Unless the keys are sticking, the fault probably lies with a bug. The good news is that it is possible to overcome this problem and get back to normal typing
Q I have a Microsoft keyboard (the Ergonomic 4000 model) that works well most of the time. Occasionally, though, it seems to get itself into something of a strop and behaves in a weird fashion.
It is hard to explain but, while some keys continue working as they should others don’t: tapping D, for example, seems to make all my program windows disappear; while pressing E opens Windows Explorer.
When this happens, I end up having to restart the PC and then everything is fine again – for a while. I use Windows 7. Any ideas?
A The behaviour you describe is synonymous with holding down the Windows key while tapping the mentioned buttons to execute intentional shortcuts (pressing the Windows key and E will minimise all program windows, for example). So, in effect, your computer thinks the Windows key is stuck down.
Assuming it isn’t – check that the Windows key travels smoothly up and down and, if there is any stickiness, gently prise off the keytop and clean out any gunge you may find – then we reckon you are the victim of a bug that we have encountered a few times over the years.
Unfortunately, it is a bug that we have so far been unable to nail down to a definite cause. However, it does seem in some way related to the use of remote-access tools (such as Windows 7’s Remote Desktop Connection feature) and virtualisation programs, such as Microsoft Virtual PC.
Specifically, it seems that a synchronisation error leaves the release of the Windows key ‘stuck’ in the Remote Desktop or virtual PC window: when you then return to the local Desktop, Windows ‘sees’ the Windows key as being still held down.
If this resonates with the tools you are using then we have found a few workarounds. In many cases, simply returning to remote-access or virtualisation program to press and release the Windows key fixes the issue; as does closing said program.
Alternatively, try using the Windows key and L keyboard shortcut to lock Windows and then resume by typing in your password – we have found this works too.
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