Mac OS forum

Question

QWERTY keys don't work on iMac

by netsense / January 17, 2012 7:24 AM PST

Hiall.

I'm a bit puzzled. Got a Mac in for repair; the "s" key did not work unless the shift key was depressed. Tried it on from the install disk using Terminal, and all was fine, so the hardware was OK (also tried a generic USB keyboard - same). Tried the normal troubleshooting - no solution.

So updated Leopard to Snow Leopard, hoping that would change things - and it didn't.

So backed up all data, and installed Snow Leopard from scratch. And now the qwerty keys on the keyboard don't work - all the others do. Same on a generic keyboard. What's happening here?

Edwin

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Clarification Request
Just a thought.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 17, 2012 7:30 AM PST

Do all other accounts do that?
(make a new one for a test.)

All Answers

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Answer
Test again with a KGOS
by Jimmy Greystone / January 17, 2012 9:24 AM PST

Test again with a KGOS, and that way you can rule out the user's software being the problem. Also, is the customer's keyboard one of those BT half-keyboards or is it a full USB one? If a BT and USB keyboard are both doing the same thing, that pretty much has to be software related. Though I suppose it is at least potentially possible you have a bad USB controller. IIRC, the BT board is connected internally via what amounts to a special USB cable. However, that would really be something if that turned out to be the case. If, in fact, you did pin it down to a bad USB controller, I'd go out and buy a lottery ticket because you have some serious mojo going.

It'd be nice if the AST devs would add a simple text editing widget. Well, I say edit, but really all it would need to do is be able to accept input. No saving (obviously, since it's an EFI level program that's netbooted), no formatting, just let you type things in where there's as little software to get in the way as possible.

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Re: Test again with a KGOS
by netsense / January 17, 2012 10:43 AM PST
In reply to: Test again with a KGOS

OK, I thought I knew all the acronyms - or are these specialised MACronyms?
KGOS?
AST?

It's a full USB keyboard. All the keyboards tested were USB.

I also figured it was software related, which is why in the end I reinstalled snow leopard
after reformatting the drive - and the problem changed from a missing
"s"to missing "qwerty"!

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You said
by Jimmy Greystone / January 17, 2012 12:02 PM PST

You said you had a Mac "in for repair" so I just assumed that you were a tech, and since someone brought you an iMac that you worked on Macs regularly, or else why would they have brought it to you.

KGOS: Known Good OS (something you should have around if you work on Macs)

AST: If you don't know, odds are you aren't working for an AASP so don't worry about it

In any case... When you reinstalled snow leopard, did you also install ANY of the user's software? That's why I said use a known good OS, so you can rule out the possibility of it being something the user installed. It's always good to have as unmodified an OS as you can possibly get. Maybe just set up with some extra diagnostic tools, but otherwise stock.

One quick thing though: If this iMac is under warranty, and you find there is some hardware issue for it... If you don't work for an AASP, which seems likely, please do the proper thing and give it back to the customer and tell them to take it to an AASP so you don't void their warranty. If it's OOW, and they're fine with you mucking about with it, then knock yourself out.

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Now fixed
by netsense / January 18, 2012 6:24 AM PST
In reply to: You said

Yes, I am a tech, in a country town around 3/4 of an hour from the nearest AASP, who are known to respond to any but the simplest problem with "You're Mac is dead - can we sell you a new one?". And I'm not so stupid as to void a customers warranty by doing hardware work that I'm not formally licensed to do. That said, a computer is a computer is a computer, despite the mystique that's often placed around Macs.

The fault I reported was on a KGOS - a complete clean install of Snow Leopard on a repartitioned hard drive. During the install, I ran terminal to test the keyboard, and all was well; the fault only appeared on running the newly installed OS. After some mucking around, I tried another clean reinstall using a generic USB keyboard and mouse - and hey presto - everything works.

If this were a PC, I'd be suggesting some subtle incompatability between the Mac keyboard or USB hardware and the drivers - but oh yes, it is a personal computer, so that is what I'm suggesting!

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Then you should suggest
by Jimmy Greystone / January 18, 2012 10:26 PM PST
In reply to: Now fixed

Then you should suggest to your customers to call Apple and complain about that AASP. Working for an AASP, I can tell you Apple is a real ball breaker on the business side of things. They come in and demand you do everything exactly how they want you to, or they'll take their toys and go home. Which is a PITA most of the time, but when it comes to an AASP that is acting in a rather shady fashion, I'd say it's completely justified.

Sometimes it's such a simple thing I often forget to even suggest it, but did you try resetting the PRAM? While pretty uncommon, it can happen that some stale settings get in there, or things get corrupted, and resetting it to sane defaults helps.

Mac OS X is based on FreeBSD, which is ultimately of the BSD Unix family, and this is significant because Unix is a device independent OS. It doesn't really care what keyboard you have attached. It just sends commands to the USB port and expects whatever is on the other end will know what to do with them. It's not like Windows where everything is tightly regulated by drivers.

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