Dead keyboard morning

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions,technical | Saturday, October 10th, 2009

I woke up this morning and powered my computer on blindly, then went to the kitchen to fix me a mug of strong coffee, like every other morning (well, if you can call 11am a morning that is :) ). To my surprise (and as it has always been with all of my computers), Windows booted up, but my keybard was dead, non-responsive. It was plugged in properly, it was illuminating, but I could press the keys as hard as I can, nothing happened. And so it started. My adrenaline levels risen tremendously, I started to feel really angry and I think if I could, I’d turn green and smashed everything in my way. However, that’s not the case and after I quickly gulped down the delicious, yet bitter, natures’ liquid miracle, I finally started to think. The only difference from yesterday was that I uninstalled VMWare (they released an updated version), but I didn’t install the update, because a phone call interrupted me and I had to quickly fix the last shot I was working on.

This turned out to be a big problem. As I found out a few minutes later on Google, via the ease-of-access keyboard (man! what a pain! but it saved my ass), VMWare installs and makes Windows to execute its own keyboard driver for the virtual machines. This proved to be the Error 39 Windows Device Manager was showing me next to the HID icon. The real problem, however, wasn’t a defunct keyboard driver (I could keep on uninstalling/reinstalling it forever), in fact, it was an unhandled registry entry that was causing the driver error while it was being loaded.

To cut the long story short, if you ever bump into the same problem and know for certain that your keyboard is properly plugged in and functional and the Device Manager shows you an Error 39, try looking up this registry key entry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\4D36E96B-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318

There should be a string object called “UpperFilters” that should only read: “kbdclass“.

Registry Editor

Mine also included, on a separate line, “vmwkbd” which caused Windows to try to look for the VMWare keyboard driver and execute it, but since I uninstalled VMWare, the driver simply didn’t exist. Well, after the reboot, everything works now as you can see :) (no, I wouldn’t even dare to attempt to write this post on the ease-of-access keyboard!).

Hope it helps.

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