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Unwanted cap lock problem in Microsoft Office Word 2003 XP on HP laptop

Posted on 2007-12-06
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
When I am typing a word document an intermittent and occasional problem occurs.  At any time my computer goes into an undesired and unanticipated cap lock problem.  During each incident two things happen:  
First, everything types in uppercase, even though the cap lock light is not on; also none of the numbers or lower case numerals are accessble; I can get lower case letters by activating the cap lock button, but not lower case punctuation or numerals.
Second, if I use the cursor for any purpose, like going into the body of the document, every thing from the end of the document to the point of insertion becomes highlighted.  For example, I cannot highlight a specific word within the body.  Also, I cannot use the ctrl-S key to save, it gives me a box on Style instead.
At one point a knowledgable friend said to hit the shift key several times in a row.  That caused the problem to vanish, but now it doesn't effect the situation.  The only way I can deal with it now is to close down the computer and restart.
Just yesterday it happened while I was typing an email message.  One strange thing happened, I had started the email, got a few lines into the message when it went into this cap lock thing; I kept typing and after another 3 lines or so I noticed that those probem lines seemed to kind of flash once with the appearance of being underlined or something and then it was in normal typing mode again.

Sometimes it is merely inconvenient, at other times it makes me want to scream with frustration.

A possibly related problem is that when I am typing (usually quickly) letters are frequently omitted, even though I think I am a fairly decent typist.  I don't have this probem on other computers.  

The same thing has been a less frequent problem on my wife's HP laptop which is about two years old.
Here is information on my laptop.  It is about two and a half years old.  XP;media center Edition; Version 2002; Service Pack 2; AMD Turion 64 mobile; Technology ML-37

I look forward to any response.  And hearty thanks to anyone who can solve it.
Neil
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Question by:PastorNeilH
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Delphineous Silverwing
ID: 20425009
Have you checked in Control Panel > Accessibility options for Sticky Keys?  This feature holds the shift key down even after you let go.  If it was accidentally enabled, try disabling it.

Key logging spyware can sometimes cause symptoms like this.  Scan your system with current antispyware products like Adaware and spybot S&D.  Always try more than one program to help ensure accuracy in detection.
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Expert Comment

by:byundt
ID: 20425662
Neil,
I too have an HP laptop and have been bothered by keys that don't register when I hit them. Just for grins one day, I pried the key cap off (they snap on) and found a small wad of hair was preventing the key press from going all the way down. Since my bride has five cats, I suspect that one or more of them surreptitiously enjoys the warmth provided by an idling laptop. Eventually enough fur got under the keys to cause my problem. Removing the fur from under the keys fixed the problem completely.

I also had problems with the Cap Lock key. In my case, it was caused by hitting it unintentionally. My first thought was to remove the key from the keyboard. But then I found a keyboard remapper and just mapped the Caps Lock key to be the same as the Tab. Travis Krunsick's KeyTweak is free and easy to use: http://webpages.charter.net/krumsick/

Brad
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Expert Comment

by:Delphineous Silverwing
ID: 20570832
PastorNeilH >>> It has been nearly a month, did either of our recommended first steps help resolve your issue?
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Expert Comment

by:Netman66
ID: 21167983
Check the Local and Keyboard mapping - it should not be US - International.

Let us know what you see there.
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Expert Comment

by:Vadim Rapp
ID: 21168037
From the description of all the symptoms, it appears that the computer thinks that shift key is depressed.

To verify this, I would try one of the many programs found by
http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&q=keyboard+key+indicator

Better yet, depending on the hardware, I would clean the electrical contact of the shift key with alcohol.
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Accepted Solution

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ericpete earned 125 total points
ID: 21168294
In Word: Tools/Options. Select the Edit tab. Uncheck the box that says Use Smart Cut And Paste and the box that says When Selecting Automatically Select Entire Word. That should take care of your mouse issue.

Accidentally hitting Ctrl-Shift-A will change everything to UPPERCASE until you undo it by hitting Ctrl-Shift-A. It's a little odd that your caps lock key would reverse it, but I don't have the same laptop, so who knows. You might also want to investigate the keyboard settings in your control panel. I type pretty quickly too, so I have the settings to respond a little more quickly than the default.

ep
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Joanne M. Orzech
ID: 21170271
You may want to try to delete the Word data registry key.  Instructions are found here - although I tend to think it's a bad keyboard.....

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822005/en-us
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Author Comment

by:PastorNeilH
ID: 21172854
Thank you to NetMinder and to EricPete.  As I said to NetMinder, most of my problem is in knowing what questions to ask.  I get easliy intimidated by even moderate levels of technical instruction.  I will be trying EricPete's suggestion for a few days to see if that solves the problem, at least mostly because the suggestion was easy to understand and apply.  I never know when the problem will strike.  

So a huge THANK YOU to all for suggestions.  If the "simple"fix doesn't work, then I'll try one of the others, although I may need to get someone with more technical expertise to apply those fixes.
Again,
Thanks
Neil
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:huntersvcs
ID: 21172887
Seen this happen sporadically on several XP Pro machines - even my own at home.  This is definitely (to me) an issue between sticky key option - registry - keyboard.  My personal quick fix when this happens:  I hit the shift key on the left side 3 times and then F12 - if that doesn't work, then I try it on the right side.  On very RARE occasions do I also have to include hitting the ALT key 2-4 times.  It definitely (for me) temporarily resolves the issue.  I think it would probably be more permanent when I changed the keyboard.  I have also seen this on notebooks.  The same quick-fix applies.  I found that on notebooks, the user generally has accidentally hit a key combination that activates the sticky-key function, even if it is not active!

Hope this helps.

Rick
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Expert Comment

by:ericpete
ID: 21173129
"...I found that on notebooks, the user generally has accidentally hit a key combination ..."

Rick,

That's kind of what I was thinking. I had to get a bigger laptop than I liked because my hands are pretty big; when I use my wife's smaller one, I'm always hitting combinations of keys unintentionally. Since the Ctrl and Shift keys are right next to each other, the Ctrl-Shift-A combination seems like a possibility.

The problem -- at least on my machine -- with it as a solution is that when it has been clicked (forcing upper case), the Caps Lock key has no effect.

ep
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LVL 11

Assisted Solution

by:huntersvcs
huntersvcs earned 125 total points
ID: 21173252
ericpete:  I know!  I have a wireless Logitech keyboard at home, and can see on the receiver when the CAP LOCK has been activated.  When those stupid sticky-keys activate, I can only get lower case when  I intentionally use the shift-key for caps.  Go figure!  That's why I use:  3x shift left + F12; 3x shift right + F12; 4x ALT.

Micro....:  It's not a bug, it's a feature!
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Author Closing Comment

by:PastorNeilH
ID: 31413323
Thank you all for your excellent advice.  I have waited a few days to see if the problem was solved or not.  A big part of the problem is my lack of ability to follow (for me) advanced solutions.  EricPete's suggestion I could follow, and it seems to be better.  Huntersvcs had a great practical quick fix that also works, and I am thinking more and more that I may need to replace the keyboard as well.  Many of the other suggestions are also probably correct, but I am intimidated by the solutions.
Thank you all.
Neil
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:ericpete
ID: 21241325
Closing comment:
=======
Thank you all for your excellent advice. I have waited a few days to see if the problem was solved or not. A big part of the problem is my lack of ability to follow (for me) advanced solutions. EricPete's suggestion I could follow, and it seems to be better. Huntersvcs had a great practical quick fix that also works, and I am thinking more and more that I may need to replace the keyboard as well. Many of the other suggestions are also probably correct, but I am intimidated by the solutions.
Thank you all.
Neil
=======

Thanks, Neil. I understand the intimidation factor; please don't let us impose that on you. There are occasions when we forget that we were all new at this once, and it will be most helpful if you remind us of that.

ep
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