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Windows 7: Microsoft Keyboard turning my sound down?

24 Mar 2015   #1
WizardOfBoz

Win 7 Pro 64
 
 
Microsoft Keyboard turning my sound down?

I have a recurring issue. I'll be listening to music or a Youtube video or whatever, when suddenly my master sound level will slide to zero. I can't override manually. If I try to override using the mixer on the screen, or the hardward "+" sound button, there is a fight between my effort and whatever is turning the sound down. So the sound goes up and is adjusted down right away, as long as I hold the button on the laptop or on the screen the sounds zigs and zags up and down. If stop pushing the button, the sound goes to zero. After about a minute, the problem goes away and the sound may be adjusted up again. Also, apparently, if I whack my keyboard on the desk, I'm able to adjust the sound.

Another, related issue is that when I'm typing, the sound level bars (a white bar on a big black background in the lower middle of the screen, courtesy of Lenovo, and the narrower Windows green bar to the lower right) pop up periodically (say every few minutes) and every time they do, the sound level goes down by one increment. This latter problem got me thinking, as it happens only when I'm typing. Could it be my keyboard?

I tried the volume key on the Microsoft Natural Wireless keyboard, and sure enough, pushing either "+" or "-" set off the "sound to zero" problem. Is this a known issue with MS keyboards, or with the Mouse and Keyboard Center software (or earlier drivers for mouse and keyboard)? Or do I have a weirdly broken keyboard? (It is rather old...) Thanks.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Mar 2015   #2
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

Sounds to me like a defective keyboard in the Laptop. Can you disable the built in keyboard, in the Device Manager when the external keyboard is connected? This is one possible way to try and isolate whether the problem is the keyboard or something else.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2015   #3
WizardOfBoz

Win 7 Pro 64
 
 

Fireberd,

I was trying to figure out your logic when I realized that I hadn't given you all the relevant info. My system is mostly docked (433835U), with the MS mouse/keyboard hockeypuck plugged into a USB2 hub. The issue arises when I'm typing on the MS keyboard, not the main keyboard.

Or am I not getting it, and you think the Lenovo keyboard is the problem. The only reason I'd think not is that my T61p had the same issue. Different computer, dock, internal keyboard, etc.

I'm getting pretty sure its my keyboard, as 1) this is a common link, used by both computers, and 2) I can "fix" the problem by rapping the KB on the desk pad.

I've been looking for an excuse to get a new MS Sculpt KB, and an Logitech Performance MX mouse (I've got big hands). This may be it!

I will advise.

Jim
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Mar 2015   #4
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

One thing, since you are using a USB2 hub, something on the hub could be causing the problems. Also, if the hub is not a "powered" hub (one that has its own power supply) that could be suspect too.

Try plugging the keyboard directly to a USB port on the Laptop and see what happens. I have a Lenovo Ideapad Z560 laptop and have a USB connected mouse but not a keyboard. The mouse is a Logitech wireless and the transceiver is plugged directly to a USB port.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2015   #5
WizardOfBoz

Win 7 Pro 64
 
 

Man, I'm really striking out on the clarity part. The W530 has a USB3 port, as does the docking station, and several USB2 ports. Docking obscures the port on the laptop (besides, it's docked, I don't want to plug stuff directly into the laptop). I have an ANKER USB3 hub connected to the USB3 port on the dock. The mouse is plugged directly into a USB2 port on the dock.

Uhhh. Which means, I guess, that it IS plugged into a USB2 hub.

I'll try a blank spot on the USB3 hub. Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2015   #6
carwiz

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

There's no point in trying to assist you if you're not going to follow direction. The reason for the connecting directly to the notebook is to eliminate the dock in the diagnostics.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2015   #7
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

WizardOfBoz

We understand what you are trying to do with hubs and docking stations with a laptop that has limited usb ports.

Seldom does that work.
For any chance for it to work if possible your hubs and docking will have to have their own external power supply. The usb ports will not have enough amps to handle the load.

You are asked to plug the keyboard directly into your laptop is simple and a good idea.
If your keyboard works at that time you will know that it the usb hubs and or docking station that is causing your problem.

Even a high power computer in my specs usb ports can only handle so many things plugged into one or two ports.
Of course I have many usb ports so I don't use hubs. But you should understand what I'm saying.

If you don't want to try these troubleshoot methods then I know of no way we can help you.

Now plug your keyboard directly into you laptop and see if it works.
Unplug every thing but your keyboard.

Let us know if it works. Also let us know if you can't or won't do as requested.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2015   #8
WizardOfBoz

Win 7 Pro 64
 
 

Ok, guys, thanks. First, when one communicates problems it is often the case that you forget to mention certain things you know, and your mind just assumes that the reader knows these things.. The problem I mentioned is that in two different Windows 7 machines (one Pro, the other Ultimate), I've had this problem with a phantom process intermittently turning down sound. The ultimate machine was a Lenovo T61p, when in its dock. The Pro machine is a Lenovo W530, in its dock (a different dock). Your comments to me have helped, as it's made a few things obvious.
1) I used to think that the only commonalities between machines were brand, O/S (kind of), some drivers and some programs.
2) But the machines themselves were different, as were the docks, so I mentally ruled out computer/dock/USB port failure.
2) So here's the "Duh" on my end: The keyboard, mouse, and the usb hockey-puck for them are also common to the problem. I wasn't thinking hardware failure on something so simple, that for the most part works.

In the T61p, the ports are not USB 3. So I had this issue with any port I used for the kb/mouse. In the W530, one port is USB3. I have an Anker 7 slot USB3 hub (with external power) hooked up to that port. When I first wrote you guys, I had my mouse/keyboard/usb hockey puck plugged into a USB2 port on the dock. Since then, I've moved the plug to the USB 3 hub. If I'm not mistaken, this has helped. It may be that the Anker has a more adequate power supply than the dock does.

I've also observed another example of "HP-22c Concussive Maintenance" success. As an undergraduate, I had an HP22c. Occasionally a few elements of the LED readout would stop working. I found that if I put the calculator in its pouch and dropped it from shoulder height the LED readout would be fixed. It had to be shoulder height: lower gave no success. I'm 6'2", in case anyone wants to try and use this method on their legacy calculator.

Back to the present. With the keyboard, if I rap it edgewise on my desk, whatever program it is that's affecting sound is terminated, and I have sound control back. Concussive peripheral therapy!

Given the two-different computers/two-different docks issue, I hope you can see why I think that this is neither the dock, nor the computer, nor the computer keyboard. The problem only occurs when I'm typing on my external MS keyboard, or using the MS mouse. It may be, in part, comm or power issues with the USB.

In any case, I've come up with a happier way to test my hypothesis. I'm going to (after some six years of hard use) buy a new keyboard/mouse combo. I may go with something similarly ergonomic, so I'm thinking the Sculpt keyboard. I've big hands, so a Logitech Performance MX mouse.

Your suggestions have helped me, so many thanks. I'll report back on the issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2015   #9
WizardOfBoz

Win 7 Pro 64
 
 

PS Right now (with the kb/mouse puck plugged into a powered USB3 hub), I don't think I'm getting the problem. The sure-fire thing that set the problem off before (using the volume +/- keys on the keyboard) does not set the problem off now. So I think it was either the USB power issue you pointed out, or a comm issue that using the USB3 port fixed.

I really like the Anker 7 slot USB3 hub, btw.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2015   #10
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

What you did is exactly what we were trying to get you to do.
Plug thing in differently to isolate the problem.
Good work doing just that.
Remember that many of these usb hubs and docks are junk and can drive one crazy trying to figure out problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Microsoft Keyboard turning my sound down?




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