All of a sudden the Ctrl key on my laptop stopped working.

After a lot of googling I found a solution on a forum: Pressing AltCtrlFn. This seems to work, but after 15 minutes, the Ctrl key stops working again.

Any ideas?


  • Netbook SAMSUNG NP-NF210 Intel
  • Windows 7 Starter - service pack 1
  • With On-Screen Keyboard i can use CTRL
  • when i press CTRL on the keyboard it doesn't light up on the On-Screen Keyboard
  • Where did you find it? What kind of laptop? – slhck Nov 1 '11 at 12:06
  • Can you provide the model and OS? – Fergus Dec 12 '11 at 21:29
  • I confirm your experience 100%. I am on a Lenovo Carbon. And the issue is only the left control key and the magic combination fixes it and after some time it falls back. It is the weirdest thing. Did you find out anything more after all those years? – Gunther Schadow Oct 31 '20 at 21:49

Try the other control key (you probably already tried it). Does it work? If it does, the button's bad. Try an external keyboard. Does it work? If that works, it could be either a hardware issue or a software issue. Try a software keyboard. If it DOESN'T work, it's definitely a software issue.

  • 1
    You might have missed the fact that when i press ALT+CTRL+FN it works for a while. – Gabriel Solomon Nov 1 '11 at 20:46
  • That could still be a hardware fault. Keyboard masking is an odd thing. Maybe there's a break in a trace, which heats up and expands, but which ALT+CTRL+FN somehow fixes. A long stretch, but it is a laptop - they're not the best keyboards. – gjsmo Nov 2 '11 at 0:50
  • 2
    @solomongaby: Trying an external keyboard is a good suggestion, as well as that of a software keyboard (On Screen Keyboard). If both of them work, then your laptop keyboard is broken. Try in this case to clean it up, or else have it repaired (replacement is the normal remedy). – harrymc Dec 13 '11 at 16:19

In short: for me this issue was fixed by Ctrl+Alt+Numlock (i.e. Ctrl+Alt+Fn+F11).

Ctrl is working after restart and is not switched off after 15 min (although I did it yesterday - time will show how persistent it is). I've not investigated what this combination undoes, but will if key stops again.

Some more details (2nd post of user Kilikoi).


This does make me wonder: when your CTRL key(s) stop working, does a virtual CTRL keypress still get processed? Try using the "On Screen Keyboard" found in %SystemRoot%\system32\osk.exe.


If you find that the other CTRL key works or the external keyboard works, or the Onscreen Keyboard works, take a can of compressed air and blow out the stuff that's accumulated in your laptop keyboard. I can tell you from experience that sesame seeds from bagels can cause some weird keyboard behavior.


I had a similar problem that has nothing to do with the software. NF210 has a defective keyboard cable, which lost the Ctrl key and, sometimes, the Shift key signals.

Disassemble the computer and fold the cable so that it's not in the factory position. This should help.

If the problem remains, repeat the folding action in another place. If the problem still remains, replace the keyboard with a new one.

  • I think i will take it to the service since its still in warranty. – Gabriel Solomon Apr 9 '12 at 17:25

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