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Booting into Linux to test the keyboard gives us the information we need to know: that this is a software issue in Windows.

My computer went to sleep and woke up without the keyboard working. I removed the drivers, shutting down. I restarted numerous times, nothing restored it. However, booting into Linux (multiboot) the keyboard works. By the way, I tried USB and PS2 keyboards. Both drivers have exclamation points in the system properties in Windows. I hope this intrigues a response from you. I seem to have lost working drivers and will try a repair install, if necessary.

In this excerpt from Answercast #56, I look at a keyboard that has stopped working from an obvious software issue.

Keyboard doesn't work

Well, first of all, I think that booting into Linux was brilliant. It's something that I often recommend people try when they are experiencing assorted different kinds of hardware problems; keyboard ones being a good example.

The fact that the keyboard works, and works well in Linux, implies (as you might expect) that this is a completely software driven issue on the Windows side.

What happened?

Now, the question is what happened?

Good question, I honestly don't know. And in fact, I think your recommendation, your thought of potentially doing a repair install of Windows, is probably the most expeditious solution.

Naturally, I would back up first if you haven't been backing up already. But a repair install is exactly what I think the doctor calls for in this case.

Windows repair install

These are things that a repair install should in fact correct for you. If they don't, then I suspect you've got something else going on. It's hard to say what.

A repair install really should clear this up, which is why I almost immediately lean towards doing that.

Reinstall the drivers

Another approach that you might want to consider (that is short of a repair install) is for those drivers in device manager that have the exclamation points - delete them.

This is actually a fairly common way to force Windows to redetect and reinstall device drivers for devices that are having problems. Typically, it's done with USB devices and such, but it's a very quick way to get Windows to say, "I have no idea what kind of a keyboard this is. Let's go figure it out. And once I figure it out, let's install the right drivers for it."

It's just shy of a repair install; the focus is just on the keyboard. So, you might try that.

So, I would suggest either of those approaches. In your shoes, just because I'm curious, I'd probably try the driver approach first, deleting the drivers and rebooting and seeing what happens. If that doesn't work, then absolutely I'd go directly to the repair install.

And of course, (I have to caveat all this with) the very first thing I would do is backup the entire system.

Article C5852 - September 26, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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