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Keyboard malfunction - Word + Open Office

My word processors have become almost unsable -  both Word 97 and Open Office - as they don't respond properly to the keyboard and mouse, in particular to back space and highlighting

They respond intermittently, when you can break into a loop that seems to be running all the time. The only visible symptom is that the indicator at the bottom of a document on key board state which is either STD or EXT is flickering between the two all the time.

All other programs seem to work OK, except Adobe Reader which also flickers all the time, although less fast, so you can break into the loop more easily. Presumably this is some driver or other which has got corrupted, but which? And why only the word processoprs and adobe?
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Thanks -  that passmark software showed up that the F8 key was continually pressed