Recently trying to type the * character from my keyboard via the key sequence Shift-8 switches focus to an instance of Windows explorer if one is running. If no instance is running then I get the usual asterisk in my editor. The * key on the numeric keypad does not exhibit this strange behaviour.
NOTE: this only happens when there is an instance of Windows Explorer running. It is as if somehow explorer has bound itself to a hot-key or something. Reboot doesn't improve matters.
This is independent of the application that has focus prior to pushing the key - same for Notepad, Outlook, Eclipse, ... , i.e. not some weird behaviour of the app I'm running.
Other info: I'm using a Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000 (UK layout) although unplugging this and using another keyboard doesn't rectify the situation.
This also applies regardless of whether the MS IntelliType software is installed (it wasn't originally and installing didn't help matters).
Windows XP Pro SP3 on an HP Z400 Workstation.