HP N5350 Notebook -- some keys (G, H, Backspace) don't work

I am doing some upgrades and fixes for a friend's HP N5350 laptop running Windows ME. The G, H and Backspace keys no longer work. System restore to yesterday when it worked does not help. Nor does removing device drivers.

I've been running windows update for her (the first time in years it was run) and updating real player and other non-system apps.
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Use an external keyboard to rule out any weirdness.  If the extenral keyboard works fine, replace the internal laptop keyboard.

It sounds like he spilled something on it, like water or something, its common for only a few keys not to work.

sounds like the keyboard is probably toast but you can try this, turn it off disconnect everything plugged into it, and remove the batter, press and hold the power button for about 30-60 seconds, then plug only the power back in and try the keyboard. if that doesnt work its probably bad, if the systems out of warrenty maybe able to find a cheap replacement, and almost all the laptops keyboards i've replaced have been easy.
Did the keys work up to the system restore?

You could try booting to a DOS prompt only (using a floppy or so) and try the KB in that environment. If the problem is still there, the internal KB or KB BIOS  is shot. As suggested try an external KB to pinpoint the problem.
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pckokuaAuthor Commented:
I found an answer. Apparently heat in the laptop makes the ribbon connecting the keyboard and motherboard loose. I found a webpage ( http://schwinger.harvard.edu/~motl/hp-keyboard/index-classical.html ) that details the problem, down to the exact keys that are not working. Just as the page says, I can squeeze the upper left part of the notebook and the keys work again. I will be opening it up later today, since it is out of warantee.

I tried booting  linux  CD and DOS to see if the keys would work with no success, BTW, as an intermediate step.

Thanks for the advice, folks. Hardware, not software.

I have the exact same laptop (HP N5350) with the exact same problem.  I thought there was a short in the ribbon connector because if I pushed down on it (with the keyboard up), with my finger, suddenly the keys would work.

I tried wedging a piece of rolled up packing tape between the ribbon and the keyboard, screwed everything back together and it worked!  But only for about 20 minutes.  Then I opened it up and fiddled for another hour or so.  It would only work sporadically, holding down different sections of the ribbon.

I concluded there must be a short in the ribbon, so I ended up buying a new keyboard on eBay for $35 (search for part number: PK1332N1000 it works with a bunch of HP laptops, Pavilions & Omnibook XE3's etc.).

So I finally get the dumb thing shipped.  Excitedly I install it and to my dejected surprise (?) the EXACT SAME PROBLEM OCCURRED!  This forced me to realize it wasn't the keyboard or the ribbon connector at all, but the plug on the motherboard.

After about 2 seconds of further fiddling/troubleshooting I sheepishly discovered that the solution wasn't pushing DOWN on the connector, but BACKWARD.  When I put pressure on the left-ish side of the connector, pushing backward toward the front of the laptop, all keys worked perfectly, consistently.  

As a permanent (keep fingers crossed) solution, I broke the handle to a white plastic spoon up into pieces and wedged three of them into the space between the connector and the floppy drive encasement.  This fixed the problem and after putting everything back together all is still well (been 2 days now).

The End
PAQed with points refunded (250)

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