UPDATE 30 Dec 2019: After visiting family and finding they had the same issue with random characters in the save dialog box, I realised the only common software we had on our systems other than the Windows 10 operating system was Sophos Home Premium. I dug around the settings a little bit and found an option which solved the problem (see below).
For anyone looking to really dig in to Windows 10, I’d recommend [easyazon_link keywords=”Windows 10 Advanced” locale=”US” tag=”bobmckay-20″]one of the Windows 10 Advanced guides[/easyazon_link].
To find and disable this option, double click the Sophos icon in your system tray and click Settings:
When the settings page has loaded in your web browser, on your dashboard click Protection then cick Web and then clock Advanced Settings under the Safe Online Banking section:
When the box expands, click the right hand circle next to the Protect Against Keyloggers option (it wlll turn red):
About 6 months ago I started experiencing one of the most bizarre problems I’ve encountered in my 25 years in IT.
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).
I also then discovered that after using the computer with no problems, I would attempt to save a file and the same thing would occur when trying to enter a filename in the save dialog box.
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.
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!