Using XP Professional Service Pack 3, I must have inadvertently changed something. My Del key now has a period after each delete and I can’t find how to stop this. Can you help?
Probably not; not directly, anyway.
Your question is actually very common. I get a number of questions that boil down to a keyboard misbehaving in some way.
What surprises me is the fact that most people don’t think of something else first.
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It’s probably the hardware
My gut reaction whenever you start getting two keystrokes per key is to try a different keyboard.
Double or sporadic keys entered in response to a single key being pressed are most commonly a hardware problem of some sort in the keyboard itself.
You can test this pretty easily by getting a USB keyboard, plugging it in, and seeing if you end up with the same symptoms. I’d give you a 95% chance that the USB keyboard will work just fine.
If it does, then you know that you need to have your old keyboard cleaned, replaced, or repaired. While this can be a bit of an ordeal on a laptop, you’ll have that USB keyboard to use in the interim.
If it’s the software
If your test keyboard does replicate the problem, then you know that you have some sort of software problem.
Software problems that result in this behavior are rare, but not unheard of.
Unfortunately, they’re also very difficult to diagnose.
I’d start by looking at installed applications that may be doing advanced things with the keyboard; maybe you have keyboard macro software of some sort installed.
It’s always a good idea to perform an up-to-date malware scan.
You can look at drivers for your keyboard and make sure that you have the latest, but this type of thing is rarely a driver issue.
Wireless keyboard deserve special attention
If this is a wireless keyboard, then:
- Make sure its batteries are fresh.
- Keep the keyboard’s transmitter and receiver as close to each other as practical.
- Keep potentially interfering electronics as far away as practical. Most wireless keyboards use the 2.4 gigahertz frequency range, which is where cordless (not cellular) phones, Wifi, and even microwave ovens have been known to interfere.
Probably not. Not directly anyway. It actually surprises me the number of times questions like this come up. My gut reaction, my very first reaction whenever you start getting two keystrokes per key, is to try a different keyboard. Chances are you have a hardware problem of some sort in the keyboard itself. Hopefully, we’re not talking about a laptop here, but even then, you can still test it by getting an external USB keyboard and plugging it in and seeing if you end up with the same symptom. I’m betting 90-95% chance that you won’t; the external keyboard will work just fine. If it does replicate the problem, then you know that you have some sort of software problem at that point. I’d probably start looking at installed applications that are trying to do things with the keyboard; maybe you have a keyboard macro software installed of some sort that you weren’t aware of. I’d start looking at what was there. It’s worth, I suppose, playing with the drivers, but keyboard drivers these days are so very simple; it’s something to do but it’s not a very high probability that it’s going to solve the problem. The other option that I would recommend is that if this is a wireless keyboard, then make sure that the transmitter, the keyboard itself, is as close as possible to the receiver; that there’s not a lot of electrical interference physically in the line of sight and finally that the battery in the keyboard itself is fully charged because sometimes that can cause spurious keystrokes although more often than not it ends up causing a complete lack of keystrokes.