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strange laptop keyboard behaviour

Posted on 2015-01-12
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I am replacing the keyboard on a Dell Vostro 1520. A simple process (I have done a few of these).
However, I am having the strangest problem.
All the keys work and all are correctly as labelled, except the bottom line of the keyboard:
\ZXCVBNM<>?
seems to be offset by one so when I press \ I get Z, press Z I get X, press C I get V and so on.

Could this be in the regional settings? I have never heard of a setting that completely changes the whole of one line of keys!

Thanks for your time on this bizarre problem.
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Question by:NELMO
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40543926
Check if you connected the connectors properly. If you did not change anything in regional settings before replacing the keyboard they must remain the same.

If all connectors are tight and connected properly then navigate to this address in your computer
Control Panel\Clock, Language, and Region\Language

then you see the language used by our pc

then navigate to this address
Control Panel\Clock, Language, and Region\Language\Language options

click on preview and see how the layout looks and your keyboards

if it is different then navigate to the first address and select add a new language select english and there are 16 types of english select and check which one matches your keyboard and then select that language and set it as default for keyboard layout
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by:Kimputer
ID: 40543955
Since there are no regional setting that can change what you are experiencing (while it can change to many settings, like qwerty to azerty, offset exactly one on the lower row is not a language I know), it's most likely a manufacturing error. If you didn't seat the cabling correctly, you would get really weird results, not a perfect one offset.
One other way to prove you didn't do anything wrong is start a linux boot usb/dvd and use the default settings (will default to US keyboard). You will see the 1 key offset is still there.
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by:dbrunton
ID: 40544043
Does the laptop take an external keyboard and if it does, does the problem still occur?

If it doesn't then the problem lies in the keyboard or the connection.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40544045
It sounds like a regional setting. Differences for example between a US English and UK English keyboard are that the key before the "Z" is an "\". So you are probably using a US keyboard, but your OS is set to a UK keyboard...
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Kimputer earned 500 total points
ID: 40544079
The US / UK regional settings assumption is wrong, if the Z is slightly to the lower right of the A key. If the position is correct, it can't be a regional settings, otherwise blind typers would freak out (and right now, blind typers can use UK keyboards without problems). And therefore it's a manufacturing error (internal electronics sending wrong signal). If the Z is to the lower left of the S, well, then it's still a manufacturing error (external keys placed wrongly).
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by:rindi
ID: 40544089
No, the layout of US and UK keyboards are different. On US keyboards the backslash is at the other end of the keyboard above the right shift key, while on a keyboard with UK layout it is next to the left shift key, just before the "Z", and that is exactly what the asker gets, he presses, what looks like the \ key and gets a Z.

Check the wikipedia site below, it shows the differences in UK and US keyboard layouts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_and_American_keyboards
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by:Kimputer
ID: 40544115
Yes please take a closer look at the wiki page. If you look closely the Z is ALWAYS to the lower left of the A. I'm pretty sure the asker, having replaced many keyboards, would notice if the Z WASN'T in the right spot.
So as I said, any blind typer can use US or UK keyboard (for the letters at least), and therefore it can't be a regional settings change.
Also, I always double check (i.e. I already added UK keyboards many times, the Z is ALWAYS Z, even though I already know, as I'm a blind typer and know US/UK keyboards don't pose problems, only major changes like Azerty)
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Author Closing Comment

by:NELMO
ID: 40544303
Thanks Kimputer

I was sure the regional settings were correct, and they were. I asked hoping there was some obscure keyboard layout that may have caused the problem in the hope of not having to get another keyboard.
I have to agree that the problem must be a manufacturing problem. I have had this keyboard on the shelf for quite a while and therefore cannot return it as faulty. I tried the keyboard from another Vostro and it worked fine, so I will just have to cough up another £9 on Amazon and buy a replacement.
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Author Comment

by:NELMO
ID: 40549200
I am now the owner of a second Vostro laptop keyboard. . . . . neither of which work!

The same problem occurs with the bottom line of the keyboard.

Plugging an external USB keyboard works fine.

Tried all options with Windows language settings, just in case.

The ribbon from the keyboard is fitted correctly (you can't really get this wrong)

I am completely at a loss for this
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by:dbrunton
ID: 40549666
>>  I tried the keyboard from another Vostro and it worked fine,

>> I am now the owner of a second Vostro laptop keyboard

So one keyboard worked and another one didn't?  If so it seems there are incompatible Vostro keyboards.
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Author Comment

by:NELMO
ID: 40550789
Ignore the trying of a keyboard from another Vostro. I got my jobs and Vostro's mixed up.
It definitely does not work. None of them do.
But a plug in USB keyboard does. So that rules out any operating system language problems.
This has to be a hardware problem. But where?
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by:noxcho
ID: 40550827
In hardware itself. Are you 100% sure that the contacts are working properly? I would boot the machine from Linux CD like PartedMagic - open there a Text Editor and see if I get the same problem. Then you can be 100% sure it is a hardware problem.
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Expert Comment

by:Kimputer
ID: 40550905
There's another test you could do, and that's testing the keyboard itself on a WORKING laptop. If the suspected "broken" keyboard suddenly works properly, it means the problem was the laptop itself all along.
If the keyboard is really broken, it means you still have to get another keyboard (and while they all look alike, maybe Dell made a batch that is meant for another laptop but physically FITS your laptop. You have to compare the type/model number of the keyboard itself, there's probably a slight difference between the really working keyboard, and the 2 "defective" ones you have.
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by:noxcho
ID: 40550915
I would first confirm that in Linux it is the same.
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by:Kimputer
ID: 40550948
Linux will show the WHOLE system has a problem (which we actually already know, as the USB keyboard is working).
So we now need to know if it's the keyboard or the laptop (connection/motherboard/etc).
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40550961
You said it is manufacturing error. He replaced the keyboard. Seems now it is complete motherboard manufacturing error according to your words. But I prefer to go empiric way. Test - works/won't work. No blind assumption. So let him confirm it works or not works in Linux.
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by:Kimputer
ID: 40550978
The working USB keyboard doesn't make it a blind assumption, it makes it a fact.
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