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How to troubleshoot sudden text input failure?

This happened for the first time since I started using this MacBook Pro in the last 10 weeks or so. The keyboard suddenly stopped working and the only keys that worked are the function keys (as special keys, ie., adjust sound brightness etc.) and the Ctrl+number to switch between expose screens. I have tried several other combinations and nothing else worked. Even after connecting to it over VNC the keyboard didn't work. It did recover after a reboot, but I hate rebooting, that is so windows like. I am wondering what techniques I could have used to recover from this situation if it were to happen again. May be there is something diagnostic that we can do to figure out the root cause? I am relatively a newbie, so anything would help.

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marked as duplicate by Daniel Beck, slhck, random May 21 '11 at 21:17

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
Since you tried using VNC from another machine, this isn't a hardware issue; since the keyboard belonged to that other machine and worked outside of VNC, right? –  Daniel Beck May 21 '11 at 5:53
    
Try Ctrl-Shift-Eject to shut off the screen. This should be another combination that works, since it cannot be intercepted by software, just like the function keys. –  Daniel Beck May 21 '11 at 5:54
    
I didn't try Ctrl-Shift-Eject so can't confirm that it works. Not sure if it helps to narrow down though. Yes, since it didn't work from VNC also, it is definitely not a hardware issue. –  haridsv May 22 '11 at 17:46
    
Consider contacting NReilingh, the user that posted the question we assume this is a duplicate of, and exchange lists of the software you use. It's possible a third-party application causes this, so if you both use some of the same software, it might be worth checking those programs. –  Daniel Beck May 22 '11 at 17:49
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1 Answer

I'm just guessing here, but it's possible the "Slow Keys" feature (in Universal Access preferences) got activated by mistake. What this does is ignore quick key presses -- you have to hold the key down (exact time is adjustable) or it'll assume you bumped the key by accident.

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Could have been a good guess, but when I manually enabled this option to compare the behavior, there are couple of significant differences, 1) slow keys gives audio feedback which was missing when I had the issue, 2) slow keys doesn't work differently with the hot keys that switch expose, where as in my case those keys (e.g., Ctrl+2) worked immediately with no delay. –  haridsv May 22 '11 at 5:47
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