One False Keystroke
December 26, 2013 9:07 PM   Subscribe

What am I doing that makes my computer suddenly read all inputs as though the Shift key were pressed, and how do I make it stop?

I'm using a Clevo P150HM laptop running Windows 7. When I am typing a lot and switching between multiple tabs/programs I more and more frequently find myself in a state where everything I type is suddenly being read by my computer as commands with the Shift button pressed.

Some behaviors:

-Browser tabs (Chrome and Firefox) won't focus without a lot of mouse clicking and will develop a (*) next to the title
-Typing words will make pages open in other tabs, side bars and dialogue boxes open, words of already typed text disappear, open undesired windows/tabs, make page elements resize themselves in crazy ways, etc.
-Typing normally in/accessing other programs (ex. Steam, MS Word) becomes impossible

When this happens, the only thing that alleviates the situation is restarting my computer. Doing so, however, is time consuming and inconvenient. Occasionally I am able to successfully reverse the behavior when I notice it happen by repeated hitting Ctrl + Z, but frequently this does not work.

I have ruled out:

-My keyboard keys actually being stuck/sticky/dirty
-Keyboard drivers being out of date
-A missing critical update to a browser

It would alternately be helpful to know what key combination was causing the behavior so I could reverse it somehow when things start going wrong... I just don't know what it is.

Is this familiar to anyone? Googling effectively for it has been difficult. Thank you in advance for any help you may be able to offer.
posted by koucha to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
You can lock your shift key by pressing it multiple times in a row on some keyboards. Here's a thread from someone with the same issue, where a Microsoft rep explains how to unlock your keys, in case that turns out to have been the issue.
posted by capricorn at 9:10 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've had this!

Don't quote me, but I seem to remember, like you, accidentally doing this when trying to hit Windows/Cmd key + Tab to switch programs. I *think* maybe I was accidentally hitting one more key - like Windows + Alt + Tab or something - and that toggled it??

Sorry for fuzzy memories.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:17 PM on December 26, 2013

posted by XMLicious at 9:54 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is on the level of "is it plugged in", but I see that you didn't mention CAPS LOCK anywhere in your post.

You're not hitting that big key next to the A, are you?
posted by Hatashran at 5:48 PM on December 27, 2013

Yes, I've had this happen and StickyKeys was the reason.
From XMLicious's link above:

"To enable this shortcut, the ⇧Shift key must be pressed 5 times in short succession.
This feature can also be turned on and off via the Accessibility icon in the Windows Control Panel.
To turn off once enabled, just simply press 3 or more of the Sticky Keys (Ctrl, Alt, Shift, Windows Button) at the same time."
posted by exceptinsects at 8:56 PM on December 27, 2013

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