Windows 10 Keyboard Typing Random Characters

Windows 10 Keyboard Typing Random Characters

About 6 months ago I started experiencing one of the most bizarre problems I’ve encountered in my 25 years in IT.

Random characters in the Windows 10 login screen

With no rhyme or reason nor predictable trigger that I could see, sometimes when my computer boots up, the keyboard types random characters.

This occurs immediately upon boot-up meaning that I cannot even enter my password at the login screen with the physical keyboard, I have to use the on-screen keyboard (which works perfectly).

At the time of writing, I don’t have a fix but I thought I’d write a post of the situation in the hopes it will provide a focus point for others having the same issue.

Random chracters also affect other input boxes such as the wifi password box

So here’s what I’ve discovered:

  • It’s not a weird character mapping issue or other keyboard layout that’s kicked in, I know this because pressing the same key twice gives a different character.
  • Re-enforcing the point above, if I type the 26 characters of the alphabet, many characters are repeated (and obviously many ommitted).
  • The problem occurs randomly, probably 1 in 10 boot-ups.
  • Sometimes simply rebooting clears the problem.
  • The problem isn’t isolated to the login box, it occurs on any input (tested by trying to enter wifi passwords prior to logging in).
  • The problem occurs on my laptop with the built-in keyboard and also when I use a docking station and USB external keyboard.
  • If I click the accessbility icon and use the on-screen keyboard to login, that works fine.
  • If I login successfully (using the on-screen keyboard), my keyboard starts working again once I’m in.
  • The problem has spanned multiple major Windows 10 version upgrades.
  • I’ve had this laptop for 5+ years, it has had various flavours of Linux, Windows 7 and Windows 8 installed, none of which have had the problem.

I saw a post saying that Shift + Alt may solve the problem, at the time of writing I haven’t had the chance to test this but will next time it occurs!


Bob McKay

About Bob McKay

Bob McKay works at Perfect Image, is a father, programmer and a self confessed techie-geek type.

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