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Sometimes I am able to use my USB keyboard perfectly fine; other times, it behaves as if the Ctrl key is permanently pressed.

I don't think it is a hardware problem, as the problem stays even if I remove the external keyboard, and it only goes away if I restart the PC or start the on-screen keyboard. My antivirus didn't show anything and don't have sticky keys on.

Why is this occurring, and how can I solve it? I'm running Windows 7 on my laptop.

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If you plug your keyboard into another computer, is the problem still there? –  Zach Latta Jul 12 '13 at 19:56
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Maybe one of the Ctrl keys on your laptop is "sticky". I've had something like this happen to me in the past. Try pressing each Ctrl key on your laptop and/or external keyboard a few times and see if the problem goes away. –  jjlin Jul 12 '13 at 19:59

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