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Old 06-15-2014, 11:33 PM   #1
julianvb
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Ubuntu 12.04 computer's arrow keys, page-up and page-down keys suddenly freeze


My Ubuntu 12.04 computer's arrow keys, insert, delete, page-up and page-down keys have suddenly ceased to work but the backspace key still works fine. I am operating three Ubuntu 12.04 machines in my house. Two are infected with this strange problem. As a matter of fact, I can move the mouse freely on the screen but can't land it at any
spot. However I can use the space bar to move up or down a page. Operating a computer without access to the arrow keys is really diffciult. I can't even edit this post because of this combination of keyboard problems.

I'll appreciate any help in this matter.

julianvb

Last edited by julianvb; 06-15-2014 at 11:35 PM.
 
Old 06-16-2014, 12:03 AM   #2
evo2
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Hi,

does this happen only in X11 or on the console too? Hint: to get a console press Ctrl-Alt-F2. Ctrl-Alt-F7 or perhaps Ctrl-Alt-F8 to get back to X11. If only in X11 does it persist after logging out? Restarting X11? Rebooting? Etc.


Evo2.
 
Old 06-17-2014, 01:30 AM   #3
julianvb
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Dear Evo2,

Thanks very much for your kind advice. I'm still using the spacebar and backspace key to compose my response to you as the arrow keys and their adjacent keys still don't work correctly.

Ctl+Alt+F2 produces a terminal, Ctl+Alt+F7 yields a window whereas Ctl+Atl+F8 results in a white blinking cursor against a black screen. Rebooting doesn't alter the status.

However, Ctl+uparrow, Ctl+downarrow, Ctl+rightarrow, Ctl+leftarrow, CTl+Home, and Ctl+End all work as usual. An interesting fact is that all these problems go away when I log in as Guest.

julianvb
Virginia Beach, VA
 
Old 06-17-2014, 01:43 AM   #4
evo2
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by julianvb View Post
Ctl+Alt+F2 produces a terminal,
Do the arrow keys work in the terminal?

Quote:
An interesting fact is that all these problems go away when I log in as Guest.
Ohh, have you customized your dot files? Have you tried using a different shell?

Evo2.
 
Old 06-17-2014, 04:26 PM   #5
julianvb
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(1) The arrow keys don't work in terminal mode.

(2) I am not familiar with dot files and switching to a different shell does not help.

I've seen this Linux problem posted all over the Internet but I've yet to read a single explanation on the cause or causes. This implies to me that it's still a mysterious problem.

julianvb
 
Old 06-19-2014, 02:38 AM   #6
julianvb
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I hope the following additional information will be of some use in diagnosing my problem.

(1) Re-installing Ubuntu 12.04 from scratch appeared to have fixed the problem but not for long. The trouble soon returned to plague my regular account.

(2) If I disable the Guest account, the regular account remains handicapped as far as the arrow keys are concerned. I cannot use them to recall terminal commands.

I've never experienced this type of problem with all my four Ubuntu 12.04 machines until I recently gave my wife one for her own use, which developed this annoying trouble afer a few days. I subsequently replaced it with a known good one, which in turn showed the same symptoms after a day or two. This seems rather puzzling.

julianvb
 
Old 06-20-2014, 05:11 AM   #7
julianvb
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2014-06-20

Hi, Everyone,

I have some very encouraging news to report. When two of my Ubuntu computers sudddenly developed this weird keyboard problem one after another, all the keys located between the major (left) section and the keypad failed to work in the regular login account. This meant the 4 directional arrow keys and consequently the terminal command buffer all went dead. The problem remained unchanged when I tried another known good keyboard.

Luckily all was well with the Guest account which is endowed with few capabilities by Linux. In order to enable my wife to go online using the same machine as usual from this account, I logged in to the regular account and then created a workaround by adding her frequently-used aliases in the /etc/skel/.bashrc file. After that, I rebooted and verified that the newly added aliases all worked fine in the Guest account.

This morning out of curiosity I decided to try out a simple user-friendly keyboard with large yellow keys which I bought for a few dollars a year ago from a Big Lots store. Lo and behold, as soon as I hooked it up, all the keyboard woes went away and I still can use the keyboard in any way at this moment. Remember what I wrote previously about the first 'bad' machine's keyboard? A few days ago I put it and its companion computer away. But when I turned this system on again yesterday, everything was fine and dandy.

At this point, I begin to wonder what brought on this occasional conflict between Unbuntu 12.04 and my keyboards, which I've never witnessed in my 3-year history as an Ubuntu user with 4 Ubuntu systems until only recently. But anyway I think my workaround should prepare me for the next similar keyboard-trouble break-out.

I hope this report will prove helpful to someone who may experience the same problem in the future.

julianvb

Last edited by julianvb; 06-20-2014 at 05:52 AM.
 
Old 06-20-2014, 07:33 AM   #8
julianvb
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2014-06-20

I've just discovered something new about the second 'suspected' keyboad which is a bi-lingual Acer one, not the one with large yellow keys as reported in my last post. If I turn on its NumLock key, neither the regular account nor the Guest account works as far as the arrow keys go. However, if I shut off the NumLock key, both accounts work normally again. This shows that my previously reported Ubuntu 12.04's keyboard conflicts are mysterious but not permanent as it's evident from the recovery of this system, a Compaq tabletop as well as that of my first troubled system, a Dell desktop. It's interesting to note that the Dell system now works regardless of the NumLock key.

First system discovered with failing arrow keys: Dell desktop with a Gateway keyboard
Second system discovered with failing arrow keys: Compaq tabletop with a bilingual Acer keyboard

In short, both the Dell and Compaq Ubuntu 12.04 systems' regular and Guest accounts are now working again.

julianvb

Last edited by julianvb; 06-20-2014 at 07:34 AM.
 
  


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