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ESC Key Not Working After Virus

RangerRick1 asked
Hi Experts:
I have a client who got the "WinAntiVirus" Virus. It was removed by malwarebytes and a variety of other removal tools. However, some damage remains.

Ever since the virus infection, the ESC key has ceased to work properly in windows. Pressing the ESC key in any application or anywhere inside the operating system appears to DO NOTHING. It does work normally in bios or if we start a boot disc... So it is NOT a hardware problem.

After trying to reload drivers (to no avail) -- I created a new user profile and tested and the ESC key works fine in the new profile. So it appears the damage may be in the user profile (probably registry?)

Does anyone know how to repair/reset keyboard and key functionality inside the user profile of Windows XP Pro? Is there a registry KEY I can copy from the new user profile to the existing profile to restore this functionality?

Setting up a new user profile will involve restoring Outlook/Email and a lot of other application data that seems to make just using a new user profile a lot of work ... we were hoping to repair the existing user profile and skip all the set up work of creating a new one...

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Tom ScottConsultant

It would probably take less time to build a new profile than to fix the existing one.  Plus, the ESC key issue might not be the only issue with this profile and you may have to perform other fixes as "new" issues become apparent.
Outlook and the other Office applications are already installed on the computer. So configuring a new profile should only take a few minutes. For most clerical workstations with Outlook and Office, it normally takes us about 15-30 minutes to setup a new profile with existing software.
 - Tom
Hey RangerRick:
Try editing these reg entries should solve you trouble with the escape key issue:

Associated Antivirus 2010 Windows Registry Information:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Browser Helper Objects\{FC8A493F-D236-4653-9A03-2BF4FD94F643}
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "Windows Gamma Display"

You also said you tried reloading keyboard driver.
did you uninstall then reinstall or just update?

I have used this link:

My wife infected one of our xp machine with this virus real pain :)

Distinguished Expert 2019

test if it works with another regional setting; then change back
Distinguished Expert 2019

you can also delete it from device manager, then run a scan for new hardware.
or - if it is an usb keyboard - connect it to another port - might work as well.
and of course, you can run sfc /scannow from the run box, or even  a repair install to fix the system files  :  
The client found the problem. It was "StickyKeys". They went to control panel - accessibility options - and unchecked "stickykeys". Then the ESC key started to function normally again.

I found a similar post here:

(in vista but the same symptom/problem)

We think the new user profile worked, incidently, because StickyKeys was either off by default or running in a different mode (see "keyboard assistance" in the article above).

It was good, however, to dicover the source of the problem and not have to set up a new user profile...

Thanks for all your suggestions, but looks like the client discovered the solution this time... We don't think the virus was a player after all either...