The really strange laptop-keyboard-asdf-jkl-not-working bug fixed.
Sunday, January 31st, 2010 | Author: Konrad Voelkel
Some days ago, I had the strangest software bug ever. The keys "A S D F" and "J K L" didn't work any longer. After rebooting, they worked again for some time. Then they stopped working. Then they worked again. Oh, it was horrible.
Searching for a mysterious "asdf jkl" bug is really difficult. I found about 3 different laptop keyboard problems similar to this one, although they always had problems with the "Enter" key, too. My "Enter" key worked fine. Even if those problems would have been more similar to mine, it wouldn't have helped. Nobody who has had those strange keyboard issues has found a solution so far. First I looked for Ubuntu/Linux related problems, and looked through various log files, then I found out the keys didn't work even on the BIOS level. Oh, it was horrible.
Then I found a solution.
The keys were dirty. Not like the yellow patina that you can see on old keyboards - I clean my keyboard regularly, so this doesn't happen. Dust stuck deep inside, almost invisible. If it would be visible, I wouldn't have looked for a software problem for an hour... I suppose the dust got wet from humidity in the air (sometimes I use my laptop in the kitchen).
How to repair a Lenovo Thinkpad T60 laptop keyboard that has some kind of strange some-keys-no-longer-working issue:
Turn off the computer and remove one key with your bare hands (gently). It's most easy to begin with "g", "h" or "b" because you can pull off the TrackPoint (the red mouse thing) first. Then you can remove all letters (or even more, at least remove the letters that don't work).
Don't forget your keyboard layout. It won't be so easy to google the correct layout if you can't type!
This is the place where you can find hidden dust. Removing this dust was crucial to get the keys working again (for me).
I wrote this, so that other Laptop users with the same problems can find the solution in google and don't have to spend an hour of their life searching for non-existent bugs, like I did.