I suddenly can't use my laptop's keyboard. I think my cat accidentally pressed something or held down some button (while I was asleep) because now, whenever I try to press any button, I only get ticking sounds and the key is not being registered. The touch pad works fine.

I tried lowering down the volume and sure enough, the ticking went away when I tried it which to me, verifies that it's not a hardware beep but more of a OS-related setting. Can anyone help me out? It's running Windows 7 32-bit. It doesn't really go well with the fact that I have some deadlines to meet. xD

  • 1
    Have you tried restarting the computer?
    – iglvzx
    Jun 25, 2012 at 4:02
  • 2
    Check your Sticky key setting in control panel.
    – Nam Phung
    Jun 25, 2012 at 4:03
  • 1
    @iglvzx, I can't restart. If the problem is still persistent when I reboot, I won't have a means of logging in to my profile.
    – Propeller
    Jun 25, 2012 at 4:07
  • 1
    My cat did the same thing! Just a note: Filter Keys did not show up in my tray, so when I saw this post I clicked Control Panel and Keyboard... but could not find a way to change Filter Keys settings. It was under Ease Of Access - the Disability icon. Just for reference, for future cat owners in a quandary!
    – user253026
    Sep 10, 2013 at 19:08
  • 2
    Happened to me in Windows 10. It was Filter Keys, which I had accidentally enabled by holding shift for 8 seconds. To disable it I went to Ease of Access Center > Make the keyboard easier to use. While getting there It was still possible to slowly type by holding every key for 1 sec. Aug 9, 2015 at 6:12

3 Answers 3


I would try running my hands across the keyboard semi-wildly, making sure every single key has been pushed, jiggled, unstuck...

The ticking noise is usually caused by the keyboard buffer being full. That tends to happen if your operating system has crashed or halted somehow, but there could be other reasons. Are all your programs responsive when you use the touch pad?

Can you try closing all your running programs, and maybe restart explorer? This can be done entirely with the mouse: open task manager with right-click on the taskbar, find explorer in the process list, terminate it, go file->new task (run), and browse to explorer.exe in C:\Windows

Have you tried plugging in a USB keyboard?

I would make sure you have all your urgent documents backed up onto USB stick and then reboot the system. If the keyboard doesn't come right and you can't use a USB keyboard, then the computer is useless for now and you'll have to find an alternative while you get it fixed - at least you'll have all your relevant data so you can still (hopefully) meet your deadlines.

  • Yes, they're all responsive, it's still there after restarting explorer. No, I don't have a USB keyboard. Will now try rebooting and hope for the best. :)
    – Propeller
    Jun 25, 2012 at 4:32
  • 10
    Okay, quick update, before I attempted to turn it off, I tried one last go and noticed that there was a new entry on the tray icons called "FilterKeys" I tried opening it and it took me to the Control Panel, unchecked "Filter keys" and I think that fixed it! I'm still not sure how it got activated though. Since this is the only answer there is, I guess I'll mark this as the answer anyway. Thanks! :)
    – Propeller
    Jun 25, 2012 at 4:35
  • Haha okay then. Damn cat!
    – paddy
    Jun 25, 2012 at 4:44
  • 1
    @ShedoSurashu, FilterKeys can be turned on by holding the right SHIFT key for 8 seconds and then a quick tap of ENTER. Not too hard for a cat if that's what it happens to do. I have to agree I've had problems with cats on the keyboard before, though.
    – chris
    Jul 9, 2012 at 5:50
  • Wow, thank you so much, @Propeller. It was exactly the case, except I would not have noticed since the icon was hidden.
    – Mark C
    Sep 16, 2019 at 15:17

It's plausible that the Filter Keys mode has been enabled accidentally.

In order to disable Filter Keys:

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Go to Ease of Access Center
  3. Find the link called "Make the keyboard easier to use"
  4. Click the "Turn on Filter Keys" checkbox to disable it
  5. Click OK.
  • 4
    A faster way is to click the filter keys icon in the system tray
    – Muhd
    Mar 17, 2016 at 4:15
  • @Muhd The only reason I even checked was because of Propeller's comment above. The icon is hidden by default in Win7, afaict. So you will not even suspect it has happened.
    – Mark C
    Sep 16, 2019 at 15:16

I had the same problem after forcing my (dell xps17) laptop to shutdown. It somehow ended up in "manufactured mode" with this bip.

I just had to press fn + x just when restarting it to solved that.

I did not even know they were a "manufactured mode" before that.

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