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dead keys on laptop keyboard

(16 posts)
  • Started 5 years ago by jaygor
  • Latest reply from LH
  • Topic Viewed 8961 times

jaygor
Posts: 9

Recently I was typing away using Notepad and noticed that some keys were dead. That is if I pressed them the cursor showed no response and the character would not be typed on the screen. On further investiggation I found the following keys are dead r, u, y, 2, 4, 0 and * .

I have checked for viruses and malware and the laptop appears to be clean. There is no sign of any damage or knocks to the laptop. The laptop has its own desk space. I have typed the keys in other software in MS Office and also tried logging in my yahoo eamil account. The keys are dead. However I can copy and paste the letters and numbers from other texts and documents and that seems to work. I regularly clean the registry and rolled back to few days ago when I knew these keys were definitely working and rebooted. But the keys are still dead. Short of opening the the laptop is there anything esle I can do to. I strongly suspect this is asoftware problem since I cannot see how the laptop could have been physically damaged.

Is there a way I can check how the laptop maps the keyboard which sounds to me like a good start and hopefully be able to correctly remap the dead keys.

I would be greatful for any comments and suggestions.

By the way I am typing from my pc at work.

The laptop is a 4 year old Sony Vaio 512Mb RAM, 80Gb HD WinXP Pro it is generally used for browsing and MS Office, no games.

Posted 5 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Hi jaygor. I would first try.
Shutdown the machine. Unplug everything from the machine. Remove the battery. Leave for 1 hour.
Put battery back in, and reboot.

Note. Any USB devices should be safely removed before you shutdown.

Posted 5 years ago
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jaygor
Posts: 9

Hi LH

Apologies for a late reply I am currently away from my laptop for few days but I will try the shutdown and battery disconnection and post back the results. I am not sure what is the effect of this excercise because my laptop is situated permanently on its desk I have it powered through the mains supply.

Last Saturday morning I did go into Control Panel->Device Manager->and uninstall the keyboard driver and rebooted in the hope that WinXp would reinstall the driver. But that did not work either. The keys are still dead. I did not have much time to follow this through by reporting here.

Thanks again and I will try out your suggestion.

jaygor

Posted 5 years ago
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jaygor
Posts: 9

Dear LH

I wrote ''I did not have much time to follow this through by reporting here.'' sorry I reallised what I said I meant write I did not have much time but I will report back here later.

Last Sunday I tried your suggestion of safely removing one USB external hardrive, and then shutdown. I removed the battery and also unplugged the mains power supply.

About two hours later I put the battery back in, plugged in the mains supply and rebooted. I have a desktop icon linked to a notepad text where I can copy the keyboard characters that do not work. I tried to type the characters but the keys are atill dead. So I then opened my browser and logged into my yahoo email account. I copied and pasted the characters from notepad text, including those for the password. This method worked but it was not a solution for me to compose an email.

I do not understand this. If only one key was faulty then I would suspect a physical fault and open the laptop and check the keyboard wiring. But I have six keys at fault presumably randomly and especially '*' character, because the number 8 keystroke associated with the astrix works. There is no physical damage to the laptop becasue it is not moved away from its place.

jaygor

Posted 5 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

I suspect it is a hardware problem. Please can you post the Make and Model of the laptop.

Also, try plugging in a USB keyboard. See if the problem occurs with that.

Posted 5 years ago
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jaygor
Posts: 9

Its A Sony Vaio VGN-FS115S 512Mb RAM 80gig HD Intel Pentitium M Processor 740 1.33MHz

I have not been able to borrow a USB keyboard so far but I am working on it. Its not the sort of thing I would keep as a spare. But I have a couple of possible leads. This calls for a little bribery with a box of chocolates or a pint or an outright theft over the weekend.

Posted 5 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Bribery works wonders :) OK. I'll try and get hold of a construction manual for the machine.
You mentioned before about opening up the laptop. You OK with that ?
If it's anything like my 2 (Dell), it's just a matter of removing the piece of plastic between the keyboard and screen, remove 1 screw that's holding the keyboard in place, carefully lift up the keyboard, and reseat the ribbon cable to the motherboard. A bit fiddly, but could fix it.
Might not even need to lift the keyboard.

Posted 5 years ago
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jaygor
Posts: 9

Hi LH

Thanks for the support. I think I am ok opening up a laptop even if I have never done it before. I would appreiciate a bit of guidance.

Before I start opening. I would like to try an external keyboard to be sure.

One more question if it was software problem. Is this a driver problem within WinXP or the manufacturer Sony Vaio driver problem?
I have a set Sony recovery and applications discs. I created them when I received the laptop. But I must admit I don't know how to use them. Sorry for the late addmission to this fact but I did not think.

Posted 5 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

I would try the USB keyboard first. No point in speculating :)

Edit. I have found the disassembly instructions.

Posted 5 years ago
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jaygor
Posts: 9

hello LH

I managed to borrow a USB keyboard. I plugged it into the laptop. I am typing this message using it.
So I guess there must be something physically wrong with the laptop keyboard. I would be greatful for the instructions of how to open the laptop and lift the keyboard.
Thanks

Posted 5 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Try this,
http://home.comcast.net/~nw_systems/vgnFS.pdf

Posted 5 years ago
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jaygor
Posts: 9

Hi LH

That's fantastic instructions for starters. Looks like I need to take out the battery as a precaution and then disassemble the keyboard alone. Looks easy enough from the pictures.
What next? Am I looking for any loose connections?
No doubt I will find four to five years worth of dust underneath.
It just occurs to me what about static charge? Do I need to earth myself?

I will most probably open the keyboard on the laptop up in the next few days. I need to order a spare USB keyboard as a precaution.

Posted 5 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

OK. Take out the keyboard completely, and give it a good blow through with an air duster. Leave it for ½ an hour. Then refit it. The ribbon cable can be a bit fiddly, but take it slow and carefully and you will get there.
If you need to clean the whole interior of the machine, you will need to dismantle it further.

It is recommended to use a wrist earth strap.

Posted 5 years ago
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jaygor
Posts: 9

Sorry LH I have not had much of a chance to look underneath the keyboard for the last couple of weeks, I am hoping to do this sometime this week.
Apologies again.

I can probably knock up an earth wrist strap from some wiring but I don't know where to suitably earth it in the home. I have wood furniture and floor. Please don't suggest the mains, you are too late, that's already been suggested in the pub by my friends and ... aw never mind !!! seriously I must get around to opening up the keyboard this week.

Many thanks for all your advice and patience. It very much appreciated.

jaygor

Posted 5 years ago
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jaygor
Posts: 9

Hello LH

I am sorry to say that I am unable to disaasemble the keyboard. I followed the instructions and they were clear. I got as far as Step 11 where the four screws at the top of the keyboard were removed. Then I got stuck.
I was unable to remove the keyboard as in Step 12 because on the left side edge of the laptop there is an antitheft security cable lock. I do not have the key. Some months ago I secured it with an antitheft cable to my desk at work but the key to unlock got lost. We had to cut the cable with cutters. There is no way I can remove the lock without doing some considerable damage to the laptop. Sorry about this. It was quite exciting disassembling the laptop. The bits I had taken off hardly had an dust underneath at all. It was very clean.

My options are get another laptop and try and solve this one as a software problem (my initial suspicion) or disassmenble it even more and try to remove the security lock and then check keyboard hardware. Failing all this I can try and convert it to LINUX which I have been meaning to attempt for a very long time.

I do have a set of recovery disks created to reset the laptop back to orignal settings but I don't want to do that. If I can find out how to reinstall just the drivers for the keyboard that may help. The laptop works fine otherwise.

jaygor

Posted 5 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Oddly enough, I was having a problem with my "W" key not working last week. I gave a very quick blast of air (with the keyboard in place), and that cured it.

Posted 5 years ago
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