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Toshiba Equium Laptop Keyboard Problem

I have a problem with certain keys on this laptop. When I strike the z Fn / or arrow keys a signal is sent to the laptop which appears different from the key itself. It locks up the keyboard thereafter because it thinks the key(s) are depressed. I have traced the foregoing with a keyboard test software application from passmark It's shareware on trial for 30 days. According to the diagnostic software, striking one key shows the other offending keys perm. locked in the depressed position, sending signals. But they have not physically been touched. Oddly, pressing the A key and then the Z key together (in that order) released the jamming. I've already tried uninstalling the keyboard driver and I've run a complete AVG anti-virus test - all clear. It's XP and all updates are in place. What next - can you help?

Posted by arianne on

  • 7 more comments 
  • arianne Sep 04, 2007

    Before I go for a replacement keyboard I'd like to be sure that the problem is with the hardware rather than with the system software.

    How sure are you that the keyboard is at fault? Could it be a virus / trojan, perhaps not being identified by AVG?

    WMP10 opens by itself when the keyboard is jamming up. I wondered whether the recent security weakness identified in WMP10 by microsoft (August 17th 2007 security update) might be connected to this. Having a remote user take control of the machine seems a bit extreme for what is a keyboard jam.

    Any further reassurance before I call it a day and replace the keyboard?

    Thanks people - I really appreciate you taking the time to help.


  • arianne Sep 07, 2007

    Hi Paeroa,

    The laptop is from a 71 year old friend that I'm trying to help (me being 30yrs younger).

    I asked him whether anything has been spilt over the keyboard but he said no to this question - to be fair, the laptop was in a clean condition when I opened it up so it looks like he has been looking after it properly.

    Replacing the keyboard means openning the chasis case. That's not something I'm prepared to do as, knowing my luck, twenty other componants will spring out across the room!

    The elderly gentleman called tonight and said that he'd like me to get a quote from a local repair agent. We have a small store in our town (I live in the Scottish Borders, UK) and so that'll be the next step.

    The laptop is only two years old and, although the processor and memory is pretty average for 2007, the screen, chassis etc. is decent. It makes sense to check the price of a repair rather than get the fellow to buy even a cheap new laptop - here in the UK about £299 / $600.

    Thanks for your help - Arianne

  • arianne Sep 07, 2007

    Hi Paeroa,

    Thanks for the really fast response.

    OK, I'll start up the errant laptop and get back to you.

    I'll go into the DOS prompt and test the keyboard, as you suggest.

    And then I'll let you know how I get on.

    Whatever the outcome, thank you so much for taking the time to help.

    Be back soon...........


  • arianne Sep 07, 2007

    Hi Paeroa,

    OK, just to be sure.....I started the laptop. For me it was the F12 key that took me to safe mode. I selected the Administrator account option rather than Bill's (that's his name) account.

    Got into safe mode DOS prompt.

    Couldn't get any key onto the screen. Whole lot appeared to have frozen / locked up.

    So I pressed the A & Z keys down together. I found from the diagnostic software (mentioned earlier) that this has the effect of releasing the keyboard. Nothing. But with the Z key pressed down some of the other keys were prepared to work. Oddly though, these were only on the right hand side of the qwerty keyboard. Most of them did not work properly. For example, J resulted in a numeric value - as was the case for the other alpha keys. Only [ ] = type keys worked properly and then, only with the Z key depressed at the same time.

    This is a very different result from what happens when in a Windows programme - say notepad. Here you have to depress the AZ keys to release the jam but then everything works fine unless you hit either the arrow keys / Fn or Z keys. Then it all goes haywire again, with repeated signals to the laptop of either Z / or arrow keys.

    It's inconsistant between DOS and Windows. This would logically mean that if might be a software problem? If it's an electrical signal problem under the keyboard keys then would the symptoms not be the same in DOS and a Windows programme?

    Next idea?

    Best wishes and hear from you soon?


  • arianne Sep 07, 2007


    Really grateful.

    I'm worried about a BIOS flash because it's not my machine. I'd have to get the XP CD from Bill.

    I'm going to think about it overnight (- 12 hrs from you)

    Best Wishes,


  • arianne Sep 09, 2007


    Flashed the BIOS with the file downloaded from the Toshiba website.

    It worked......for about 15-20mins. We were euphoric. But then, without warning, the problem reappeared. Same as before.

    I thought I'd try and repeat the BIOS re-installation but it won't let me as it says the current installed version of the BIOS is as new as the one I'm trying to install. Which of course it is now!

    This is all very strange. It's clearly not the keyboard. I'm really stuck with what it could be.

    Any other ideas.


  • arianne Sep 21, 2007


    I did use the recovery CD from Toshiba and that made absolutely no difference. But it did mean all the settings were reset to default and I suspect I'll have to download all the MS updates for XP again, reinstall AVG antivirus etc. etc.

    Frankly, other than contacting Toshiba now and asking them to collect the laptop for repair I don't know what more to do - and I've been so busy at work that I've had no time to call the call centre during the day.

    Do I have any suspicions......hmm. If I had to choose something then I'd say it's in the BIOS. That's because, after updating the BIOS I managed to get 20mins of use with no problems whatsoever. It came back thereafter, shortly after going on-line with the web. Suspicious me thinks. But because the BIOS file is the very latest I can't carry out a repeat BIOS update. That's a shame because I'd keep the laptop off-line from the web and see how long things last.

    It's not my laptop. I'll probably end up getting a quote from Toshiba's replair agents in the UK and then the elderly gentleman who is our family friend can decide whether he wishes to proceed with the repair or not.

    What a shame.

    And yes, the laptop is 2yrs old, XP2 just like yours.

    All the best, Arianne.

  • vishuper Aug 23, 2008

    I have toshiba satellite A60 laptop. my problem is the contantly blinking f10 or f11 keys. the keys get locked and every time the num lock activates, I have to press Fn key and F10/F11 key, whichever is bliking, to deactivate numlock or cursor control . For typing this msg i had to press Fn and F10/F11 key more than 200 times. Can any one help me? Thanks in advance

  • jane_jay2003 Jan 13, 2009

    i gave one of me mates remote axcess to my laptop yesterday and i used the on screen pad and mouse, now when i try and use the laptop keyboard it dont work properly, some of the keys are numerial, iv looked in the bios reformatted the laptop, im at my wits end im in the middle of an nvq is there anyone that has a clue how to solve it plz



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Yo, I think I got this one.

Someone brought this model of laptop to me and the keyboard and mouse were shot. Totally unresponsive. So I downloaded the driver found here

which is described on the drivers section of the toshiba site here

to be the button support.

I did this all with a USB keyboard and mouse by the way.

OK, so now that I can actually use them, I start to test out the touchpad and keyboard and had the same problem all you lot did. I looked at the keys which were giving me greif and saw that they are all keys that had alternate settings when used with the function (fn) key. Turns out that there was a fn lock on the keyboard which I cleared by holding the fn key and pressing f11. This turned off a little LED just above the "9" key and voila, working laptop again.

To test if this is the problem with your laptop, press and hold down the "fn" key and press any of the keys which are coming up incorrectly. If while holding it down (cancelling out the lock, like how shift and caps lock work) the correct character appears on screen, then you too are suffering from funct-itis (tm)

Posted on Jan 19, 2010


Fred Steinberg

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Replace the keyboard. It is not an expenseve repair as they are available on auction sites for about 20 to 30 bucks.

Posted on Sep 04, 2007



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Posted on Oct 24, 2009


Arianne - Have you found a solution for your keyboard woes? I'm very interested because I have a Toshiba laptop with the exact same problem. I have found out that it IS NOT a problem with the keyboard hardware. My boss has the exact same laptop - without the keyboard problem. I took the keyboard off his laptop and put it on mine. Same problem. So I put my keyboard on his laptop and it worked perfectly. I started having problems about 2 or 3 weeks ago. My laptop is 2 years old running XP SP2. I have thought about formatting the hard drive and re-installing everything. Any thoughts? Joe

Posted on Sep 21, 2007


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I had a laptop like that once and all I did was lifted the keys cafefully and clean them...its pain stakingly time consuming but hey it saved me from buying a new keyboard and or having it repaired. you know its not simple to change a key board like yours after all its a laptop not a desktop......lift up all the keys if you have too gently wipe it or blow with hair dryer. Methinks someone spilt some tea over it but didnt tel you....the sugar is now tacky.

Posted on Sep 04, 2007

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  • Anonymous Sep 07, 2007

    You know it may be cheap to buy the keyboard the dear part comes to replacing it you gotta know what your doing when replacing it when all it might need is cleaning. The only software to run the keyboard is in the control panel. Exaust this and you might need to go to Computer Repair Shops who charge the World???

  • Anonymous Sep 07, 2007

    Thanks for the contact ..... its not a hardware problem it appears? you have stated its in good health so I dont think now there is a problem with the keyboard ie; the hardware its self. Going into the shop to repair it may damage it more you know those guys in there just to make a buck or two sometimes make more damage than you get my drift....wellllll some of them NOT all of them!!!You might just strike that wrong one?

    Its a software problem NOT a firmware...there is no firmaware inside that keyboard. The only thing that runs it is software and in windows XP its drivers are controlled in the Control Panel......start up the machine and press the the F8 key go into safe mode press Safe mode with Command Prompt.

    You remember the old DOS days when you are in there at the dos prompt type every key to see what emulates. If you are getting the correct keys as you type them then it has to be a software.......I am really interested at your results. Could you send another comment please and if they differ to what I said to do then we will try another. Thats before you run off down to the repairman..I too wish a happy repair for that elderly gentleman and I am quite pleased to know that someone of that era uses a Computer. Well done to you for the encouragement.


  • Anonymous Sep 07, 2007

    Technicaly YES the emulation particularly in Windows XP would generally be the same.

    As I stated before and you realised the problem seems to point to a software solution?. In all probability computer wise it cannot be the keyboard though TOSHIBA are renown to have funny results coming out of their keyboards, mine if you recall "I mention I had a laptop like that" when I push / key it resulted in # emulated. It brassed me off I was gonna rip that keyboard out of the machine because that / key was very important when working or programming in DOS those many years ago!.

    It still does it today but hey its a dinosaur laptop the solution for me and the kids playing on this laptop was to reinstall Windows the very first too. This /key worked ok in Windows but not in DOS dumb eh. My conclusion for this was the firmware problem that meant the BIOS needed an update so I didnt pursue the matter because of the era of that laptop. Its use is for the kiddies to learn on.

    You can try to update the BIOS by logging that computer to the net go to google and ask there like this "update BIOS for Toshiba Equium Laptop..........or you can place a CD install Disc WInXP in CD rom and boot it up let it finish to the last screen then press "R" for console when at the dos prompt type (if it lets you) chkdsk /p let windows fix up the know it may fix that drastic keyboard emulation......the last solution may require you to reinstall WINXP but gee I would hate for you to do all the reinstalls when the problem simply comes back. You will be swearing at me hahaha when all it was is that damn Toshiba Keyboard.

  • Anonymous Sep 07, 2007

    I see the time is getting on over there 8.20 in the evening and the same time in the morning over here. I have to go out and help me dear old aunty with her machine she is having a problem with her computer but hers is easy she just doesn't know how to use the MOUSE she is thinking its that four legged one that scares little old ladies.

    If all solutions fail and you are still stuck ring this number 0844-800-3456 in Your Country its free and ask them the problem of the keyboard and they more than likely suggest a new keyboard or offer you some other solution if there is one and you know what else I found out the keyboard is really simple to change in that model it only requires you removing the top parts around the keyboard take out two screws and it will side out. Let me know how you get on I will most likely answer you tomorrow. Best wishes!


  • Anonymous Sep 09, 2007

    Try the CD installation disk remember I mention the cd in the cdrom and turn off machine turn on and press "C" so the laptop boots up the Installation disk go right to the end and then press "R" for console it will take you to the dos line with ALL memory CLEARED..... type chkdsk /p
    If this fails it is quite possible the keyboard is an earlier post just above you will see this number 0844-800-3456 that is to TOSHIBA UK may have wait till monday and have a friendly chat to one of those technicians Im sure they will help you to diagnose the keyboard problem. And good luck it is always satisfying to help one another I hope the latter will fix that keyboard, above all else the last straw is the Manufacturer.
    I noted when looking for a google solution a brand new keyboard was 20-30 pounds? you have the "COM"

  • Anonymous Sep 09, 2007

    Just one more comment actually when you reflashed the BIOS you claimed that it was working for 20 or so minutes.........did you know most technicians remove the battery in the casing so as to clear all memories of the bios. THen they would put the battery back after half hour or so....just to be sure and then reflash or update that BIOS.......What I think it may have done was updated itself yes and then reverted to some of its old settings. Strange isnt it?.

  • Anonymous Sep 21, 2007

    That darn keyboard and all it is, is you want it to go good for that old man. Here is a theory now you want to try it.

    First look on the key boeard it might be the scroll key if it has the (num lk) written on it in BLUE if not find the right key in blue num lk. Together press the.... fn num lk ... just once.

    Now try the keyboard see what happens let me know if it changes.......surely to goodness it wasnt that?


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