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On Windows, the Alt key functions as a modifier like the Shift
key. To make special characters, hold down the Alt key and
type in the numbers from the numeric keypad. Note that
on the some small keyboards (e.g. laptop keybaords) the “numeric keypad”
is found by pressing the NumLock key and then looking for the
keys on your keyboard that double as numeric keypad keys when in NumLock
Most likely you have your numlock key turned on by mistake. Look on your computer and see if there is a light with a padlock and a number in the padlock. It is probably lit up. Now look for a key on your keyboard called "numlock" and press the key once. See if the light goes off. When you have the numlock key on some of the letter keys will work as numbers like a calculator. When you turn it off the keys are back to letters.
Yes, dell will relace the faulty part absoultely free, if your laptop is under warrienty, you need call to dell technical support and log a call, you have to provide your system service tag when you are talking to Dell person. Make sure you sould not loose the key rubber, you need to submit that to Dell Engineer
Restarting the laptop usually resolves this issue. However, if you are frequently having the same issue, or if restarting did not help, i suggest that you contact dell technical support to check for possible serious problem on your keyboard. you may visit www.support.dell.com