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POST error: Keyboard is locked out - unlock the key

Posted on 2003-10-24
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Last Modified: 2007-12-19
Hi all.
I'm running a multiboot system. hda has Windows2000 on it. hdb has a new installation of Debian Linux on it. hdc has Gentoo Linux on it. I first noticed something was wrong when I tried to use my Win98 startup disk. After it boots, I get the classic A:> command line but when I try to type, nothing happens!

I reset the computer at that point and was greeted with "Keyboard is locked out - unlock the key" during post just after my IDE autodetection. The keyboard is completely unresponsive at this point. Resetting accomplishes nothing. However, if I shut the computer off then turn it back on again, I don't get the error anymore.

Unfortunately, this is recurring. Every time I try to boot the Win98 startup disk or my new installation of Debian Linux, they keyboard freezes after boot and nothing I type gets typed. I'm forced to reset and I'm greeted with that friendly error again.

I immidiately suspected keyboard hardware failure, due to the fact that my keyboard is about 4 years old. I swapped it with another keyboard and it still happened. Swapped it with a third and it still happened.

Since simultaneous failure of three keyboards is unlikely, and I can boot Win2000 and Gentoo Linux without this happening, I'm convinced there's nothing wrong with my keyboard.

So I assumed there was a BIOS setting causing this. I cleared all the password protections on my BIOS and on my system boot and restored the defaults. Nope, that didn't help either.

I also should note that this occasionally does happen when rebooting from Win2000 or Gentoo, but a cold boot solves the problem every time.

I just spent the last hours googling this error. I've found people with similar problems, but not identical. Official support labels this error as not a keyboard error but a key lock error for people who have lockable cases. (?)

Since I don't have a lockable case, I'm wondering what on earth could trigger this. The motherboard is fairly new, so I don't suspect mobo failure.

I also read that there might be a switch on the mobo somewhere, perhaps near the system panel connectors, that can trigger a lock and that it must be deactivated. This might be what's happening to me because I recently played around with the system panel connectors trying to get my IDE LED to work. (I gave up on the IDE LED when I realized the LED light bulb never worked in the first place.) But since I don't know where that switch might be on my mobo or if it even exists, I'm at a loss.

I'm currently running an Asus A7M266-D Dual Socket A Motherboard with a pair of Athlon MP 1200s.

I appreciate any advice.
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Question by:Kethinov
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Expert Comment

by:Jonybrv
ID: 9616886
If your motherboard has such a option for keylock, why does not this error happen during a cold boot. I suspect some of the application either in Windows 2000 or the linux is conflicting with keyboard.

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Author Comment

by:Kethinov
ID: 9616983
That doesn't seem to explain why the Win98 startup disk used to work just fine but now is one of the things that can cause this to happen now, though.
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Author Comment

by:Kethinov
ID: 9617494
Hi all, again.
I did a bit more searching on google and I came up with this page: http://www.asus.com/support/faq/qanda.aspx?KB_ID=81711

I think my answer is there, but the solution instructions are a bit confusing. Just what do I disconnect or reconnect?
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Accepted Solution

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trifazic earned 500 total points
ID: 9618164
first of all you should read this http://home.kimo.com.tw/beartb/TBWeekly-023.htm, it's asus fault, they had an error in the old version of the manual

http://www.haxworx.com/oldnews.html
Quote: "Received an email from ASUS explaining a problem that has been discovered with my motherboard. The system is up and running very well. NOTE TO THOSE PEOPLE WITH THE a7m266-d MOTHERBOARD: Do not plug the "HDD LED" into the "IDE LED" that is found at the buttom right hand corner bunched in with all the other plugs.
That will cause your keyboard and mouse to lockup constantly right along with causing your box to be unstable.
Be sure to plug the "HDD LED" into the stand alone "IDE LED" that is right above the jumble of plugs and right next to the JEN jumper setting. I have fought this system for 2 months only to find that this lame IDE LED was the cause of all my hell."

i guess this solves your problem...
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Author Comment

by:Kethinov
ID: 9618884
Thanks much! The damn HDD/IDE (orange) LED never worked in the first place. Unplugged it and never saw the error again.

But shortly after I fixed that problem, my monitor died on me! Oh well. It was 5 years old. Time for a new one eh? ;)

Thanks again.
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