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I have a Dell PS/2 keyboard connected to a desktop PC running Slackware 12.2 & Windows XP. After a recent, brief power outage/disturbance at my home, the keyboard has begun to quit working at random times. It has stopped at POST, but not by keyboard error -- I have to press the F1 key to continue booting, and at times the keyboard has already stopped working. Other times, the keyboard will work perfectly for a long time (a day or more) before it finally quits. It has stopped at boot, in Windows XP, and in Slackware. The led lights continue to work regardless.

I have tried another PS/2 keyboard and it seems to be immune to this problem. The USB mouse always works. Does anyone have any ideas about how this might have happened? If this is related to the power disturbance that killed the power to the running PC, is it feasible that it would have only fried the keyboard itself (which still works sometimes) and not the PS/2 port nor anything else? I have experienced no other problems since the event.

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It turns out that he PS/2 port is screwed up after all. Finally reproduced the behavior with another keyboard. Gah! Now I have to buy a USB keyboard. I wonder what else is wrong with the PC that I have yet to notice... – Kenneth Murphy Dec 14 '09 at 13:15
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Try the suspect keyboard on another computer and see whether or not the problem follows the keyboard around. If it does, then the keyboard is damaged and needs to be replaced.

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If you're adventurous, open up the problem keyboard with a screwdriver and look for scorch marks or failed components. (Also, as a general reminder: remember which screw went where if you find the need to reassemble it.) – Broam Dec 11 '09 at 16:44
@Broam: I opened up the keyboard after your suggestion. There was no obvious damage, but it was cool to see how they are put together. I'd never opened one before. – Kenneth Murphy Dec 14 '09 at 5:11

A precise answer is impossible in this case : who knows what might have gone wrong with your keyboard? And is it worth the trouble to find out?

Just continue on using your new keyboard, and remember that some things were not meant to be understood by us mortals.

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