanent connection there.
How do I break it? Even if that would mean breaking the key, it's not a essential one - I can't remember using it ever and I do type/ edit text a lot.

I'll see about testing with a USB keyboard.

Thanks guys.

I am human

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David Hartsock
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November 23, 2010 - 6:54 am
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I agree it sounds like a hardware (i.e., keyboard) failure. Without getting too deep into how a keyboard works I will tell you that a keyboard works like a matrix. Imagine horizontal and vertical wires running under the keys. Pressing H and J may share a horizontal wire, but not a vertical wire. This sends a different "code" to the computer. This would be why it's often only one key that goes bad, but other times a whole row. There are also differing actuation methods that are prone to failure.

To mechanically disable the key would depend on the underlying method the keyboard uses for the matrix and the actuation method. It would probably involve a razor blade and/or soldering iron and would not be reversible.

You can try [url=http://sharpkeys.codeplex.com/:2fcqcyd7]sharpkeys[/url:2fcqcyd7], which should let you disable the key, but it will only work once Windows loads so that may be an issue.

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Flying Dutchman
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November 23, 2010 - 8:15 am
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@Dave
After reading your reply, I feld so incredibly stupid - why didn't I think of looking for software to disable that key?
Thanks Dave for leading me to the right direction - I got the easiest solution which on top is the cheapest one (free)!

I checked out your suggestion and then looked up similar programs. I finally went with KeyTweak for two reasons:
- latest version seems to be from 2009, and
- it doesn't require any .NET Framework to work (none was installed, so didn't want to go that path).

The little program works great. I disabled the faulty key in a few seconds. Everyting's working fine again.

[quote:2qo4rs6z]it will only work once Windows loads so that may be an issue.[/quote:2qo4rs6z]
Since the log on screen is part of Windows (i.e. Windows have already loaded) the key is already disabled, so no need for hitting ctrl+alt+del twice either. As for before that point, he would never enter BIOS by himself and I hope I'll never have to.

Thanks everyone.

P.S. I think it's best if someone moved this thread to the Hardware Section, thanks.

I am human

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David Hartsock
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November 23, 2010 - 8:59 am
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The great thing about a community, such as this, is everyone reads/responds from a slightly different perspective. While Jim, Chad, and I all felt it was the keyboard each of us came to that conclusion based on our own personal experiences. It's a pretty neat process to watch!

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