January 6, 2008 2:47 AM   Subscribe

Very odd Macbook keyboard issues filter: Why have specific keys stopped working on my friend's Macbook?

My friend has a Macbook which is identical to mine, but about a month ago, several specific keys just up and quit working. Those keys are:

The space bar
The backspace key
The tab key
The down arrow
The left arrow

They don't work in any program. I've had a poke around in the keyboard settings and in the Universal Access settings to see if she had inadvertently turned on a setting that could have disabled those keys. Nada.

I also popped off the backspace key and tested it by pressing the sensor underneath, and again, nothing. She had a baby spill juice onto the lower part of the keyboard facing (trackpad and spacebar) when she first bought it, but she let it dry out and put up with a sticky spacebar for a couple of weeks, so my instinct is that this is somehow software based.

She's running Mac OS X Tiger. Any ideas?
posted by Happy Dave to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Create a new account. Log in to that new account.

If the keys work again, the problem is with her account. She could renew her preferences by renaming the Library folder in her account, logging out and logging back in.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:10 AM on January 6, 2008

The problem is the spill. Yes even though it worked for a while what you describe is identical to many spill relates problems I have seen.
posted by Gungho at 5:33 AM on January 6, 2008

I absolutely stuffed several keys on my Macbook (qv) after a spill, and no amount of cleaning would make them work again satisfactorily. Early Macbook keyboards are covered by some kind of ongoing "known issue" regarding discoloration, so Apple will replace them for free however if they're a little bit stained.
posted by roofus at 5:34 AM on January 6, 2008

The keys eventually shorted out due to the spill.
posted by hermitosis at 6:43 AM on January 6, 2008

Keys on my MacBook stopped working but it was resolved by installing a software patch. I just clicked on the little apple in the top left-hand corner of the screen and choosing "software update."
posted by HotPatatta at 9:14 AM on January 6, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the thoughts so far folks, I will try out each of these and see if they fix anything, though I suspect the 'delayed short' is the likely culprit. Will update when a solution is found (or not).
posted by Happy Dave at 5:15 AM on January 7, 2008

A small cluster of keys ( - = [ p ) stopped working on my MacBook Pro about a month after I got it. The only solution was to take it back and get the keyboard replaced. I hope you got AppleCare.
posted by fnerg at 7:44 AM on January 7, 2008

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