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I have a mailserver that's running under XP. Occasionally, I need to access it to tweak something, which I do using a VNC sesssion.

Sometimes, however, it gets into a weird state where the keyboard seems to be doing something odd. I get the WinLogon challenge dialogue, and when I go to key in the account, instead of characters appearing in the input, each keypress seems to toggle the detail field on and off (the select box that shows the machine ID and other domain choices).

At this point, the only thing I seem to be able to do is to go to and do a forced reboot.

NB this is not some weird VNC/LogMeIn artifact- it does the same if you're physically present at the keyboard.

I can't even find anything in Google that reports similar behaviour, unless my Google-Fu is weak and I'm simply not coming up with the right keywords.

Anyone else seen anything like this?


I had a sudden moment of blinding insight- the weird behaviour depends on which keys are pressed (I hadn't spotted this at first- because the account name starts with "o"). Pressing "o" toggles the domain section on and off- but many other keys just produce a beep, and "l" acts like an "enter".

This is consistent with what happens if you hold down ALT and the same keys- so it seems like the ALT is becoming "locked" in some way. I don't have "StickyKeys" switched on, so it's nothing as simple as over-pressing ALT. And it's not a mechanical keyboard fault, because (a) it still happens when using remote access and (b) it goes away after a reboot, often for up to a couple of weeks.

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migrated from Jan 30 '13 at 21:31

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Next time this happens, try pressing your ctrl, alt, and shift keys one at a time (press, hold for a second, and release). Perhaps the state of one of the keys (most likely alt) is 'stuck' and causing you to type keyboard shortcuts instead of letters. Can't say I know how to fix it if this is the problem though... – evilspoons Jan 30 '13 at 23:16
OK, I'll give that a try. It's extremely irritating, and of course I don't like to have to use the forced reboot any more often than necessary. – Marc Wilson Jan 31 '13 at 1:37

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