Windows XP/won't stop typing

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Question
Hi,
I have a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop running Windows XP.  All of the sudden, it won't stop typing.  It repeats the symbols "fsda123-jkl:\" continuously.  I cannot backspace or delete the symbols fast enough, it just keeps repeating...in every program I've tried so far.  I even popped out my keyboard and disconnected it from the laptop, but that did not resolve the problem!  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated (best if it does not involve getting on the internet, as something is also screwy with the networking on the machine and I'm not able to get online).  THANKS!

Answer
Hi Rob,

Although this is more of a Hardware Problem, than a problem having to do with Windows XP, I will try to help you out a bit, as I love troubleshooting hardware (really)!

Keyboard problems can have a lot of causes, but not many options, unfortunately. Great job on doing a bit of Troubleshooting yourself there by the way, testing if the repeated typing occurred with different applications and disconnecting the keyboard are ideas I would have come up with, to begin testing things out.

One of the next things to try, would have been to see if connecting a keyboard (an external keyboard through a USB slot) allows you to type, but you state that it is repeating the symbols/keys even when the built-in keyboard is disconnected. This suggests that it is something wrong internally (with the ‘chips’ inside). Whether it is something in the area of the keyboard interface processors or the mainboard in general is hard to say without opening it up fully.

I would have also suggested trying to replace the keyboard (a keyboard for your system is about thirty dollars on Amazon, for example), since you seem comfortable with opening it up a bit; but the fact that it produces the problem with no keyboard attached at all, means that there could definitely be more happening than something that can just be unplugged and replaced easily (again, great job testing that out).

There are a few things you can do still, if you want to try to hang on to your Inspiron a little more -it is getting on in years though - that model is potentially about 10 years old (which is about 80 in computer-to-human years) and is obviously not under any kind of warranty anymore. (This could also be the cause of your Networking issues - the entire system may be slowly ‘giving up the the ghost’!)

Another thing you could try is to place it in a smaller room with a dehumidifier. High Humidity can cause internal circuitry to act silly at times, so if you live in an area that is very humid, placing it in a room with a dehumidifier for a couple days might dry it out enough for it to calm down. Along the lines of moisture, if something was spilled on it, that could also cause problems like this, but this can be remedied (believe it or not) by rinsing the system with Distilled Water. Regular tap water contains microscopic pieces of metals (and salts, etc) which are conductive, so a computer part or system cannot be normally ‘washed’; but if you can produce or purchase Distilled Water, it has none of these impurities and would not be conductive, and can be used to rinse the system, even inside (large companies do this with their hardware for certain reasons at certain times). If you decide to try this, rinse it thoroughly a few times and let it air dry for a few days (in the room with the dehumidifier if you want it to go a little faster). This would get much of the salts/sugars/etc that were in anything that might have been spilled on it and could actually work, believe it or not.

If none of the above ideas work (remember, try just connecting an external keyboard first), then it’s probably time to take it to a Repair Shop (or a friend who knows a lot about laptops/notebooks). There are a lot of computer-repair-specific options now, but you could also take it to the Service area of a retailer, such as Best Buy or similar store. Not being under warranty anymore, it will cost money however, so it would be up to you to make the choice of resurrecting your laptop and paying what is needed, or looking at purchasing a new one, or even considering a full desktop system (which is more modular in it’s design, allowing you to change out the various parts as needed); choosing whatever is best for your needs and limitations, of course.

I realize this wasn’t really helping a lot with WindowsXP, but I enjoyed pondering the issue and giving some advice, and I hope it at least starts you out with getting back to your typing, Rob. Good luck with it!

Windows XP

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Troy M. MCSE, CNA, MCP, CST, IC3, Aplus

Expertise

Hi there! Even though I am relatively new around here, I have been having great fun with PCs for over two decades now, becoming familiar with Windows through versions 3.x/9x/Me/2000/XP/2003/7/8/10. I enjoy helping others with what I feel is an exciting industry - computers are always changing, improving and offering new opportunities for learning. I look forward to assisting you with questions concerning Windows, how it interacts with your PC Hardware, configuration/settings or just general tips and ideas. Besides troubleshooting questions, feel free to ask the basics, as well. I will always start there, and I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a dumb question - we are all ‘Beginners’ at one time or another!

Experience

I am an A+ Certified, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with Computer Service Technician and LAN Administration diplomas and over 15 years direct experience with PCs including assembly, troubleshooting/support and upgrading. I have worked for retail outlets, schools and businesses, and have been an Instructor in the past as well – helping others, just like you, understand and enjoy computers!

Education/Credentials
MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), CNA (Certified Novell Administrator), MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), CST (Computer Service Technician (Formerly Computer Engineering Technician)(Hardware/OS servicing Diploma), IC3 (Internet and Core Computing Certification)(Hardware/OperatingSystem/Internet Fundamentals Certification), A+ (Computing Technology Industry Association Hardware/Operating System Certification)

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