Keyboard Input Ignored for c, h, t, and v Keys in Specific Applications Only

Every once in a great while I see this odd problem arise. I have not yet found a solution but when I do it will find a home here.

Basically what happens is I will hop over to a specific application, try to type into that application, and find that certain particular letters will do nothing. This time it was these four letters: t, h, c, and v, but I think that sounds like what it was on other occasions (though I don’t recall perfectly).

Most recently this happened in Outlook. I have seen this happen in Outlook before, but I’ve seen it happen a couple of times in Firefox and once in Opera. It is definitely not a keyboard problem, a driver issue, a problem with the specific application, or a keyboard shortcut issue—nor is it a virus or spyware.

Something as yet undetermined happens in the wonderful world of Windows XP (I have one user reporting this in the Mac OS as well) wherein those four letters are completely ignored as input. It only effects a single application when it occurs. No alt-, ctrl-, or windows- commands are executed when any of those keys are typed. I can press the same key, the t say, 100 times and absolutely nothing will happen. Then I switch to another application et voilà it works fine. For instance I’ve had to type an e-mail reply into a text editor and paste it into the reply window because I couldn’t type basic words like the.

Using associated keyboard shortcuts seems to be unaffected. As noted I was not able to type the letter v. However, I was able to use ctrl-v to paste into the reply window.

Now I know you’re going to think: “well it must be that reply window”.  Again, it’s application-wide.  I am not able to type those letters into the search boxes or contacts windows or any other place that might allow text entry—within the afflicted application.

Also, I have seen this on at least three machines where there can be no relation between them (except my smiling face reflected in the monitor).  I think I have seen this happen maybe half a dozen times in the last couple of years.

It’s easy enough to fix by restarting the afflicted application, but I am on the path for this one.  It’s stuck in my craw so I won’t be satisfied until I figure what the hell is going on.

It has come to my attention this may also effect on-screen keyboards.  Please test this in your case if you are able, and let us know your results below.

I’ll try to keep this up to date concerning my progress, but feel free to share your solutions. I’m all eyes.  (This happens rarely enough that it’s good to have others contributing data.)

(It will be useful to include four items in your comments: 1) your solution (even if temporary); 2) keys effected; 3) application(s) effected; and 4) operating system(s) involved.)

Random Solutions and Workarounds Culled from the Comments (and Elsewhere):

(In no particular order.  This may not be complete and up-to-date.)

  1. A double-tap of the Windows (or Super) key.
  2. A double-tap of specifically the right Windows key.
  3. Restart the effected application (or Explorer if effected)
  4. Reboot (last resort).
  5. “Detect and Repair” from the Help menu in Outlook (Outlook only)
  6. Press CapsLock and Shift back down to lower case (this is a per letter fix)
  7. Fn key + Windows key may toggle problem on and off.
  8. Region and Language —> Keyboards and Languages —> change keyboards;
    delete all keyboards other than your language and delete all instances of “Ink Correction”.
  9. Disable Sticky Keys (Control Panel —> Ease of Access Center —> Make the keyboard easier to use —> Make it easier to type —> uncheck “Turn on Sticky Keys“)
  10. Remove all keyboards from the Device Manager and reboot.
  11. Login to the effected machine via RDP and then return to the machine and login locally.
  12. Laptops may have to use the Widows key on the laptop and not a secondary keyboard.
  13. In Win7 it may be useful to check for keyboard/language changing hotkeys here Control Panel —> Region and Language —> Keyboards and Languages —> Change Keyboards —> Advanced Key Settings
  14. If you have only a left Windows key, you may attach an external keyboard which does.  Failing that, user Matan below wrote a right-Windows-key simulator which can be found here.  (Please note that I cannot guarantee the integrity of that source, so please use appropriate caution when downloading from unknown sources.)
  15. User Klode as offered another possible solution for users lacking a right-Windows key.  Open a command prompt and type first cd /d c:\tmp (then press Enter) followed by nircmd sendkeypress rwin (and press Enter).  Klode also describes how to create a shortcut for that and his comment can be found here.

If none of these work or if you have one to add yourself, comment away.

(It will be useful to include four items in your comments: 1) your solution (even if temporary); 2) keys effected; 3) application(s) effected; and 4) operating system(s) involved.)

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381 thoughts on “Keyboard Input Ignored for c, h, t, and v Keys in Specific Applications Only

  1. I am an 8 year old irl, and I ave some problems… u can clearly see te G word was not poppin up correctly… Clearly I cannot fix tat. I can only copy and paste te G words by copying.. It would take muc less time… even te word after g I ave problems!
    please elp…

    1. Jenna – All of the possible solutions and workarounds I have collected are located at the end of the post. If you read through to the end of the post I trust you will find one that will work for you.

  2. All your comments seem to relate to PCs, but I am getting them also, but on my Apple Mac. I currently cannot type c or h when in Chrome / Google Mail, or Facebook (the only applications I have tried). But I have no problem in Word, so I am typing messages in Word and then cut and pasting them into the Mail text box. Doesn’t help with control keys though.

    As I am Apple, any suggestions what to use instead of the (absent) Windows key?

    Terry

    1. Terry – I have not seen this happen on a Mac. (I work with them every day as my employer runs about 65% Mac.) If you discover anything interesting, please report back.

      Are you perhaps running Bootcamp Windows?

      Incidentally, the Windows key is sometimes referred to as the Super key. This is because only Microsoft branded keyboards (or those appropriately licensed) may use the Windows symbol. Apple uses a similar symbol for their Super key (which they call the Command key and which used to be called the Apple key and then had an Apple logo). You might try that key.

  3. SOLVED: after a long fighting it has been solved by changing the laptop keyboard!
    At the beginning it was clear to me that the problem popped up only when charging the battery and the laptop was warming up. But then it was worst and worst, till to stop working also the external USB keyboard!
    After changing the internal keyboard it never popped up anymore!
    Maybe its controller was over…

  4. OMG. I tapped left win key, nothing, i tapped right one and it started working again….U my friend are a life saver… ps. hate to reboot for stupid bugs :)

  5. I had this problem is well. It seemed to manifest after several RDP sessions using Logmein. It would seem to show up in random applications on Windows 7 64 bit. I found this page and tried the solutions. Killing the app worked, but was annoying. Rebooting also works (as it kills the apps). None of the Windows key solutions worked for me; however, I just stumbled on something. I have a ‘menu’ key next to my right windows key. I double tapped that and the problem magically went away. I think there is some confusion between RDP clients and certain key combinations that inadvertently trigger the menu mode or something. At any rate, double tapping the menu key fixed the issue for me.

    1. Yeah, several users have reported relations to remote sessions. I haven’t found a definitive way to reproduce the bug unfortunately. Let me know if you discover something consistent.

      Do you know what your Menu key does? I’m not familiar with that key.

  6. Do you know why I became crazy?
    Because in my keyboard I don’t have right windows key!
    So after a very long search in the web, I made a program that emulates right windows key double-tap. After that everything works just fine :)

    I’ve used InputSimulator API.

    My program.

    I think it will really help to anyone like me that doesn’t have that windows key…
    Have fun with it!

    1. BTW – Right windows key and left windows keys do not have the same Key Code, so it reasonably that pressing the left windows key won’t help the situation.

      Another thing, can someone check my program in windows versions other than windows 7? Thanks!

    2. Matan – Thanks for your contribution. I hope that does help others. And yes, I suspected they were different key codes since they behaved differently depending on the situation. Thanks for the confirmation.

      Please note, everyone else: I am not responsible for that which lies at the other end of those links.

  7. Fn + Windows key fixed it.
    Affected h and c… possibly others but only noticed those ones.
    Applications – start menu search and other random boxes
    Windows 7.

  8. I encounter different issue.
    the t cannot be type on Web edition of Office Communicator
    1. Log on my Office Communicator on IE11/Win 7.
    2. The laptop is Think Pad W530.

    this issue do not happen before. some day, we replace the url of OC. this issue comes.

    There is no right window key on my laptop.

    1. I don’t know that these solutions are the right ones unless the issue of ill-working keys if effecting your entire browser (and not merely one Web site). Nonetheless, you can either attach an external keyboard or try the most recent workaround posted at the end of the article.

  9. THANK YOU FOR THIS! almost this exact problem started with me yesterday and i thought i had lost my mind! why did the entire keyboard work except for ‘c, v, and h’??? I wasn’t sure how to find the answer, but your page popped up in my google search results and the very first answer fixed me! (double tap of the windows button)

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

  10. Thanks for the solution, the first one, double tap (or press) windows key works like magic!
    The keys c, h, v weren’t working for me (‘t’ works though) in Chrome. (only tried command prompt and notepad++ and they worked). I’m using win7 64bit. Super weird issue isn’t it!

  11. Yep, just had this issue with Windows 7 Pro SP1; no problem in Chrome, but only in MS Outlook (c, h, v – keystrokes not being received as letters; but pressing them twice seems to jump me to an Outlook help dialog suggesting that I am attempting to perform some sort of conversion? ).

    Problem disappeared when I double-pressed Windows key (I have only one, on the left). Thanks for that.

  12. I had this exact same problem. Another way i fixed it was opening the “on screen keyboard”. There is an extra button on the “on screen keyboard” that is not on my physical keyboard. To the right of the spacebar there is the 2nd Alt key, a 2nd windows key and something that isnt on my physical keyboard and finally Ctrl. I clicked the unknown button on the “on screen keyboard” and i can now type C H T and V again. Hopefully someone who knows what they are doing reads this and can add it to the list.

  13. Many thanks for your posts. The RIGHT Windows key resolved the issue in my case, which affected v, c and h keys. I’m on Windows 7 64 bit, and the issue only just started this week! Uppercase (SHIFT + v, c or h) was OK, only some applications were affected, restarting applications helped too – arggh!! :)

  14. Just had this problem on my laptop. I have a Windows 8.1 laptop and I can confirm the problem continues even when trying to use the on screen keyboard. Thank you for posting these solutions with two quick taps of the windows key I have full functionality of the keyboard once more.

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