Home Small Business IT Support Why Are Your Laptop Keys Coming Up with the Wrong Numbers and Letters When You Press Them?

Why Are Your Laptop Keys Coming Up with the Wrong Numbers and Letters When You Press Them?

Why Are Your Laptop Keys Coming Up with the Wrong Numbers and Letters When You Press Them?

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It’s a common but extremely frustrating problem. You’re typing in a word document or finishing a presentation, when suddenly, your laptop keys starts coming up with the wrong numbers and letters. There’s no need to panic, though, because this is often an easily fixable problem. 

You Changed the Language

If you have multiple languages installed in your keyboard, you may notice that they seem to switch at random. This could be the reason why your laptop keys are coming up with the wrong numbers and letters. This can be particularly problematic during presentations or other situations where others may be confused by the sudden language change. 

Operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 8 have a function where the language on the keyboard changes when left Shift and Alt are pressed simultaneously. You can return to your desired language by repeating this process. 

Some programs will cause this more often than others, as they rely heavily on the Alt and Shift keys. Try not to type too fast when using these programs, and you should find that you do not accidentally change the language that often.

Shortcut or Sticky Keys Are Enabled

If you sometimes find that modifier keys such as Ctrl or Shift remain active when you aren’t using them, you may have the sticky keys function engaged. The sticky keys function is made for those with physical impairments that prevent them from using two distant keys at the same time. 

The sticky keys function is turned on when the shift key is tapped five times in quick succession. Turning this function off is as simple as repeating this process. If you want to prevent accidentally turning them on again, you can disable the feature in the control panel. 

There are also a number of shortcut key sequences that can produce letters or symbols with which you may be unfamiliar. Most of these shortcuts are produced by combining the Alt key with a four-digit number. These shortcuts are an easy way to produce accented letters that would be difficult to type on English keyboards. 

Software Malfunction in the Keyboard

Sometimes the problem is not the result of user-error but is being caused by a software malfunction in the keyboard. A number of underlying problems can cause this, ranging from malware to an issue within the keyboard driver. 

One of the easiest ways to fix a software problem is to turn the device off and back on again. While this may not fix the issue, it’s good to rule this out before moving on to other options. 

If you typically turn off the device without properly shutting it down, you may have a problem with the driver that controls the keyboard. You can open the device manager in the Start window and find the keyboard driver. Uninstall this, reboot the device, and install it again. This is an easy way to fix any issues that may come about as a result of a problem in that program. 

There are also a number of malware programs that can cause problems with the device failing to recognise the correct keystrokes. Run trusted antivirus software on the device, and you should see an improvement quickly.

If you’re having trouble with other devices, you can check out our guides for when you’re having trouble with your Bluetooth headphones and Webcam.