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I see "HID Keyboard Device" listed twice under "Keyboards" listing in the Device Manager. What do they mean? Do they represent the laptop keyboard? Why are there two of them?

Windows 7 64-bit Dell Studio XPS laptop

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

A HID Keyboard Device is just a generic keyboard. Keyboard devices are now common enough that basic drivers and support for them are a solved problem. Odds are one of the devices listed in your device manager represents the keyboard used to type your question. But what about the other one? It turns out that lots of things are, at their core, "keyboards". Barcode scanners, for example, are often built to look like a simple keyboard from the perspective of the computer. So are some infrared devices. But, I suspect in your case, the 2nd device is what processes the signals when you use your Fn or Fn Lock key.

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HID is a TLA (Three Letter Acronym) for "Human Interface Device". Microsoft uses this term for most input devices (keyboard and mice typically). In the device manager, it just refers to keyboard that uses the standard microsoft driver. You may have two if you have used a docking port or have installed other speciality keyboard drivers.

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For what it's worth, the HID acronym actually comes from the USB specification (not Microsoft.) HID devices are one of the standard classes of USB devices as defined in the spec. – Li-aung Yip Feb 29 '12 at 2:41

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