I've the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000

Several application which should had accept and react to the F6 key seem to ignore it. Same applications accept the other function keys (F5, F7, etc.) performing their respective actions, as well as the Shift+F6 which also works fine as expected.

Because the Shift+F6 as well as Ctrl+F6, etc. work fine, I suspect this is not a hardware problem, but can't really be sure.

I don't think I've anything special on my Windows, or any program that intercepts F6, but again, cannot be sure.

How can I troubleshoot such a problem? How can I verify whether hardware/software? Any known program that intercepts F6?

Edit: Trying the Virtual On Screen Keyboard (as well as a different keyboard) yields same result (i.e. no result). This appears to be a software issue. Still no clue what it is.

  • 1
    Is your Function key toggled? It's next to F12. – Der Hochstapler Apr 30 '12 at 13:27
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    Thank you @OliverSalzburg - it is NOT a toggle issue. As I pointed out, F5 and F7 work just fine. – Uri Apr 30 '12 at 13:29
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    In your start menu search for On Screen Keyboard and open it. Try the F6 from there and see what happens. If it fails there I'll tell you what I think it is. Oh, to show the function keys, press Fn on the bottom of the keyboard. – Jeff F. Apr 30 '12 at 14:04
  • Thank you @JeffF. (and @BloodyIrop). A different keyboard, or the Virtual On Screen Keyboard yields the same result (i.e. no result). Also, same keyboard on a different computer works fine. It appears to be a software. Any clue? – Uri Apr 30 '12 at 14:24
  • Sounds like there is something intercepting the signal. Some sort of hotkey program or something? It's possibly some side effect of some malware too. – Ariel Apr 30 '12 at 14:30

I would recommend starting with a diagnostic startup

To do this go to the start menu then type msconfig then enter.
Under General select Diagnostic statup. Every Time you edit msconfig you'll want to reboot.
Check to see if your F6 functions normally now.

If, on a diagnostic startup, your F6 works normally you should set the startup back to a normal start up and disable items under the Startup Tab that you dont need or in blocks to see if you can find the offending program.

If, even with all startup items disabled, you still have issues. Go to the Services tab and select "Hide all Microsoft service" and disable services which you don't need(I don't recommend touching driver services)

Chances are the offending program/service is one of these. Look for items that say "Hotkey provider" or similar.


Have you tried actually using another keyboard?

  • Try this, uninstall all keyboards in device manager, disconnect all keyboards (in case you somehow have more than one connected), reboot, then plug said keyboard(s) into different ports, try again once they are set back up. – BloodyIron Apr 30 '12 at 14:33

I was using Photoshop and the F6 key apparently was not working. However, I found the reason.

There is another program on my computer that is actually intercepting the F6 key alone. Shift + F6, Ctrl + F6 and Alt + F6 all worked fine.

The F6 key is overridden by that software running in the background. Close that program and F6 should work fine again.

  • 3
    How about you state which program you're talking about? – Lee Taylor Mar 25 '13 at 2:39

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