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Keyboard error typing symbols instead of numbers

Discussion in 'Software' started by danita_n, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. danita_n

    danita_n Private E-2

    I am trying to reinstall Windows XP on a HP ze4560us laptop. The computer was badly corrupted with a virus. I have reformatted the hard drive and flashed the BIOS. Now when I do to reinstall the Windows XP operating system disk, I am unable to type in the product code. The keyboard lets me type letters but it doesn't let me type numbers. It gives me symbols instead of the numbers. Can anyone help? I am about to throw the computer out the window.
  2. skolor

    skolor Private E-2

    Did you try holding down the shift key?

    Occasionally if you are holding down a button when turning on electronics, it will switch which way it works. I haven't seen that often in keyboards, but that may be what is happening.

    If possible, try using a usb keyboard. Your keyboard may be damaged.
  3. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    Agreed with skolor: this could very well be a 'Sticky Key', 'Scroll Lock', or 'Num Lock' problem...
  4. danita_n

    danita_n Private E-2

    Thought of shift key issue myself, not the problem or it did not correct it. Did try a USB keyboard but it didn't work at all. Plan next to try resetting BIOS to recognize USB keyboard instead of the laptop keyboard. Haven't had much time today.

    Here are few more things I have ran into.

    The symbols I am getting are the alternates for the numbers: example $ for 4, * for 8. I have checked the shift key and num lock. I can get upper and lower case letters. I only get lower case when I hold down the shift lock key. The embedded numeric keypad does not work either. It produces nothing when typing the numbers. I have pressed Fn+F8 to activate numeric keypad, and lock key to turn on number lock. It as though it is ignoring the number keys altogether.

    Also with no AltGr key on keyboard. Tried the CtrlAlt and typing a letter or number and it produces nothing also.

    Let me give both of you a little more info. As I said the computer was badly corrupted with a virus. I first tried reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system. That is when I first discovered the keyboard errors, symbols for number and the embedded numbers not working. I tried connecting a manual keyboard and mouse with no luck.
    I chatted with an HP tech and we checked the BIOS without the battery or hard drive. Could not get default BIOS due to 0251 error concerning date. Tech stated the BIOS was corrupt. He suggested flashing the BIOS.
    Made a bootable BIOS disk and flashed. Started the OS reinstall and still having the same problem.
    Next Tech thought it could be CMOS battery causing issue. Have not replace CMOS battery, but not sure how the CMOS battery could affect the keyboard.

    Any other suggestions.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  5. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    @danita_n: Strange problem! Agree that I can't see where a flaky battery could cause keyboard issues, but you never know - the problem is, most laptop CMOS batteries are almost impossible to replace...

    If you do decide to check the battery, however, while you've got the machine apart, you might check any visible cable connections, crimped cables, etc...I know: there aren't many cables in a portable, but I'm grabbing at straws, here...

    @arcie22: ???
  6. danita_n

    danita_n Private E-2


    I did try to find CMOS battery. I agree battery is almost impossible to replace. Had computer almost completely apart, but still was unable to access back of motherboard without damaging antenna wiring or soldered points. I did check for loose connections and made a point to check keyboard cable. Everything seemed to be fine.

    I going to check one more thing today. I plan to remove hard drive and battery, then flash BIOS again. If it is holding date and time, CMOS battery should not be the issue. Then I plan to connect a USB keyboard and mouse and bypass the laptop's.
    Spoke again with a tech at HP today. He mentioned keyboard drivers could be the problem. The problem I have is I can't get passed loading operating system to reinstall drivers.

    Question: Can I make a bootable disk to reinstall drivers or at least keyboard driver, before I try reinstalling operating system (Windows XP)?

    Just another quick note: I looked back at my notes on what had corrupted the computer. Found at least 2 virsuses, 3 worms and stopped counting at 11 trojans. Could any of those still be lingering and causing the keyboard to react odd? I would think with reformatting hard and flashing BIOS, I would have cleared any virsuses, worms or trojans.

    If all else fails, I can order another keyboard or send it back to HP for $398. For all of that trouble and cost, think I would suggest buying a new computer.

    Thanks for your response.
  7. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    Can't really see where corrupt keyboard drivers could be your problem, for the same reason the past-malware can't be your problem: after a format, everything is purged, Windows loads its own generic keyboard drivers at the semi-DOS level, and away the machine should go...

    $398! Yikes! For $398, I can buy a brand new Win 7 machine, and have enough left over for dinner and a movie - for two!

  8. danita_n

    danita_n Private E-2

    I agree $398 was a little too steep. I'm just trying to salvage the laptop for a friend with four kids college.

    Reformatting hard and flashing BIOS should have the laptop with a clean slate, right? So, if that's the case, then the keyboard has to be the issue. However, I would still hate to spend $50 bucks and it still not work. $50 would at least make a little dent in a new one.

    If you have any more suggestions send them on and if I get it going, I'll post my results.

    Thanks for all your help.
  9. Earthling

    Earthling Interplanetary Geek

    Could this possibly be a case of wrong default keyboard?

    Attached Files:

  10. satrow

    satrow Major Geek Extraordinaire

    If you do a fresh install, beginning with the USB keyboard connected after checking the BIOS options for legacy USB etc., you'll stand a better chance, I think.

    My money's on the keyboard/controller chip - if a reinstall with USB keyboard doesn't bypass the problem, I'd look at Ebay for a keyboard.
  11. necro61

    necro61 Specialist

    hey there,

    Do you get far enough into the install where it gives you the opporuninty to select regional languages and settings?

    As a poor alternative buy an adapter from the small laptop hdd to larger ide type ribbon put it on a desktop unit or alternatively another laptop, and then install windows, try placing the hdd back in the original laptop and you may have to do a repair install see if this works around it, but it sounds like one of the function buttons or one of the shift keys could be an issue, either that or language settings provides options for currency and keyboard type setting like location US / UK / etc.. somwhere in the install process

    can you disable the laptop keyboard or enable usb keyboard in the bios? to get the usb one you tried to work?

    G.luck guy laptops are not my fav to work on either...:wave
  12. danita_n

    danita_n Private E-2

    Can't believe after all this work and too many hour, it was a simple fix.

    Necro61 figured it out. During the reinstall I skipped the screen and opporunity to select the regional languages and settings. After reading Necro61 question it made me think. So, rebooted with the Windows XP recovery disk and waited for the screen to appear. I then checked each option under each tab or button. Really didn't change anything but by accident switched it to a UK keyboard and then switched it back. That switch must have reset the keyboard.

    Necro61 don't know how to thank you. Caliban saw your reference to Occam's Razor and it made me think. I was making it more complicated than it needed to be.

    Thanks to all who responded. If I can ever be of help, let me know.

  13. necro61

    necro61 Specialist

    Hey there,

    Glad to have helped, hopefully your Christmas will be a little less stressful now...

    Later guy:wave
  14. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    Good shot, necro, and glad you got it sorted, Danita...

    Warm fuzzy feelings for Christmas - gotta love it! ;)

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