Solved! Laptop holding down keys when I'm not touching keyboard

MJ8121

Commendable
Apr 30, 2016
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Hello. A few hours ago, my laptop started doing a strange thing. I was using Chrome and opened a new tab. When I went to type, it acted like I was holding down certain keys (e, i, and f, a, etc.). I restarted the computer and the problem kept up. I was able to login using the on-screen keyboard. Now, it was as if I was always holding the f key. I used the on-screen keyboard to go into device manager and uninstall the keyboard driver. It prompted me to restart, so I did. Restarting is difficult, because logging in is sometimes impossible with random keys being 'held down' in the password field, so I cannot type in my password (with the physical keyboard or the on-screen keyboard).

When I turn the computer on, it automatically starts typing, but it can also be triggered by typing - both on the physical and on-screen keyboards.

For example, I just typed in a 'd' (on the on-screen keyboard) and the computer wrote in a huge string of c's. Now, I pressed the g key (on the physical keyboard) and the computer entered repeated strings of x's, g's, and s's.

Also, sometimes the keyboard will be totally unresponsive. Sometimes, I cannot click anything from the touch pad either.

I am not sure whether this is a hardware, software, malware, or other issue. I don't think it's hardware, since the on-screen keyboard triggers the 'held down key' effect too, but I cannot be sure. If anyone could help me troubleshoot that, I would very much appreciate it.

The laptop is a Dell Inspiron 13 (7352), running Windows 10.
 
It could be the keyboard, or it could be a virus, malware, bad program, etc.

First start up the computer in "Safe Mode". This will give you a better idea if it is hardware or software. If software, virus, etc., it will usually not happen in "Safe Mode".

Try scanning the device for both malware and viruses. Should that turn up nothing, then try using "System Restore" to restore the laptop to the most recent restore point prior to the problem starting.

Should this again not resolve the problem then I would try the following...

1. Uninstall the keyboard driver.
2. Reboot the computer (without reinstalling the driver).
3. When it restarts, it should reinstall the driver on its own.

If this doesn't work, you may wish to try connecting/reconnecting an external keyboard and see if it works fine. If it does, then it could be the keys themselves that are the issue.

Additionally, if your device uses one, you may want to try updating the Synaptics Driver if the above doesn't help.

You may also want to check the device for malware, viruses, etc., which can interfere with normal operation.
 
It could be the keyboard, or it could be a virus, malware, bad program, etc.

First start up the computer in "Safe Mode". This will give you a better idea if it is hardware or software. If software, virus, etc., it will usually not happen in "Safe Mode".

Try scanning the device for both malware and viruses. Should that turn up nothing, then try using "System Restore" to restore the laptop to the most recent restore point prior to the problem starting.

Should this again not resolve the problem then I would try the following...

1. Uninstall the keyboard driver.
2. Reboot the computer (without reinstalling the driver).
3. When it restarts, it should reinstall the driver on its own.

If this doesn't work, you may wish to try connecting/reconnecting an external keyboard and see if it works fine. If it does, then it could be the keys themselves that are the issue.

Additionally, if your device uses one, you may want to try updating the Synaptics Driver if the above doesn't help.

You may also want to check the device for malware, viruses, etc., which can interfere with normal operation.
 

MJ8121

Commendable
Apr 30, 2016
13
0
1,570
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Hello. Thanks for the quick reply. I am currently stuck on the Windows login screen and it is continually typing letters into the password box, so I cannot get back in at the moment, but just a few updates for now:

1. It persists in safe mode.

2. I connected an external keyboard and the problems persists. This does not mean much, though, because I have not disabled the built-in keyboard. I uninstalled the built-in keyboard in the device manager, but I guess the driver is reinstalled during the restart process, because it is back functioning upon restarting (at the login screen).

3. I did not find any malware (using the free version of Malwarebytes).

Thank you again, and I will update again when I've made more progress.
 
Well, when you can turn it off completely, then try attaching the external keyboard and turn it back on. Sometimes, with some laptops, just plugging it in while it is on won't work correctly.

Good, no malware, but you still need to check for viruses.
 

MJ8121

Commendable
Apr 30, 2016
13
0
1,570
1
First, thank you, webworkings, for all of the suggestions! I still haven't resolved this issue, but here is another update:

Over the last few days, the keyboard has improved; but, I have no idea why that has happened.
It is n longer typing random strings of letters, and most keys are functioning normally now. The keys that aren't working are: 9, O, L, ., and the left control key.

I ran a virus scan using Windows Defender and no viruses were detected.

I also attempted to do a system restore, but was not successful at that. I got a message that the procedure was not successful and that I could try another restore point, but I did not have any other restore points from before the problem started.

My other idea was to run the Dell Diagnostics procedure to see if it detected any hardware problems, but it looks like the keyboard is not one of the parts that that software tests.

So, I'm leaning toward this being a hardware issue since most of the defective keys are in one area of the keyboard, but I'm not planning any fixes at the moment. This is an ultrabook and the whole palm rest assembly would need to be replaced. I don't think Dell even includes this replacement in its service manual. So, for now, I'm just going to wait a bit and see if it continues to improve on its own.
 
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