Laptop keyboard malfunction
October 26, 2005 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Portions of my Dell laptop keyboard keep going in and out. Sometimes, one group of keys won't work (5, 6, -, del, and ins, among a couple others). Now, it's tab, tilde, 1, q, a, and Z. The problem only appears when restarting the laptop, never during use. Any suggestions?
posted by UKnowForKids to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you give the screws at the bottom of the laptop a tighten this should fix the issue. Used to work in laptop support for dell and this was quite a common problem.
posted by MarvinJ at 9:18 AM on October 26, 2005

Response by poster: Oh, in the first group of keys that don't work, add the bottom-left control key. They always fail as a group, never individually.

And now, the second group of keys has started working, out of the blue. Hope me Metafilter!
posted by UKnowForKids at 9:18 AM on October 26, 2005

Seriously try the screw thing. I had the same problem and called Dell (probably talked to MarvinJ!) and it fixes it. I was amazed.
posted by neustile at 9:21 AM on October 26, 2005

Response by poster: I just gave it as good of a go as I could with my tiny flathead screwdriver on my baby Swiss army knife - I'll hit it harder when I get home. Thanks for the suggestion!
posted by UKnowForKids at 9:25 AM on October 26, 2005

Awesome -- I have the same problem with two old hand-me-down Dells! Thanks all!
posted by aramaic at 9:29 AM on October 26, 2005

Definitely true the screw thing but if that doesn't work call up tech support...I've had Dell models in the past that had a rash of keyboard failures....which sucks hard when your passwords consist mainly of the affected keys.
posted by mmascolino at 9:51 AM on October 26, 2005

I'm on my second keyboard on my D600 after a few months of heavy use. If screwing it in fails and it's not under warranty, keyboards are cheap on eBay.
posted by mendel at 9:57 AM on October 26, 2005

If the screw tightening doesn't work then you might want to try blasting the keyboard with some compressed air. One of my keyboards is really sensitive to gunge under the keys and that usually unsticks it if I hit it with the air (bonus, the compressed air scares my dog and makes her run around like a nut).
posted by fenriq at 10:27 AM on October 26, 2005

These Dell keyboards have two failure points. Looseness of the screws in the bottom of the case are the primary cause of keyboard failure in Dell laptops. Tighten them up. Seriously. That'll cure 90% of these cases.

If that doesn't take care of the problem, the keyboard may be rubbing against the RF cage that covers the CPU. To cure that problem I hand-modified the RF cage so that it doesn't touch the keyboard, but that may not be practical for you as it involves some disassembly of the machine.
posted by majick at 12:26 PM on October 26, 2005

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