MacBook Special Report: Keyboard suddenly stops working

MacBook Special Report: Keyboard suddenly stops working

A handful of readers have reported an issue where the MacBook's keyboard and trackpad suddenly stop being responsive, forcing the user to reboot (after first shutting down by holding the power key) in order to regain control.

MacFixIt reader Michael Kuntscher writes:

"Recently I started having a problem with my MacBook's Keyboard and Trackpad where they will just suddenly stop working. The trackpad won't move the mouse, and none of the keys on the Keyboard will work. Pressing the caps lock or num lock keys won't turn on their little lights even.

"The only recourse when this has happened is to reboot or, strangely, use this developer tool called USB Prober, which upon opening, causes both the keyboard and trackpad to begin working again.

"The Power button still operates during this time (it being independent of the USB device that is the keyboard/trackpad) and pressing it will bring up the shutdown options dialog. However, the inability to _press_ any of those buttons leaves you only with the option of holding down the power button until the computer turns off.

  • Plugging in a USB mouse and keyboard still works fine.
  • Apple System Profiler still shows the keyboard/trackpad as present
  • Problem has occurred both immediately after opening the lid on waking as well as just suddenly occurring during normal usage.
  • Seems to be very random. It didn't happen at all yesterday but was the first thing that occurred upon waking this morning.

"I have custom installed 2GB of Corsair Ram and an Hitachi 100GB 7200RPM hard drive."

As noted by Michael, the tool USB Prober (part of Apple's USB debugging kit for developers) has been successful in reviving keyboard/trackpad responsiveness in some cases. Unfortunately, launching the application requires connection of an external keyboard (via USB).

Index:

Resources
  • Apple's USB debugging kit
  • Do-it-yourself hard drive ...
  • Excessive heat: Usage note...
  • Final Cut Express is suppo...
  • Irritating noises; elimina...
  • Keyboard suddenly stops wo...
  • Matched RAM pairs can come...
  • Poor speaker output: Softw...
  • Projector issues
  • Release notes
  • Sudden shutdowns -- possib...
  • Trackpad button "mushy", not registering clicks -- solutions
  • Vertical lines appear on s...
  • Wireless (AirPort) dropout...
  • More from Late-Breakers
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