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The keyboard on my laptop seems to be typing by itself:

  • It sometimes types characters like 134, whether by itself or when I hit certain keys.
  • Repeating characters may appear unexpectedly.
  • The system volume may change by itself, or windows like the Print dialog or Web browser may appear.

This can happen without any input or as I type, and may occur more often when certain keys are pressed. Sometimes, the keyboard fails to respond altogether. This is happening regardless of the software involved.

Is there a ghost in my keyboard—is my keyboard broken?

A sample of text from the keyboard might look like this (normal QWERTY...ASDF...ZXC... sequence is expected):


This question comes up often and the answers are usually the same. This post is meant to provide a definitive, canonical answer for this problem. Feel free to edit the answer to add additional details.

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I'm wondering if there's a loose connection somewhere. How hard would it be to remove and reattach the keyboard? – Journeyman Geek Jun 26 '12 at 5:49
It's not a user-serviceable part--see the service manual. – bwDraco Jun 26 '12 at 5:50
Did you spill something on it? – bahamat Jun 26 '12 at 5:52
If its not user servisable, why does it have a FRU number and instructions? O – Journeyman Geek Jun 26 '12 at 5:53
Check if you have the same problems in the BIOS setup to rule out software as a cause of the problem. – David Schwartz Jun 26 '12 at 6:40
up vote 9 down vote accepted

If it is still in warranty, save yourself the hassle and just get it repaired or replaced.

If it is out of warranty, it could be one of a few things and there is no easy way to tell.

  1. Malware (unlikely): Test via going to an Ubuntu or similar boot disk and open notepad/command line and see if the same thing happens
  2. Loose Connection: Try taking the keyboard and reseating it. A bit of dust may have got on the connector, or it could just be loose. Putting a bit of pressure on te keyboard may be making a short circuit.
  3. Bad Keyboard: It’s just faulty, need to replace it.
  4. Bad Motherboard: Worst of the worst. A friend had an Acer laptop with a very similar diagnosis, it turned out that the same thing happened even with a new keyboard, but not USB keyboard. So the only thing I could say was the motherboard was faulty.
  5. Ghost: Like your title says, there could actually be a ghost in there!
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The computer is under warranty. – bwDraco Jun 26 '12 at 5:53
In that case, tell them the keyboard is screwy and get it fixed under warranty. If you think its 2,3 or 4. Dosen't smell like malware. If its 5, contact your local priest, shaman or witchdoctor for a exorcism – Journeyman Geek Jun 26 '12 at 5:54
Add this one to your list: 6. Creepy, crawly baby spiders. They will be emerging from the innards of the keyboard once their food rations of dust and skin cells depletes... >:) – iglvzx Jun 26 '12 at 6:02
Thank you. I will now no longer be able to sleep at night, since my laptop is right next to my bed. – Journeyman Geek Jun 26 '12 at 6:14
If it's #5, you'll need a Ouija board for further troubleshooting... – Kaze Jun 26 '12 at 6:36

I had a similar problem, and figured out what was causing it after searching a few forums. I had somehow accidentally saved a macro to one of my keyboards assignable keys, which seemed about 5 minutes worth of random computer use to a macro (Email address, WASD commands from games, etc.) I found and deleted it in the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center, although I have a Microsoft keyboard, so if you have a third party keyboard the settings might be somewhere else.

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Could you possibly explain how you figured it out? – Burgi May 5 at 11:06

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