Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Shenanigans with Keyboards

This week's topic on GBE2 (Group Blogging Experience) is: Shenanigans.
One definition of this is 'mischief' so it's fairly appropriate topic for me this week, after 24 hours when the keyboards in my house were definitely acting like mischievous devils!

It started on Sunday, about midnight. I'd just finished Chapter 12 of my current novel, clicked 'save', then decided to look through it. Immediately I spotted a place where I'd omitted a word. I started to type it, then - huh? Three letters into the word 'Instead' and the whole computer froze - screen, keyboard and mouse. Nothing - zilch - nada.
Maybe I've run out of memory. Okay, crash out and start up again. Look for document - phew, it's still there. Try typing 'Instead' again. Same thing happens. What the ....?
Remember, this is past midnight - definitely NOT the time for computer or keyboard or whatever to be up to some kind of shenanigans!  But time for serious action. Check the keyboard cable - yes, still plugged in. Okay, try it in a different USB port. No joy.  Still can't type the word 'Instead', only the first 3 letters.
So "instead" I go to bed. Maybe it'll have sorted itself out by morning.
Wake the next morning and wonder why I have woken with a sort of dread-type feeling. Oh yes, the d....d computer was playing up. But perhaps it'll be okay now.
Get up, switch on - haven't even had a coffee at this point, I'm so nervous about whether the computer is going to behave.
Check emails - everything okay there, will reply to some later. But first I have to log on to Facebook - and type my email address and password. Now what's happening? As soon as I type the letter 'p' , another screen jumps up that I've never seen in my life before.  It wants to know whether I want Computer only, duplicate, extend, or projector only. What? But I don't have a choice, since whichever alternative I click has no effect whatsoever.
This is getting serious now.  I switch on my old computer - which resolutely refuses to boot up and keeps looping round to the 'safe mode' screen. Next, switch on Netbook, which then runs slow because it has to update the anti-virus as I haven't used it for several weeks. But eventually it's ready, and I try to log on to Facebook. Now something even weirder happens. It won't type the @ symbol, but will only put the lower case apostrophe symbol. A double check on Wordpad reveals more problems with Netbook keyboard - shift, enter, backspace and delete - none of those keys are working.
Now I really start to panic. Have I contracted a virus which is causing my keyboards to go into meltdown?  Only one solution - call in the cavalry i.e. my wonderful computer man. But he can't come until the next morning (i.e. Tuesday).
By this time, the old computer has finally decided to boot up, so I can access my emails etc from there, even though waiting for pages to load is worse than watching paint dry. 
A request on FB for anyone with computer knowhow to tell me what might be happening brings a reply from my American cousin that I might have a keylogger Trojan on my computer.  Eeek!
So, fed-up with watching paint dry, I go and clean the kitchen floor. Yes, well, we're all reduced to doing things like that when the computer's not working, aren't we?
After lunch, I come back up my study, and decide I ought at least to clean my keyboard if my computer man is coming the next day. So I turn it upside down to get rid of the dust that collects under the keys, then blow out any remaining dust, and finally use keyboard wipes on it. I decide to give it one last try before I throw it out of the window.
And - YES - I can now type 'instead' and I can log into FB, in fact the keyboard is cured! Yippee!
I decide not to cancel my computer man - I'm still mindful of my cousin's warning about keylogger trojans, also my 'expert' has never failed to solve a computer problem yet (plus he's a VERY handsome young Iranian guy, so no hardship there!). And anyway, the Netbook keyboard is still misbehaving.
Tuesday morning comes and my handsome guy arrives.  Checks for malware, trojans etc etc - nothing. Phew, sigh of relief.
So what's caused the keyboard shenanigans? How to diagnose the problem when it now seems to be cured?  Well, I told you he's never failed to solve a problem yet, and he eventually worked out that the MS Windows key on the bottom row of the keyboard must have stuck down, so the letters I typed were forming Windows shortcuts to different screens.  So simple!!!  When I'd cleaned the keyboard, I had 'unstuck' this key and everything was fine again. Problem diagnosed and solved!
What about the Netbook keyboard then? He checked it and yes, it had malfunctioned. Coincidental, but absolutely nothing to do with my main computer's keyboard. And he can get me a new keyboard for it in a couple of days.
So that's my story of keyboard shenanigans!


  1. oh, boy, that must have been annoying! thank goodness for good looking computer guys!..

  2. Oh my, sticky keys, at least you missed the virus. Now, on to chapter thirteen.

  3. Wow nice to know about sticky keys. Guess you'll have to make sure you have your lunch away from your keyboard in the future. Sticky fingers lead to sticky keys...lol :-)

  4. What a nightmare! Glad everything was fixed in the end, and we now know to check for sticky keys!

  5. I found you at the A - Z challenge :) What a nice blog you have here! I'm glad you got it all sorted out in the end, I agree with danneromero - where would we be without good looking computer guys? :)

    Nikki – inspire nordic

  6. Daphne - yes, it was a good reason to call in my handsome expert LOL!

    Gene Pool Diva - I was so relieved it wasn't a virus or trojan!

    Jarmara - not sure what caused it, but I'm keeping well away from the Windows key in future!

    Rosemary - I hate it when anything goes wrong with my computer I was so stressed out!!

    Nikki - thanks for visiting and for your kind words. Hope to see you in the next A-Z!

  7. I hate it when computers act up. We've all become so dependent on them.

    Catch My Words

  8. That must have been infuriating!! I am glad it was something simple.


  9. Joyce and Kathy - I HATE it when anything goes wrong with my computer - which is one reason why I have my netbook for backup, and still have my old computer set up in the corner. So it was trebly frustrating when netbook wouldn't work and old computer was so slow!

  10. The fact that you have backup options, the netbook and the old slower than snails pc, would be me also and when they failed you, you must have been freaked! I know I would have panicked at that point.
    Lucky day for you.