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I have a laptop with a strange problem in my hands: According to the owner, after installing something (I wasn´t told what exactly), some of the keys started generating not only the wrong characters, but also strings, eg.: N generates "VN RVN R".

All I could find with Google are people with the wrong keyboard/language installed (already checked) or with num lock active.

Even re-installing Windows and all drivers didn´t help.

Anyone has any clue what could be the problem?

It´s a Samsung RV415, if it helps.

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Did he possibly install a cup of coffee in the keyboard? – phi Apr 26 '13 at 14:55
@phi If only I had your gift of concision. – Aaron Miller Apr 26 '13 at 15:45
up vote 3 down vote accepted

My IT support experience suggests to me that your user is lying, and that the laptop's problem results from keyboard matrix damage caused by user carelessness, most likely involving a beverage of some sort. (Leaving a laptop unattended, with a beverage nearby, and small children or pets present in the area, counts as "carelessness" for the purpose of this explanation.)

Try plugging in an external keyboard and see whether it also produces the misbehavior, which it won't, thus confirming the problem is specifically with the inbuilt keyboard. (You already know it's not a software problem, because you wiped the disk and reinstalled everything. A software problem wouldn't survive that process.)

Dismount the laptop's inbuilt keyboard and examine it to see whether you can tell what got spilled in it, and also check to see if the spill made it to the motherboard. Assuming not, replace the keyboard with a fresh unit off eBay, give it back to the user, and ask them to be more careful with their coffee/soda/whiskey/&c. next time.

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Concur. But, in the interest of being thorough, you could boot from some Linux Live CD and see if you get the same issues. That'll exclude the remote possibility you have a crazy driver that happened to get installed again. – kmort Apr 26 '13 at 15:18
Trying to get confirmation if the warranty is over already, since I was taking a look for a co-worker who isn´t around today. For now, I tried kmort´s suggestion and the problem persists on Linux. I´ll get back to mark the question as solved as soon as I can take a look at the keyboard. – Carlos Apr 26 '13 at 16:01
Turns out the laptop still has the warranty, so I won´t be the one to open it. If I ever get more info on the problem, I´ll try to post it here. – Carlos Apr 26 '13 at 19:14
I'd be interested to know! – Aaron Miller Apr 26 '13 at 19:29

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