The "m" key is minimizing no matter what!
January 17, 2009 5:35 PM   Subscribe

My cat got on my roommate's MacBook and now it's minimizing windows whenever she presses the "m" key. Then it's bringing up the preferences of whatever application she's in. It happened as she was trying to search Google in Firefox, and then just type "m" in Word! I checked the sticky keys, no dice. Tried restarting, still happening. It means she can't really do anything because there are lots of m's out there! Help!!!!
posted by iliketolaughalot to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
The shortcut key for minimising windows is Command+M, so it would suggest the command key is a bit stuck. Have you tried giving both of them a good, sharp tap?

The preferences shortcut is Command+, (comma) ; as this is directly beside "m" and above the command key, there might be something (hair?) stuck under that particular section which is causing the problems.
posted by sektah at 5:44 PM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

You should be able to take like an envelope opener or a butter knife, go under and pop that M or Command key off. May be that something is lodged underneath the key and making things go weird. I've had to do that a couple of times when my cat got on top of my PC laptop.

Also would help to sometimes take those air pressurizer things and take a go in between all the keys.. and I sometimes take a paper towel with Windex and wipe down everything. Sounds anal, but just avoids this type of mess.
posted by urbanchic at 6:11 PM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

That was the "m" for meow. Cat is trying to send you some sort of message or cry for help. Also, use an air blaster and clean between the keys. Also, as above, if necessary, take off the key and have a look underneath to see if anything is stuck.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:17 PM on January 17, 2009

Yeah, find a can of compressed air and give it a shot. I get fingernails and random stuff stuck under keys a lot. Be careful and you can pop them off, space bar is tricky... usually has a metal rod underneath that takes a bit of work. Be gentle. I also go over the keyboard with the Clorox wipes every week or so just for good measure.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:29 PM on January 17, 2009

Does anything else happen with any other keys? For example, if she types the letter H, does the application window hide? When she types the letter W, does a window close? If she types a P, does the print window come up? I would be leaning towards a stuck Command key(aka Apple key), but if it's stuck there are a lot of other keyboard shortcuts that will be activated.
posted by azpenguin at 10:55 PM on January 17, 2009

Even without the cat-factor, one of the command keys (the left one) used to get stuck sometimes on my old keyboard. Banging it on and off a few times seemed to wake it up.
posted by rokusan at 11:25 PM on January 17, 2009

Yeah, clearly command key got stuck. Probably not a big deal. If you've never done it, google on how to remove macbook keys. They are not the most delicate things in the world but still, take a look. If you are really not comfortable doing that, you might be able to take it to an Apple Store and they'd probably do it for you.

As a tip, always get an appointment at the Genius bar if you are going to the Apple store. It's free and you don't need Apple ID or anything. Might seem irrelevant but I'm always surprised how that is pretty much a required step in getting technical help from Apple and no one knows about it.
posted by the_dude at 11:26 PM on January 17, 2009

If the command key isn't stuck (you could check by pressing the p key for print)- see if under the system preferences > universal access > that sticky keys aren't on.
posted by Towelie at 6:13 AM on January 18, 2009

If it's just the m and comma that trigger a shortcut, focus on the right side command key. It's possible that the case itself may be cracked and flexing into the command key or there just might be something really impressive lodged in there.
posted by advicepig at 7:43 AM on January 18, 2009


I went in with an air can and some tweezers. We found a LOT of cat hair in there. Eww! BUT now it's more messed up!!! Pressing a key brings up a lot of other letters. The "u" brings up "qtuiy," "j" "afhjs" etc.T he other ones are all in the same row.

Whaaaaaaaaat!!!!!! Help!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by iliketolaughalot at 3:29 PM on January 18, 2009

Another update, for the hell of it:

My other roommate's boyfriend said at this point it needs to go get fixed @ the Apple store.

At least it's under warranty!

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by iliketolaughalot at 7:46 AM on January 20, 2009

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