For the past few weeks, when I booted into Windows XP on my laptop I would be frustrated because as I would type, keystrokes would be ignored for no apparent reason. There was no pattern to which keys would get ignored, it seemed completely random.

I run a dual boot system, so I also have Mandriva Linux on my laptop, which I use as my main operating system. I do not have this problem when I’m booted into Linux, so I knew the problem had to be Windows XP related.

Of course, this revelation also worried me, because I began to think I had some how got a virus, spyware, keylogger or some other nasty thing installed on my computer.

For weeks I ran all kinds of programs to ensure I did not have malware on my computer, everything from AVG antivirus, to Adaware, Spybot Search & Destroy, and all other recommendations I could find on the internet. Ever scan came back clean, and I was not infected with anything.

What could be causing my keystrokes to be randomly ignored? I started to think I might have a process or service running that was buggy. So I slowly and painfully disabled every non essential service, and started uninstalling all software. I even went as far as to start killing processes in the task manager that showed CPU usage as I was typing in notepad hoping I could catch a program that was trying to intercept my keystrokes.

Nothing worked, no matter what I deleted, uninstalled, or what process I killed the problem remained.

Tonight, out of pure frustration and one step away from wiping my Windows install and reinstalling it all, I did one last Google search. This time I search specifically for this problem on HP Pavilion zd8000 laptops. Low and Behold, I found a forum with other Pavilion zd8000 users having the same problem!

As it turns out, the faulty battery in my laptop, which died and quit holding a charge well over a year ago was the cause of the problem. The forum was filled with people saying to just pull the battery out and run the laptop off the a/c adapter only. That wouldn’t be a problem since my battery has been dead for so long I’ve been running only on the a/c adapter anyway.

After doing removing the battery, my keystrokes are back and working as normal! I figure it must be some Windows XP service that is trying to monitor the battery that is causing the keystroke hiccup (that doesn’t really make sense, but this is Windows we are dealing with, so go figure), but as of yet I haven’t found a way to solve the problem without removing the battery.

As long as the battery is out of the laptop though, I am typing like a champ!