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I'm trying to fix my in-laws laptop, it's a Dell Studio 1745 that's running Windows 7 64 bit.

The problem is that most of the keys on the keyboard do not work. The function keys work and the caps lock and numpad keys work, but no other keys do.

If I hit the F2 key enough times when starting up, I can get to the BIOS, but after that even the function keys stop working.

If I let it go all the way to the Windows login screen, I can see that the caps lock and num lock work - little images on screen actually appear, but they don't toggle the state of the key, i.e.,capslock is always off, numlock is always off.

Using the fn+function combo works, so changing the brightness, etc. works fine. I'm stumped. I've tried disconnecting power and battery and leaving it for an hour or so before starting up but that hasn't helped either.

Also - this might be a red herring - the touchpad is failing as well, the MS Device Manager says that it's failing with status 10, "unable to start device"

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Replacement keyboard...ebay.com/itm/… –  Moab Dec 15 '11 at 17:26
    
Used Touchpad Palmrest...ebay.com/itm/… –  Moab Dec 15 '11 at 17:27

3 Answers 3

This is most likely due to moisture damage. You could replace the keyboard, but if the touch pad is also not working, it may be a very pricey repair.

If the laptop is no longer under warranty and you're feeling up to it, you can try replacing the keyboard yourself. Dell replacement parts are fairly easy to find (and relatively cheap), especially in the United States.

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Always up for a challenge, especially since it's not my laptop ;) –  Tam Dec 15 '11 at 9:47
    
Actually, it might seem that one of the keys is stuck, and that keyboard processing is subsequently disabled. Try removing all the keys from the keyboard and cleaning the contacts with rubbing alcohol. I had this some time ago with my girlfriend's keyboard: the s key was stuck; you'd notice this in the Windows login screen. After some time, the keyboard would stop working altogether. Since it's not producing any characters, it might be a function key instead. –  Paul Lammertsma Dec 15 '11 at 11:28
    
Cheaper solution is a USB/PS2 mouse & keyboard :) –  HaydnWVN Dec 15 '11 at 14:18

Yeah, sounds like the old pop spilled on the keyboard problem. I've successfully fixed desktop keyboards with this problem, but it involves taking apart the keyboard, washing the flexible PC board, finding the eroded traces (soft drinks do a number on the traces), and repairing them with conductive paint.

(Of course, the simple solution, if this unit is not really used as a portable, is to get a USB keyboard and just use that.)

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Shut it down, pull the battery, wait a minute or so. Put battery back in, boot it back up and tada! There is some known issue with Dell laptops. I'm searching for a permanent fix but in the meantime...

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