Weirdest Hardware Problem I've Ever Had Called In to HelpDesk

Posted on 2011-04-26
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I had a client of mine who is on our help desk contract call in with one of the weirdest problems I have ever heard in my 12 years of computer work.  If you have insight into this one, you deserve 500 points.

Problem: Application window becomes transparent when trying to enter text via keyboard.  

What is going on:  This is a RANDOM phenomenon, doesn't happen every time.  Has no apparent reason when it happens.  

User opens any application in Windows 7 Professional computer (any application such as Excel, AutoDesk, etc.).  When they click in a text field with the mouse and begin going to the keyboard to input text, as soon as their hands hover above the keyboard the application window becomes transparent (you can only see the outline of the window).  They cannot do anything except take the mouse and click back on the application a couple of times to apparently "awaken" the application.  It may take two or three times to awaken it.  Then they can type in text.

They do not touch the keyboard or move any wires.  It happens as soon as their hands get near the keyboard.

I have no idea why this would happen.  I've suggested an exorcism on the machine.  :)

Any thoughts would be appreciated b/c I have nothing on this case.
Question by:mjoiner
    LVL 13

    Accepted Solution

    Sounds to me like you need to uninstall and re-install updated video drivers. This could be a problem with the Aero feature. I would try disabling this as well. In the bottom right on the taskbar the show desktop button does this exact same thing.

    I'd run these as well as a just in case:

    These tools can help diagnose the cause:
    Process Explorer:
       Process Monitor:
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    My notebook has a light detector, that dims the screen when I hover my hands close to it (because it detects less luminescence).

    Maybe this is the case? Or related to power saving settings?

    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    by:Kris Montgomery
    Have you considered psychiatric treatment yourself?   Can anyone else see the "user" that you speak of?

    Try it with a different keyboard to remove the keyboard as a variable from the poltergeist computer issue.


    Author Closing Comment

    Unbelievable, but it is the show desktop icon in lower right hand corner of desktop taskbar.  Somehow, most of the time the user inadvertently landed his cursor exactly on this icon and by the time his hands reached the keyboard the window went transparent.  How unusual is this to happen more than 10 times each day?  Goes against all the odds, but I guess the person is very precise and repetitive with their mouse movements.  :)

    thanks for all the comments.  I felt quite silly on this one, but I guess no question is a dumb one...although this one was close.

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