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Keyboard Freezes

ArkanArkan Registered User regular
My computer keeps doing this weird thing that forces me to restart it. Ordinarily it only happens once every few days and isn't so bad, but tonight it happened three times in the span of 30 minutes, pissing me off enough to finally ask the internet for help.

And for the record, no, this has nothing to do with my toilet, this has been happening on and off for at least 9 months. I've asked multiple people and every single one has given me a different answer. The answers vary from the computer simply getting old, the fact that it's a dell and they apparently have shorts in the power supplies, the RAM going bad, a sound driver issue... probably more.

I am on a dell laptop.

Here's what it's doing:

-Every now and then, the keyboard will 'freeze'. When I say freeze, what it does is it refuses to take any input and constantly repeats whatever key I hit last. It will always do this as I hit a key, never when I'm not touching the keyboard. This might seem hard to verify, but I've never come back from not hitting the keyboard, tried to do something, and have it not respond- it always happens as I'm doing something and there's always something visibly going on that's a sign of the repeating input- for instance in an FPS where the repeating key is "A" it forces me to constantly strafe left. ctrl-alt-del doesn't work.
-If I manage to exit the program, the repeated input stops, but the keyboard doesn't unfreeze.
-This usually happens when I have a game of some kind open; this has happened to me in everything to World of Warcraft, Team Fortress, every single source engine game (HL2, HL:source, etc), and even old games like Stronghold: Crusader. This doesn't mean the problem is exclusive to games; a few times it has happened while I'm only typing in a word processor with no programs visibly open on the computer otherwise.
-Restarting the computer fixes the problem and it usually doesn't recur for a while (a day or more). I say usually because on several occasions (including tonight) it constantly happens over and over. This may be related to what I'm doing at the time (tonight I was running an instance in WoW; it was fine before, did this 3 times during the instance, and stopped as soon as I left), or it could simply be sheer random chance.
-There appear to be no other symptoms besides the keyboard mucking up. All other input sources continue to work, the computer isn't inordinately hot, the video doesn't screw up or crash; at times when I'm doing something that only requires a mouse it will run perfectly fine for an hour or more while this is happening. Even the mouse-nub in the middle of the keyboard still works.
-It does not clear up over time. Only restarts fix it.
-There appears to be no relation between how often this happens and what I have running in the background. Sometimes I've had Firefox with 5+ tabs + an mp3 player + a game running and this won't happen for hours; other times I'm running only a game and close everything else on my computer and it'll happen. And sometimes it'll be the other way around. Tonight I had nothing open except WoW and was closing extraneous processes in the task manager and it was still happening.
-It comes and goes. This hadn't happened to me at all for a while and it suddenly started happening again a couple weeks ago.

Any ideas?

Big, honkin' pile of WoW characters
I think it's hard for someone not to rage at mario kart, while shouting "Fuck you Donkey Kong. Whose dick did you suck to get all those red shells?"
Arkan on

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    exoplasmexoplasm Gainfully Employed Near Blizzard HQRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Try using an external keyboard and see if it still happens?

    exoplasm on
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    SC2 NA: exoplasm.519 | PA SC2 Mumble Server | My Website | My Stream
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    ArkanArkan Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Okay, well, I actually talked to dell and they thought it was the keyboard too, so they sent me a new one to replace it.

    It's still happening. Whatever the problem is, it's not actually being caused by the keyboard- it's just the main symptom.

    Arkan on
    Big, honkin' pile of WoW characters
    I think it's hard for someone not to rage at mario kart, while shouting "Fuck you Donkey Kong. Whose dick did you suck to get all those red shells?"
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    ButtersButters A glass of some milks Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Shorts in the membrane of a keyboard can cause all sorts of problems so don't be so quick to judge what it can and cannot be if you haven't installed the replacement keyboard yet.

    Butters on
    PSN: idontworkhere582 | CFN: idontworkhere | Steam: lordbutters | Amazon Wishlist
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    ButtcleftButtcleft Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Theres also been a big influx of complaints about dell's recent laptop keyboards, so it could very well be the keyboard. Don't rule it out until you toss the replacement in

    Buttcleft on
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    ArkanArkan Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I did. And the old keyboard wasn't recent, it was at least 2 years old.

    Arkan on
    Big, honkin' pile of WoW characters
    I think it's hard for someone not to rage at mario kart, while shouting "Fuck you Donkey Kong. Whose dick did you suck to get all those red shells?"
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    ArkanArkan Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    It should be noted that while I was replacing the keyboard, I noticed that the mouse-nub thing in the middle of the keyboard and the volume controls all go through the same cable and are part of the same component. Both the volume and the mouse-nub continue to work while this crash is going on, so I doubt it's actually a problem with the physical piece of hardware.

    Arkan on
    Big, honkin' pile of WoW characters
    I think it's hard for someone not to rage at mario kart, while shouting "Fuck you Donkey Kong. Whose dick did you suck to get all those red shells?"
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    UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Forgive me if I've misread but my recommendation is to try a different keyboard, an actual keyboard, as inconvenient as that may be. One in a PS2 port, USB port, wired or wireless.

    If it continues on different PS2/USB ports then it is apparently a software issue and you should back everything up and wipe/redo your computer. Actually before you get that far, do spyware and virus scans in case it is some stupid malware.

    UncleSporky on
    Switch Friend Code: SW - 5443 - 2358 - 9118 || 3DS Friend Code: 0989 - 1731 - 9504 || NNID: unclesporky
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    ArkanArkan Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Yeah but if it's a hardware problem I want to know what's causing it and how to fix it, and using an external keyboard won't help if it works with the error going on. It'll let me work around it, but the last thing I want is to forget about it and then it turns out the problem was that my RAM is melting and then my computer explodes.


    Or something.

    I'll see next time it happens, anyway.

    Arkan on
    Big, honkin' pile of WoW characters
    I think it's hard for someone not to rage at mario kart, while shouting "Fuck you Donkey Kong. Whose dick did you suck to get all those red shells?"
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    flammiebcflammiebc Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Arkan wrote: »
    Yeah but if it's a hardware problem I want to know what's causing it and how to fix it, and using an external keyboard won't help if it works with the error going on. It'll let me work around it, but the last thing I want is to forget about it and then it turns out the problem was that my RAM is melting and then my computer explodes.


    Or something.

    I'll see next time it happens, anyway.

    UncleSporky's external keyboard recommendation has merit; in this case, if you test with an external keyboard and it shows no symptoms, the laptop could have a messed up internal ps2/usb port or hub (or whatever the dell laptop keyboard plugs into; sadly, I'm not familiar with their internal workings). Given the ease of testing that as opposed to nuking the whole OS install...I'd probably try that first :)

    flammiebc on
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    UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I didn't mean to use it as a workaround/permanent solution. This is to help determine if it is hardware or software. Personally I would guess it is software, either malware on the computer or some strange bug in the drivers.

    You mentioned melting RAM and I highly doubt you were serious, but a lot of hardware components you can probably rule out. I doubt it is bad RAM, a bad processor, a bad power supply etc. These things manifest their problems in more obvious ways.

    UncleSporky on
    Switch Friend Code: SW - 5443 - 2358 - 9118 || 3DS Friend Code: 0989 - 1731 - 9504 || NNID: unclesporky
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    ArkanArkan Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    flammiebc wrote: »
    Arkan wrote: »
    Yeah but if it's a hardware problem I want to know what's causing it and how to fix it, and using an external keyboard won't help if it works with the error going on. It'll let me work around it, but the last thing I want is to forget about it and then it turns out the problem was that my RAM is melting and then my computer explodes.


    Or something.

    I'll see next time it happens, anyway.
    \ (or whatever the dell laptop keyboard plugs into; sadly, I'm not familiar with their internal workings)

    Well I just opened it a couple days ago. It has a special plug type I'm not familiar with and plugs directly into one of the boards inside the system.

    In any case, if it was the keyboard, the other things that follow the same plug into the system would have also stopped working, wouldn't they?

    Arkan on
    Big, honkin' pile of WoW characters
    I think it's hard for someone not to rage at mario kart, while shouting "Fuck you Donkey Kong. Whose dick did you suck to get all those red shells?"
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    ArkanArkan Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Okay, well, the error happened and I tried the USB keyboard. The USB keyboard works; in fact, the error is occuring right now and the laptop's built-in keyboard is inoperative.

    Since I have this bug going on now, are there any diagnostics I could run with the system live to determine a problem?

    Arkan on
    Big, honkin' pile of WoW characters
    I think it's hard for someone not to rage at mario kart, while shouting "Fuck you Donkey Kong. Whose dick did you suck to get all those red shells?"
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    exoplasmexoplasm Gainfully Employed Near Blizzard HQRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    You probably need a new motherboard if this is happening with only the laptop keyboard and even after it has been replaced.

    If you send in your whole laptop (DON'T send in the hard drive- take it out and hold on to it) they'll either replace the motherboard or the whole laptop. Either way they will fix it for good.

    exoplasm on
    1029386-1.png
    SC2 NA: exoplasm.519 | PA SC2 Mumble Server | My Website | My Stream
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    autono-wally, erotibot300autono-wally, erotibot300 love machine Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    seriously, I half expected this thead to be filled with "ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss"

    autono-wally, erotibot300 on
    kFJhXwE.jpgkFJhXwE.jpg
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    ArkanArkan Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Well if it's the motherboard I can't really do anything yet, I take several online courses and don't really have a backup computer available.

    Arkan on
    Big, honkin' pile of WoW characters
    I think it's hard for someone not to rage at mario kart, while shouting "Fuck you Donkey Kong. Whose dick did you suck to get all those red shells?"
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