1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    12
    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
        Me
      • Motherboard:
        ASRock Z87 OC Formula
      • CPU:
        Intel i5-4670K 4.6GHz
      • Memory:
        Corsair DDR3 16GB 2400MHz
      • Graphics:
        AMD Radeon HD 7950
      • Hard Drives:
        Samsung EVO 850 250GB x2
      • Disk Drives:
        Several HDD
      • Power Supply:
        EVGA Supernova 750 G3
      • Case:
        Cooler Master ATCS 840
      • Cooling:
        Many Noctua fans
      • Display:
        HP Pavilion 32" 2560x1440
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro

    Computer periodically overwhelmed by phantom keypresses

    Once every few weeks, I'll be typing along, and all of a sudden, endless repetitions of the letter 'w' will start to appear in whatever program I'm in. Switching the focus to another program simply redirects the stream of 'w's (always 'w's) to that other program. The only way to get rid of the problem is to reboot.

    At first, the most obvious culprit seemed to be the keyboard, so I swapped it out for a known good keyboard. This made no difference whatsoever.

    My keyboard is connected to my computer by a PS-2 extension cable, and while cable failures are typically rare, this cable is about 24 years old. As it's very cheap to replace, I ordered a replacement cable, and I hope that it will fix this problem.

    Is there any way that this could be a software problem? I don't see how. If swapping the extension cable out for a new one doesn't fix the problem, it seems to me that the evidence points to the motherboard, and that a motherboard replacement would be required. (I just replaced the power supply, with no effect.) Does my reasoning seem to be correct? If the cable replacement doesn't fix the problem, is there anything other than the motherboard that could be causing the problem?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


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  2. #2
    Digerati's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    3,447
    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
        BrightWorks Systems
      • Model Number:
        BWS-6 E-IV
      • Motherboard:
        Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3
      • CPU:
        Intel Core i5-6600 Skylake Pushed to 3.9GHz
      • Memory:
        2 X 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000
      • Graphics:
        EVGA GeForce GTX 1050TI 04G-P4-6251-KR, 4GB GDDR5
      • Sound Card:
        Integrated
      • Disk Drives:
        Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Blu-ray R/W
      • Power Supply:
        EVGA Supernova 550W Gold
      • Case:
        Fractal Design Define R4 Mid Tower w/Window
      • Cooling:
        2 x 140mm case fans, OEM CPU Cooler
      • Display:
        2 x Samsung S24E650BW 24 inch WS
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit

    Re: Computer periodically overwhelmed by phantom keypresses

    I am confused. You said you tried a different keyboard and got the same results. Then you say something about an extension cord. So did the 2nd keyboard run through this same extension cord? Have tried without the extension cord?

    Have you tried connecting a keyboard via USB instead of PS-2?

    Tell us more about your computer and version of Windows? Have you have scanned for malware?

    Cable failures are rare when the cable never moves. But if the cable is regularly moved about, they will eventually wear out. And 24 years is a very long time. The copper inside is not the problem, but the insulation can break down (especially if exposed to the sun/UV). And connectors can wear out - especially if the cables entering the connector is subjected to movements, tugs and trip-overs.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    MS MVP 2007 - 2018

    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    12
    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
        Me
      • Motherboard:
        ASRock Z87 OC Formula
      • CPU:
        Intel i5-4670K 4.6GHz
      • Memory:
        Corsair DDR3 16GB 2400MHz
      • Graphics:
        AMD Radeon HD 7950
      • Hard Drives:
        Samsung EVO 850 250GB x2
      • Disk Drives:
        Several HDD
      • Power Supply:
        EVGA Supernova 750 G3
      • Case:
        Cooler Master ATCS 840
      • Cooling:
        Many Noctua fans
      • Display:
        HP Pavilion 32" 2560x1440
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro

    Re: Computer periodically overwhelmed by phantom keypresses

    Quote Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
    I am confused. You said you tried a different keyboard and got the same results. Then you say something about an extension cord. So did the 2nd keyboard run through this same extension cord? Have tried without the extension cord?
    Both keyboards used the extension cord. Unfortunately, my keyboard is far enough away from the computer that the extension cord is a necessity. I can't simply hook up the keyboard directly, as it's not really usable that way (far from the monitor and all that), and this problem happens only once every few weeks. Although a cable problem does seem unlikely, it is also the easiest to check for, so I have ordered a replacement cable for $5 and will see if this fixes the problem.
    Have you tried connecting a keyboard via USB instead of PS-2?
    No; I don't have the necessary hardware on hand. However, I suppose that if I get the same problem with the new PS-2 cable, this might be something cheap to try, as it's possible that the PS-2 port on the motherboard has simply gone bad. Does this sound reasonable?
    Tell us more about your computer and version of Windows? Have you have scanned for malware?
    I am running the latest version of Windows 10 x64. The computer is home built. The CPU is an Intel i5-4670K (first generation Haswell), while the motherboard is an ASRock Z87 OC Formula. The CPU was overclocked at 4.7GHz for several years with zero problems; I am currently running it at 4.4Ghz, and still getting the phantom keypresses.

    I have always run good antimalware; I have never had a malware infection. I am currently running the Pro version of Malwarebytes, which scans daily. My firewall is the free Comodo firewall.

  4. #4
    Digerati's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    3,447
    • specs System Specs
      • Manufacturer:
        BrightWorks Systems
      • Model Number:
        BWS-6 E-IV
      • Motherboard:
        Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3
      • CPU:
        Intel Core i5-6600 Skylake Pushed to 3.9GHz
      • Memory:
        2 X 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000
      • Graphics:
        EVGA GeForce GTX 1050TI 04G-P4-6251-KR, 4GB GDDR5
      • Sound Card:
        Integrated
      • Disk Drives:
        Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Blu-ray R/W
      • Power Supply:
        EVGA Supernova 550W Gold
      • Case:
        Fractal Design Define R4 Mid Tower w/Window
      • Cooling:
        2 x 140mm case fans, OEM CPU Cooler
      • Display:
        2 x Samsung S24E650BW 24 inch WS
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit

    Re: Computer periodically overwhelmed by phantom keypresses

    Does this sound reasonable?
    Yes, but that motherboard certainly supports USB keyboards. I would certainly go that way instead of PS/2 if possible. You might also consider a wireless keyboard.

    Since PS/2 is really an obsolete I/O interface, does your keyboard maker even provide a W10 driver for it?

    BTW, Windows Defender plays really well with Malwarebytes Premium without hogging resources or causing conflicts. That's what I am doing on 3 systems here. In your Malwarebytes menu, under Settings > Application > Windows Action Center, tick the button for "Never register Malwarebytes in the Windows Action Center". This step will stop Windows Defender from disabling itself when Malwarebytes is detected.

    Don't let anyone tell you Windows Defender is not capable of protecting you. Those people are most likely just Microsoft haters. While Microsoft does not code WD to score well in simulated lab tests (because they don't need the advertising fodder), do note Windows Defender keeps getting better and better and even bested many fan favorites in AV-Test's latest round of tests in the critical category of "Protection" (click in the Protection column title to sort). When run with Windows 10, it beat out the likes of Panda, Norton, Trend Micro, VIPRE, Avira, BullGuard, ESET and others!

    While Comodo is a nice firewall, the Windows Firewall is nothing to sneeze at either - and very light on resources too.

    I am not suggesting you change from your current setup. I am just saying don't let rumors and falsehoods stop you from using Windows 10 WD and WF.
    niemiro says thanks for this.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    MS MVP 2007 - 2018

    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

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