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Windows 7: Mystery number-key fault that won't reveal it's cause

22 Nov 2015   #1
Plado

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 
Mystery number-key fault that won't reveal it's cause

I'm new here so Hi to everyone from Sunny Devon I hope to find a bit of help here so enrolled to give readers my puzzle. I've been computing since Commodore 64 in 1983 and before that Sinclair would you believe. Even done Email in DOS back in the days of Demon Internet. So what's my trouble?

I have a really strange fault on a new (under warranty) Acer Travel Mate laptop running Windows 7 Pro 64bit
This weird keyboard fault probably has nothing to do with the keys. I had best explain as this isn't easy to clearly describe. Acer themselves haven't cured it. They tried but were way off target.

The number pad on the right side started to fail to show number 4 and 9 in any input but all other 14 keys worked fine. This messes up ascii codes when I want to type say Alt+148 to get symbol etc. Well I suspected the keys might be sticking except when I got the 4 to start printing again by fiddling around with all kinds of hoped for cures it began to print after pressing the 4 about 50 times quickly - the moment it began printing the 4 so also the 9 suddenly enabled itself.

I tried to repeat this after the next boot up and it didn't work.
What I did today to cure it was I printed a whole two lines of 8s by holding down the 8 key and getting lots of 888888888888888888 then I put the cursor somewhere in the middle of the 8s and press and held the 4 and it started printing like this 88888888444444444488888888 So the 4 had returned - I checked and pressed it once and it typed a single 4 ok - then I hopped over to try the 9 and that was printing normally without any fault and did repeats when holding too.

I had before found that switching the NumLock on and off a few times didn't do anything to fix it. So I phoned Acer who asked me if the the number re-starts after multiple presses and I said yes thinking he was on to something here so I said - "so what is the cure?" He said that the laptop may need the BIOS upgrading and I found that it was 1.14 or thereabouts I think and he gave me links to make 3 firmware upgrades consecutively on the BIOS to bring it up to 1.27 which is the latest BIOS for this machine. Needless to say I did what he said but it didn't change anything. So now I am back to thinking it may be an idea to ask on good forum if anyone has found this happen before?

Whenever I boot up the machine the 4 and the 9 don't work but all other numeric pad keys work. Also when switching off the Num Lock the 9 key also fails to work as a PgUp command and the 4 fails to work as a left scroll cursor key. Once I get the nos 4 & 9 going the two scroll and page functions return.

Surely this can't be dirt under the keys or the restart of the 9 could not be cured by kick starting the 4.
I have obtained a new keyboard but wouldn't think of fitting it myself and certainly not going to open the case during valid warranty. I hope someone can throw light on this for me.
Thank you
--
Plado


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
22 Nov 2015   #2
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Welcome to our forum Plado.

If you laptop is still under warranty why not just send it back to Dell for repair. To me it sounds like a faulty keyboard.
A faulty keyboard can act strange in many strange ways.

Try installing a usb keyboard and see if you have the same problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2015   #3
Plado

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
Welcome to our forum Plado.

If you laptop is still under warranty why not just send it back to Dell for repair. To me it sounds like a faulty keyboard.
A faulty keyboard can act strange in many strange ways.

Try installing a usb keyboard and see if you have the same problems.
Thanks LB Bear for such a prompt reponse.
Well I already tried a USB keyboard and the fault doesn't happen on that. But I still think that something is faulty with the switchgear beneath the keyboard maybe in the circuitry - but I'm reluctant to send it back yet because I don't want to do without it - it's in daily use for a lot of my affairs and also I prefer at this stage not to let some technician pry into my personal documents banking matters and so forth and as I am the only user it has no such danger whilst it's in my hands.

I could I suppose back the whole thing up to a 300gig hard drive and then remove all my documentation (there's nothing mucky on it by the way!) It's just that I was hoping someone might know a good fix - even though I don't want to open it up and fit the spare keyboard - I'd void the warranty and the whole thing is working well apart from that little problem. At least if I need to use the keypad I can now kick-start it and it stays going properly until the next re-boot.

Thanks anyway for you suggestions. Much appreciated.
--
Plado
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

22 Nov 2015   #4
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

If your not going to use your warranty because of the time it takes why not replace the keyboard yourself. All you do is loose the warranty your not going to use anyway.

Before you start tinkering I would recommend Cloning your hard drive to a external drive. Just in case something goes wrong.

You could check with local shops and see if can do things for you in the manner so they don't see your data. I don't recommend keeping financial data on a drive in your computer.
If your system is hacked they will steal that data. I would recommend keep such things on a external drive. When done working with such data remove the external drive for safe keeping.

A program I use for backups and Cloning is Macrium Reflect.
Read this tutorial by WHS and watch the video and see if it's what you would like to use.

Imaging with free Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Nov 2015   #5
Plado

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

That seems like very sensible advice. I have a 300gig Buffalo drive that although it's quite old rarely gets fired up so it is very mechanically and electrically "young". I don't keep any banking details that could be hacked - only correspondence with my banks and with personal friends and relations. But I see where you are coming from on this and I think I will go and look at your link for a good backing up prog as I have been looking for one that does things the simple way for someone like me who is prone to making blunders.

I think if I could find a video showing how to change this keyboard which involves splitting the case I would do it - but right now I think my trick that I fell on by chance yesterday has actually cured it - though I usually speak too soon. 123456789 there you go still working - and I've done 2 reboots today after a MS Security Update and three Sleep mode sessions and still the 4 & 9 are working. So have I tricked it into recognizing a key press or something. It's strange because I had hoped it was a simple registry tweak and something had recoded the 4 and the 9 to work wrongly. But plugging in a USB keyboard and finding that had no problem - everything points back to the keys. I've never met such an elusive self-curing intermittent fault before except on car and bike engines.

I will go and check your link as it does look a great idea. So thanks for that. Will report back.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
If your not going to use your warranty because of the time it takes why not replace the keyboard yourself. All you do is loose the warranty your not going to use anyway.

Before you start tinkering I would recommend Cloning your hard drive to a external drive. Just in case something goes wrong.

You could check with local shops and see if can do things for you in the manner so they don't see your data. I don't recommend keeping financial data on a drive in your computer.
If your system is hacked they will steal that data. I would recommend keep such things on a external drive. When done working with such data remove the external drive for safe keeping.

A program I use for backups and Cloning is Macrium Reflect.
Read this tutorial by WHS and watch the video and see if it's what you would like to use.

Imaging with free Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2015   #6
Plado

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

I had a look at the Macrium software and it seems to be a mass of terminology I haven't the faintest idea what it means. Also it isn't free it's a Free/Trial which means it would be a non functioning version that you can't really evaluate unless you observe it and try it in a fully functioning mode. There are links to tutorials and in view of the inconvenience of having to train how to use it and the fact that the advertising blurb doesn't state up front how much you have to pay for the full version until you are agreeing to purchase it - I don't think I want it. I'll rely on my trusty old Buffalo Drive and back up all the private personal data and then wipe it from the Acer Laptop if sending it in for a new keyboard fit.

However I still think I will have the option to fit my replacement keyboard myself when the warranty runs out so I think I may do that. I very much doubt it will cure the trouble. It seems too fickle and intermittent to be simply a keyboard switch problem. It actually affects 4, 9, /, + keys so that's four different keys all of which return to function when any of them are working again. That can't be mechanical - must be the circuit beneath the keys and how they transmit to the system. The plugged in USB separate keyboard sends the right signals to the system by a different route to the press buttons under the laptops own keys.

In all honesty I don't believe anything would fix this and ultimately if it starts to affect other keys I will have to ditch it and buy an HP instead. I don't think Acer do laptops as well as their desktop PCs but that's just my opinion. Thanks for your help I think this thread can close now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2015   #7
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2015   #8
Plado

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Wow thanks - good find on your part. I like Cnet for downloads it's really reliable so I have just fetched it and will go install it now. Wish me luck! Thanks for the invaluable help.
Best wishes
--
Plado
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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