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So, I'm gradually getting the hang of the Kinesis Advantage Pro keyboard that my wife bought me for Christmas. I love it so far. But something very strange happened today. (Note: I actually have no idea if this problem has anything to do with the Kinesis keyboard per se. All I know is that I never encountered this problem until after replacing my old keyboard with the Kinesis.)

It seems that if I press an F key (e.g., F2), the computer starts acting like I'm holding down the Ctrl key. For example if I click on a link in my web browser, it now opens in a new tab. Or if I hit A all the text in the document I'm editing gets selected. This behavior persists until I manually hit the Ctrl key again.

Has anyone seen anything like this before? What could cause such behavior?

  • Oh my HEAVENS that is an ugly keyboard. I hope it helps with your RSI. (I hope you have RSI because oh my HEAVENS that is an ugly keyboard.) – Shinrai Jan 5 '11 at 19:01
  • @Shinrai: You hope I have RSI? That's pretty messed up! – Dan Tao Jan 7 '11 at 23:17
  • ohmygodi'msosorry D: But uh what I mean is that I can't think of any other excuse to use that. It's like diabetic footwear or something. :) – Shinrai Jan 8 '11 at 1:43
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OK, turns out I just needed to read the manual.

The Kinesis Advantage Pro has macros that are accessed via the F keys. I don't know if some came pre-installed on my keyboard, or if I accidentally defined some myself. In any case, the solution was to clear my keyboard's memory by holding down Progrm + Shift + F10 and waiting for the lights on the board to stop flashing. That did the trick!

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I have run into 2 extremely similar problems which roughly fit this description. After a year of living with them, I finally figured out how to fix them.

(1) Press Ctrl-Shift a few times. This seems to fix it for me. When I hit ctrl-c, it no longer puts the cents symbol. Pressing ctrl alone and shift alone may not be sufficient to fix this.

This problem, bafflingly, is always specific to the application/window. Quitting and restarting each app fixes it for that app. I have this problem both with the Advantage2 Kinesis and Advantage Kinesys. It seems to be specific to my work machine and never my home machine. Oddly, it happens even when I remote desktop in from home to work. It may be Windows 7 specific. I read about a Advantage1-Windows7 problem which is fixed by either a bios change (disable usb 3 or turn on usb debug mode), a usb-to-ps2 dongle (plug usb keyboard into ps2 port) or an Advantage2 but I think this is a different problem because my Advantage2 (LF) has the same problem.

(2) Press Alt-Shift once. This is the default hotkey to switch keyboard input languages in Windows. See the control panel. Every once in a while, I accidentally hit alt-shift as I type a hotkey and trigger this. When I hit shift-3, it no longer puts "/". If you disable all the alternate keyboard layouts, this problem goes away.

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