Enter Key Executes By Itself

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trope
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Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by trope » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:52 am

Am using 18.1 Serena on a Dell latitude e6440 and the Enter key frequently executes by itself, and continuously. Eg, if the "Computer" icon on the desktop is highlighted, I can suddenly get gazillions of windows opening by itself until I hit "Escape" to stop it. It can happen on any screen, including the terminal. It it getting dangerous in that I don't want to open any sensitive application because I have no idea what can happen with continuous enters before I am able to stop it. It does not seem to be related to pressing any key because even when only using the mouse it happens.

I am not sure if it is an issue with the laptop or the OS. I have only noticed the behavior with this particular key.

Looking for ideas or if anyone has experienced it before.

Is there a setting in Mint I could change, eg could it be a keyboard sensitivity issue? Once in a blue moon the mouse seems to get erratic, jumps from place to place.
I could try installing a different version of Mint.
Last edited by trope on Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Enter Key Sticking

Post by Pjotr » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:05 pm

trope wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:52 am
I could try installing a different version of Mint.
By all means do. No reason to select anything but Mint 19....

Then let's take it from there (if the problem still exists).
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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by trope » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:19 pm

The problem still exists. What I have tried:

Did a new install of Mint 19, MATE (had problems with the cinnamon install on Serena, and with Rebecca on a different dell laptop).
Turned off the trackpad to see if there could be a relationship since the mouse also sometimes seemed to move erratically. Mouse issue solved.
Noticed the problem is there in Virtualbox - Windows 7. Not sure if this gives any hints.

The issue does seem to only occur after I press the Enter key, which I determined after really disciplining myself not to use Enter and noticing the frequency vastly reduced. There is no visible indication that the key is sticking.
I turned off the setting in Mint to allow multiple executions when a key is held, and that solved the problem in Mint, but very cumbersome not to be able to hold down keys, eg when deleting text, especially in the terminal because it is not allowed to highlight and then delete text.

In Windows (through virtualbox) there is no option to turn off the multiple execution feature, I slowed it down as much as possible but still it seems to be able to execute 15-20 times within 1-3 seconds.

Only once it happened with the backspace key, but >95% of the time it is with the Enter key.

Is there any way to determine if it is a physical issue with the keyboard vs. some system issue? Maybe I should open up the laptop and see if there is anything behind the keyboard?

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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by all41 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:27 pm

Does this also happen when booted to a live desktop from usb/dvd .iso?
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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by trope » Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:49 pm

Good question, come to think of it, I didn't notice it when I was installing the OS. Is it okay to use the same OS (Mint 19) from a CD, or should I try something else? Installed I had the issue with both Serena and Tara. I can test for it.

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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by all41 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:52 pm

Whatever is handy will work to test for repeating keys.
Also which desktop--MATE, Cinnamon, etc
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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by lsemmens » Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:31 pm

Hate to state the obvious here, are you certain it isn't something causing the key to stick, i.e. a bit of stuff stuck under the key?
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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by trope » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:49 pm

I removed the keyboard, blowed compressed air under the Enter key, still had the problem. Removed the key and wiped it and made sure no dust was there, replaced the key, but still sticking.

I booted from a CD, Mint 19, and still had the problem.

Also it has happened with the backspace key a couple times (deleted half of this post and had to re-type it) and once with the forward arrow key. I'm not sure how multiple keys could be sticking? Is there any way to determine if it is some sort of system issue? I bought this laptop used and unfortunately did not test it out right away, am way beyond the return period.

Any other ideas? The Enter key is the biggest deal, maybe I can deactivate it and have the right-shift key replace it? I tried modifying the evdev file in /usr/share/X1/xkb/keycodes to make right shift code 36, also tried modifying the pc file in /usr/share/X1/xkb/symbols to make the right shift key have the same output as Return, but neither one seemed to do anything.

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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by all41 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:32 pm

Brand new E6440 keyboards are 17.65 on eBay.
Used ones are less
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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by trope » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:15 pm

I just saw that. The question is, can I be sure that it is an issue with the keyboard and not with the laptop?

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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by all41 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:24 pm

trope wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:15 pm
I just saw that. The question is, can I be sure that it is an issue with the keyboard and not with the laptop?
Nothing is ever 100% certain.
The only way to know for sure is to substitute the keyboard.
I would bet the odds are in your favor though.
If the laptop is in good condition otherwise it is certainly worth the modest investment--
as opposed to being hindered by questionable work-around tactics.
Keyboards are usually pretty easy to replace.
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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by catweazel » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:29 pm

trope wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:49 pm
I removed the keyboard, blowed compressed air under the Enter key, still had the problem. Removed the key and wiped it and made sure no dust was there, replaced the key, but still sticking.
The fundamental question is this: Is it sticking differently?

If it's a mechanical problem then disturbing the key may cause it to behave differently, 'may' being the operative word.
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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by trope » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:02 pm

Good question. It seems to be less of a problem (I turned off the feature to not allow holding it down), so it could be something mechanical, but hard to tell, because also I may be just more ready to hit escape when it happens. I'll get a new keyboard and go from there.

Edit: it turns out a problem with a lot of keys, happened with the Down Arrow and the "i" key today, so definitely getting a new keyboard and will get a new keyboard cable too, just to be on the safe side.

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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by BG405 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:05 am

It should come with the cable attached, at least that's been the case with all the laptop & netbook keyboards I've seen. Out of interest, did you try plugging in an external USB keyboard, if you have one?
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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by trope » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:04 pm

Installed a brand new keyboard and still having the same problem. So it does not seem to be a mechanical problem, at least nothing wrong with the keyboard. Any other thoughts?

I guess I can purchase a usb keyboard to try that, in case it is something to do with where the internal keyboard connects to the computer.

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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by lsemmens » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:10 pm

If your problem persists with another keyboard plugged in, don't rule out mechanical failure just yet. First thing I'd do is try and determine the exact, and repeatable problem. Boot from a live CD and determine if the problem persists.

If there is a key stuck on the laptop keyboard, that will still affect the output of the new keyboard. Then try and convince the problematic key to stay in the "off" position (i.e. not automatically typing its respective letter/command). Only when you have a stable system with nothing happening, try plugging in an external keyboard. If the problem then occurs in the external keyboard, you could potentially rule out hardware as a problem.
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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by vansloneker » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:13 pm

I would have tried an external keyboard first before replacing the internal keyboard.
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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by trope » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:33 pm

lsemmens wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:10 pm
If your problem persists with another keyboard plugged in, don't rule out mechanical failure just yet. First thing I'd do is try and determine the exact, and repeatable problem. Boot from a live CD and determine if the problem persists.

If there is a key stuck on the laptop keyboard, that will still affect the output of the new keyboard. Then try and convince the problematic key to stay in the "off" position (i.e. not automatically typing its respective letter/command). Only when you have a stable system with nothing happening, try plugging in an external keyboard. If the problem then occurs in the external keyboard, you could potentially rule out hardware as a problem.
I booted from a live CD and the problem persists (tara). It occurred with both Serena and Tara installed on the system.

I am confused as to how it could be a mechanical (keyboard) issue, because as I installed a brand new internal keyboard, how could any sticking keys cause a problem? All the keys are new, as is the cable that connects it to the laptop.

The problem only occurs with repeating keys after I have pressed a key. Eg, spacebar can result in a large number of spaces, the backspace can cause a lot of deleting, it happened with "i" and I got a bunch of repeating "i"s, the enter key is particularly dangerous. Many keys appear to be affected.

I am at the point where I am considering junking the laptop and getting a new one. I am not sure what I do next. If I can obtain or purchase an external keyboard and try it, even it if works this is not a long-term solution.
vansloneker wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:13 pm
I would have tried an external keyboard first before replacing the internal keyboard.
I wish you would have posted earlier, haha.

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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by lsemmens » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:45 pm

trope wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:33 pm

I booted from a live CD and the problem persists (tara). It occurred with both Serena and Tara installed on the system.

I am confused as to how it could be a mechanical (keyboard) issue, because as I installed a brand new internal keyboard, how could any sticking keys cause a problem?

The problem only occurs with repeating keys after I have pressed a key. Eg, spacebar can result in a large number of spaces, the backspace can cause a lot of deleting, it happened with "i" and I got a bunch of repeating "i"s, the enter key is particularly dangerous. Many keys appear to be affected.
just as a thought. do the keys keep repeating after you have pressed another key

e.g. I press the letter "S" followed by the letter "T" do you get "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSTSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS" or does the response look like "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTT"?

If the first, then I suspect that the lappy may be toast.
If the second it could just be your keypress delay is too short. Have a look in "System Settings" under "Hardware" , "Keyboard". It should be self explanatory after that. I HOPE it's the second. :D
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Re: Enter Key Executes By Itself

Post by trope » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:09 am

lsemmens wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:45 pm
trope wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:33 pm

I booted from a live CD and the problem persists (tara). It occurred with both Serena and Tara installed on the system.

I am confused as to how it could be a mechanical (keyboard) issue, because as I installed a brand new internal keyboard, how could any sticking keys cause a problem?

The problem only occurs with repeating keys after I have pressed a key. Eg, spacebar can result in a large number of spaces, the backspace can cause a lot of deleting, it happened with "i" and I got a bunch of repeating "i"s, the enter key is particularly dangerous. Many keys appear to be affected.
just as a thought. do the keys keep repeating after you have pressed another key

e.g. I press the letter "S" followed by the letter "T" do you get "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSTSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS" or does the response look like "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTT"?

If the first, then I suspect that the lappy may be toast.
If the second it could just be your keypress delay is too short. Have a look in "System Settings" under "Hardware" , "Keyboard". It should be self explanatory after that. I HOPE it's the second. :D
So it does not happen continuously otherwise I would be unable to use the laptop or type at all, it happens once every few minutes. Eg, it's probably happened 3 times in the last 10 minutes. When it does occur, the "key" continues executing until I hit Escape. Pressing any key seems to terminate it. So I would never get 2 letters as in your example because once I hit a "t" it would terminate the "s" and probably not recur itself. But I have not paid so much attention to striking other keys, as you can imagine I have to terminate it as soon as possible because the output can be incredible. Eg, I hit enter once when my home folder was selected, and within a couple seconds it opened 20 copies. I lost part of this message when a single backspace starting going continuously.

It is definitely not a keypress delay issue. I have tested it extensively over the past couple weeks and tried modifying all the settings under Keyboard. I set the delay as slow as possible, and when the continuous output occurs, it just occurs at a slow pace until I hit a key to terminate it. I turned off the key repeat with holding setting in Keyboards, and it "fixed" the issue, but I use Virtualbox and windows 7, and there is no such option in Windows. Also it is very difficult to use a laptop without being able to hold down keys, especially to delete text, and deleting and rewriting text in the terminal is almost impossible because I cannot highlight and delete text like I can in a GUI.

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