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My wife and I have near-matching Compaq laptops, several years old (model Evo N600 and 610, if that helps). Everything is pretty much interchangeable between the two computers – hard drives, CD drive, batteries, wireless cards, etc. Both have had the stock 30g hard drives replaced with aftermarket 80g drives. The aftermarket drives are from two different manufacturers.

The problem is with my laptop. Several buttons on the keyboard will quit working at random. More specifically, it’s the same keys – letter “i,” “s” numeral “8,” “End” key, etc. But sometimes they’ll just quit working. Later they will work again, or some will work and some won’t, etc. Like I said, “random.”

Here’s the kicker. Since my wife has another laptop from her employer and really doesn’t use her Compaq much, I decided to swap out the hard drives and switch computers, since the keyboard on hers works fine. Well, within a few weeks the keyboard on her computer (now mine), the same keys started acting up! And get this – she’s telling me that she’s having no problems with the keyboard on my computer (now hers).

The only thing I can figure is that there is come kind of conflict between my hard drive and the computer, since the problem seems to move with the hard drive. Has anyone ever heard of any such thing? I’m thinking about getting a new hard drive, maybe one identical to the one in my wife’s to see if that will solve the problem.

Any ideas?

Regards,
Wayne

 

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Its sounding like a keyboard driver issue, Have you tried to reinstall the driver? Its located in the control panel under Printers and Other Hardware.
 

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:heehee:
 

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I concur that the problem is almost certainly some driver or program on the hard drive that is executing rather than the hard drive itself being the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The file may be corrupt. Download the driver from Compaq and install it.

http://welcome.hp.com/country/us/en/support.html
My wife says she got the driver from the HP website (she's the family computer guru). So I dunno...


I concur that the problem is almost certainly some driver or program on the hard drive that is executing rather than the hard drive itself being the problem.
How would I go about figuring out what was causing the problem? Seems like an impossible mission...

Regards,
Wayne

 

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Have you thought about rebuilding that hard drive from scratch? I would have thought keyboard driver but there could be more going on then that.
 

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One way to find if a fresh install of Windows would fix your problem is to boot with a "live" CD first.

The best CD to use would be Ultimate Boot CD for Windows since it is a real XP-based disk. The down-side to this is that you have to build your own disk. It isn't all that hard, but it can be a bit intimidating. You also need a real XP CD with at least SP1 on it to make this thing. The up-side is that you are booting a "real" version of XP from the CD and can use all the programs you are familiar with.

http://www.ubcd4win.com/index.htm

The other way to go is with a Linux-based Live CD. The smallest ISO I could find that sounds like it might work is called SliTaz at only about a 30MB ISO image. Just download the ISO and burn it to a CD then boot from that CD. Just answer 3 questions having to do with what keyboard you want to use (US) and pick a screen resolution to use from a list and you are done. Linux boots up rapidly and if your network card has been detected (mine wasn't) you can surf the 'net with Firefox 3 that is included on the CD. Even if you can't use the internet to try out your system, it does come with a text editor and a Office-type word processor so you can try writing the Great American Novel while waiting for the keyboard to act up.

http://www.slitaz.org/en/get/#stable

Either of these Live CD's would use a different OS setup than you get booting from your HDD. If whichever one you try doesn't show the key problem then you are probably looking at reinstalling your OS on that laptop drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Have you thought about rebuilding that hard drive from scratch? I would have thought keyboard driver but there could be more going on then that.
Wow, I had no idea that people could even build their on hard drives, much less one for a lap top. I'm sure it's all way over my head.

I'll have my wife look at the other options you guys mentioned and see if she thinks its something she can do.

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Wow, I had no idea that people could even build their on hard drives, much less one for a lap top. I'm sure it's all way over my head.

I'll have my wife look at the other options you guys mentioned and see if she thinks its something she can do.
I believe what was meant was to reinstall Windows and your programs onto the hard drive after it had been reformatted. It's hard to believe it, but the hard drives that we use today are still basically using the same technology they did 30 some years ago! I thought we would be using holographic crystals by now. :bigsmile:

Give that SliTaz Linux live CD a shot. The problem I was having not being able to connect to the internet with it was due to me having 2 ethernet ports in my PC and my modem was on the 2nd one (long story). I just moved it to the first port and it works great! This is a minimal Linux system, but it will let you do a fair amount of stuff for only being 30MB! It will at least do to tell if your keyboard is acting up. :T

It just struck me that some people may never have heard of "live" CD's before. :doh: These are CD's that you put in your CD/DVD drive on your PC and when you reboot the PC the machine will boot from the CD and not your hard drive. This allows you to try out a new operating system without having to install it to a hard drive or to use such a disc to get into diagnostic mode and troubleshoot a sick PC. The main "problem" with live CD's is that since everything is run from the CD they can be slow about launching programs. The SliTaz CD loads a lot of stuff into memory so that isn't much of a problem. Booting from it bypasses ALL of the Windows drivers and such (you're running Linux not Windows) so if your PC works well with it you know that the problem is with the Windows software setup. This is how I diagnosed a problem a friend was having with her laptop PC; it would work fine, but about every 30 seconds it would "die" for about 1/2 second and this made it almost unusable! The laptop worked fine with a Linux live CD. The problem ended up being that Windows was polling the status of the laptop's battery, even though it was plugged into main power, and not getting a response. Linux wasn't set up to do that so it worked fine. The "fix" was getting a new battery; totally removing the battery also worked.
 

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The boot sequence in the bios would have to be set for CD first, correct?
Yes, that is correct. Thanks for mentioning that!

It is also possible to boot a PC from a USB "thumbdrive" if the PC BIOS can be set to do so (most newer ones can), and many of the live CD's can be moved to such a drive.

I don't want to hijack this thread and turn it into a Linux discussion, but Linux has a lot going for it. It's primary hindrance is also it's primary strength which is that it is different than Windows and proud of it. The main obstacle for me using it as my primary OS is I have gotten too used to the simplistic alphabetic drive names in Windows and the auto-mounting of drives by Windows. I'm still looking for a Linux distribution that has these features, but the Linux community seems to detest Windows so much that such a thing would almost be cause to kick the offending distro out of the Linux club. :dontknow:
 

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Discussion Starter #17

For reasons I won't go into, I didn't like my wife's laptop, so we switched the hard drives back again. IOW, my hard drive is back in my laptop, where it was originally, as is hers.

Get this - now she's telling me the whole right side of her keyboard isn't working!!! I think that rules out the possibility that the problem was something with my hard drive. These things have always been a bit "blinky." They came with so many bugs that by the time you downloaded all the patches, the operating system was using up 15 gig - fully half of the stock hard drive!

One thing's for sure, we're done with Compaq computers, home-town brand or not (we also have a Compaq desktop that's nothing to write home about, either).

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Glad to see you back on the forums Wayne, hope your Better Half is recuperating nicely. :T

This keyboard problem is sounding more and more like a hardware issue. If your laptop will accept one, try using a standard keyboard and see if the problem is still there.
 

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Discussion Starter #19

Yes, she's coming along nicely, thanks for asking. Already hobbling around the house on a cane (already graduated from a walker).

This keyboard problem is sounding more and more like a hardware issue. If your laptop will accept one, try using a standard keyboard and see if the problem is still there.
Yeah, should have mentioned that right up front, my goof: An external keyboard works just fine. :huh:

Regards,
Wayne
 
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