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'Tab' key not working anymore....

Discussion in 'Software' started by dlb, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    Win7 X64 Home Premium - up until about 3 or 4 days ago, my 'Tab' key worked fine on my USB keyboard. For example- when I log in to my email, I'd type my account name, hit 'Tab', and type in the password. Now when I hit 'Tab', the cursor does not jump down to the next box, the cursor simply goes away and the open Firefox window is 'deactivated' and I have to click in the password box to type it in.... weird. I tried a different USB keyboard, and I even powered down and tried a PS2 keyboard, the same thing happens with those so I know it isn't a keyboard issue, it's a Windows issue. Somehow the programming for the 'Tab' key has gone out of whack. The only thing different I've done lately was to install a few different video converters (I had about 50 Roadrunner and Wile-E Coyote cartoons to transcode LOL ) until I found one to suit my needs. I don't think a video converter would knock out my 'Tab' key, but who knows.... any thoughts, suggestions, advice, or input will be appreciated.

  2. brandypeppy

    brandypeppy MajorGeek

    Just curious Dlb, does the tab key work in notepad or a word document?

    Is it possible some change could have been made to the keyboard in the Ease of Access in control panel, (I believe that's what is called in W7)? Though I wouldn't know how to change the tab key, just a spot to poke around.

    And here's something about a program called Sharp Keys, though I have never used it and cannot attest to its integrity;
  3. plastidust

    plastidust Command Sergeant Major

    Are you sure it's a Windows issue and not a Firefox issue? Got any add-ons that might cause this? Maybe try the Firefox safe mode routine.
  4. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    Good ideas! Thanks! I'm still at work for the next 2 hours or so, but when I get home, I'll try this stuff and we'll what happens....
  5. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    OK- I'm at home now.... I've tried using the 'Tab' key in Opera, IE, Word2003, Firefox, WordPad.... it does the exact same thing regardless of the program: the cursor disappears and the active window is 'deactivated'. This doesn't mean the window is closed, but it's 'turned off' the same way it would be if you were to single click somewhere outside the borders of the open window; a single click inside the window re-activates it.... it's just really weird that my 'Tab' key has been deprogrammed....
  6. plastidust

    plastidust Command Sergeant Major

    Seems more like it's been reprogrammed. What happens it you hit the Tab several times? Say if you have more than one window open, does it deactivate the one you're in and activate the next one?
  7. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    Nothing happens - it deactivates the top window, and that's it. The other open windows do not come to the 'top' as the active window. The top open active window is simply deactivated but it stays on top.....
    :confused :confused :confused
  8. plastidust

    plastidust Command Sergeant Major

    I'm just guessing at things dlb, but I've mine set up so the active window doesn't necessarily have to be on top. But I'm not running Win7 either. What ever window the mouse cursor is sitting in is the active window but it doesn't become the top window unless I've clicked on it somewhere. Tweek UI. The "Tab" key doesn't affect anything though.
  9. brandypeppy

    brandypeppy MajorGeek

    That is very strange, but I've been running into a number of "strange" issues with W7.

    I'd consider a system restore to a time b/4 this problem. I have solved a number of W7 issues with this.

    Just love these new OS's!:wave:wave
  10. collinsl

    collinsl MajorGeek

    What happens if you alt-tab into another program? Does this still work?
  11. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    Yeah- Alt+Tab works just fine, does exactly what it should.... I'm trying to avoid a system restore 'cuz I've had very inconsistent results from using system restore in the past. Sometimes it works perfect and solves the problem, other times it does not solve the problem and it creates 2 or 3 new ones....

    Thanks for the help so far! Let's try to get this sorted out! :-D
  12. collinsl

    collinsl MajorGeek

    Try changing your keyboard layout to a different one using the location dialogue in Control Panel. Then change it back straight away.
  13. brandypeppy

    brandypeppy MajorGeek

    That's a great idea! I can't tell you how many things on the computer I've fixed just by turning it off, then back on. Makes me look smart when I haven't got the fogiest idea as to why that worked!:)
  14. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    Yeah- I'll try it right now!
  15. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    :dancer :hyper :dood :celebrate IT WORKED!!!!
    I went to the keyboard settings, and didn't see anything that looked helpful, but I saw a setting where I could change the country I was in. So I selected the United Kingdom and clicked "Apply". Then I selected Togo, and clicked "Apply". Then I selected a country I have never heard of -I don't remember the name- and clicked "Apply". Then I selected the good ol' U S of A and clicked "Apply". It worked! You don't know how handy the "Tab" key is until it isn't working right.

    THANK YOU COLLINSL!!! I never would have thought of this "fix"!!! You rock!! :dood
  16. collinsl

    collinsl MajorGeek

    Glad I could help you. :)

    Sometimes purging Windows settings by changing values to something else and then back again is all it takes to fix a corrupted keymap.
  17. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    :cry :banghead

    It's back to not working again!!!! I tried the same 'fix' I tried before, and no dice. I know I can try a System Restore, but I'm not going to. I've had much inconsistency with System Restore over the years and I'm not going to take the risk. I think I'll live with problem for now.... hopefully a more permanent fix can be found.... hmmmm.... I just thought of something..... maybe I can remove the keyboard via the Device Manager, and then reboot w/o the keyboard plugged in, then plug it in once the desktop loads up.....
  18. collinsl

    collinsl MajorGeek

    Sounds like Windows may be corrupted. A sys restore might be the only easy way of fixing it, that or a format and reinstall.
  19. brandypeppy

    brandypeppy MajorGeek

    Sorry to hear.

    Another possible solution;

  20. plodr

    plodr Major Geek Super Extraordinaire

    How about sfc /scannow ?
  21. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    Thanks for the input folks.... I'm still researching the issue, and we'll see what happens. If anyone comes across something, please post it!!!

  22. plastidust

    plastidust Command Sergeant Major

    Well... I'm a little slow, but I managed to replicate your "Tab" key phenomena, to some extent.

    By pressing and holding the "Windows" key and tapping the "Tab" key, the exact same thing happens as what you've described. I did notice that the mouse pointer always ends up in the same blank area of the taskbar. Does the pointer do the same thing when you tap the "Tab" key?

    After stumble searching around I came across this article at Wikipedia. When I reached the Criticisms and solutions contents section, the first sentence is what caught my eye.

    I'm not saying you're hitting the "Windows" key, but maybe when you hit the "Tab" key, some how the "Windows" key + the "Tab" key combination is being invoked or triggered. Of course, there could be other key combinations that cause the same thing to happen. Or maybe I'm so far off the mark that I can't even see the planet:foolish

    There is also mention of a registry edit that can dissable the "Windows" key, but I'm not one to go trampling around in the registry to experiment.

    Thought maybe it was worth looking into. Could also be a waste of time to look at.
  23. brandypeppy

    brandypeppy MajorGeek

    Plastidust's comments made me think of sticky keys. Seems sometimes that feature can screw up the keyboard.

    Tap the shift key five times, follow the menu from there. I don't think this is the answer but it is worth looking at. Change some settings, then change back maybe.:wave:wave
  24. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    :-o Sometimes I'm not too bright, I swear.
    I tend to leave my PC on for days at a stretch w/o rebooting. Last night, I decided to reboot and now the Tab key works fine! So, obviously one of the apps I run on a regular basis is throwing the Tab key out of whack. I have a feeling that it's one of the video converters that I installed right before the issue showed up. Now it's a matter of running some apps, one at a time, then testing the Tab key, until the culprit is found and removed.

    Again, thanks for all the help!

    :confused [dlb] :-o
  25. dlb

    dlb MajorGeek

    U P D A T E : (if anybody gives a :crap )

    OK- my Tab key still goes out every so often, and I haven't paid close enough attention to figure out which app is responsible, but it seems that each time it goes apeshi*t, a quick reboot fixes the problem....
  26. plodr

    plodr Major Geek Super Extraordinaire

    I was reading with interest. Thanks for posting. Sometimes when a problem can't be fixed, a workaround is good. At least you found a pretty easy workaround.
  27. InfamousCow

    InfamousCow Private E-2

    For what its worth, I have the same problem with my Laptop (Vista). While I haven't figured out the cause I do know how to "fix" it without rebooting. When the problem occurs hold down ALT and press Tab a few times, press Escape a few times, then hold down the Windows Key and press Tab a few times. Throw in a couple of Escapes for good luck and the problem goes away. Note that if you don't have Aero enabled you won't be able to use Windows + Tab combo which may or may not affect the effectiveness of the work-around.
  28. mikeki

    mikeki Private E-2

    I've had this exact problem happen to me a few times before. The solution was to remove the keyboard driver and then reboot.

    There is a longer description here:
    Tab key not working anymore.

    Hope this helps.
  29. faust6669

    faust6669 Private E-2

    i swear to god i had the exact same problem and someone suggested the alt key might be sticking. so i jabbed it a few times. it worked.

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