Wednesday, July 6, 2016

ALT key(s) and control key(s) disabled, recurring problem on Windows XP Tech Support

ALT key(s) and control key(s) disabled, recurring problem on Windows XP

Found the following issue related to the below-referenced question, which issue is sometimes resolved by rebooting :

After much searching, have determined that at least one time the left ALT key seems to be disabled, while the right ALT key functions normally.  Regularly, though infrequently, ALT and/or CTRL keys become disabled, that is unable to CTRL-c, CTRL-v cut and paste,
ALT-* access in window menus, and even [occasionally] unable to ALT-TAB among open applications. 

Have seen that on some OS applications (perhaps MAC) menu shortcuts can be disabled and enabled on command and would not be surprised if this is the case here.  Is this a feature in XP as well? 

At the time of writing this message, menu shortcut keys (ALT-f-s for file save, ALT-TAB, etc.) do not activate menu options when using the left ALT key on a system running Windows XP.  This applies to all open applications, including MS Notepad, EXCEL, IE8,
as well as third party applications. 

Rebooting is a very inelegant solution, and a significant penalty, especially as several applications need to be reopened on restart.  Hence any advice would prov to be quite useful. 

This problem has occurred on both Windows 98 and Windows XP on two separate platforms, though 98 tends to fail with CTRL keys while XP fails more frequently (always?) with ALT key.  The keyboard is the common item in this case, a Dell QuietKey model SK1000-REW,
but after periodic cleaning, this keyboard still outperforms brand new keyboards, so we think we have ruled out hardware problems on the keyboard itself, especially as rebooting has always resolved the issue to date.  We thought this was due to memory errors
as the Windows 98 box regularly tests with errors present, but the Windows XP box RAM tests error-free. 

Best regards,


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