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My son's laptop keyboard (Acer Aspire One running Windows 7) can no longer type E or R using shift-e and shift-r: pressing shift+e or shift+r simply does nothing. I can, however, toggle Caps Lock, then press e or r, and get E and R. The symptom is the same using the "On-screen keyboard" program, leading me to believe that it is a software problem. Rebooting did not fix the issue. The symptom remains the same if I turn Sticky Keys on: pressing Shift, then a key, will let me type e.g. W but not E or R. However, all keys work normally in Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

Googling turned up several similar issues, but they all differ in the details: Either on-screen keyboard does work, or the shift key won't work with any keys at all, or some accessibility option was turned on by accident.

Any help appreciated!

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Is the keyboard layout the default "US" one? Another keyboard layout where shift-E maps to something else could be accidentally enabled. – Jan 19 '13 at 11:58
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Looks like some program has registered global hotkeys Shift+E and Shift+W. What program exactly? You may try to kill processes from TaskMan one-by-one and check these keys again and again. May be it is some IM, or video-card tool, or anything else...

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That was it! It turns out my son had configured shortcut keys for answering Skype calls, not knowing that they would be unavailable for other applications. I'm impressed by how well you read the symptoms. Thank you so much! – Jon Olav Vik Jan 20 '13 at 11:20

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