Windows XP Expert Zone Community WebLog

By the Windows XP experts and enthusiasts at Microsoft.




Question about the Enter key

Posted April 26


By Sandy Hereld, tech writer, Microsoft User Experience team

The longer I stay in this job, the more fascinated I get by the weekly search query logs. Sure, I know that sounds geeky, but those logs are a tiny blurred window into the efforts of hundreds of thousands of users trying to accomplish tasks with our tools.

The top queries change slowly most months, firewall and system restore fight it out for top place so it s more interesting to see currently fast rising queries. Most of those are fairly clear: when there s a new worm or virus, we ll see queries about antivirus software; when there s a new update or service pack, we ll see queries on new features rise. But last month, out of nowhere, we started to see queries for enter key emerge from the query logs. In fact, here are nine of the fifteen fastest rising queries: >

  • enter key does not work
  • enter key not working
  • enter button
  • enter key doesn't work
  • enter key wont work
  • enter key
  • Return Key
  • enter
  • keyboard enter key

So, here s your chance to solve a puzzle. What the heck is going on out there?


This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.


ksuh said:

Sometimes, the error is between the keyboard and the seat.
# August 23, 2004 4:13 PM

Brad Corbin said:

So, was this a totally open question? Or did you discover the reason these queries had been increasing in frequency?
# August 23, 2004 4:18 PM

Sandy Hereld said:

Still an open question as far as I know. We kinda, well, throw this sort of information over the wall to the product groups -- if they figured it out, we never heard.

Got an idea?
# August 23, 2004 4:46 PM

Bruce Williams [MSFT] said:

Does SP2 grey out the "OK" button on any common dialogs? Maybe there is some dialog folks are used to just "clicking OK" through, and its not working any more.
# August 24, 2004 2:36 PM

dan g... said:


# November 2, 2006 11:59 PM

artchick said:

I have the same problem!  I think all the other keys work, but the "enter" key.  I also have a problem with the select highlight box going bananas and running up and down the page.  any ideas?

# November 17, 2006 10:54 AM

Jon said:

So, this blog is six months old, but I suddenly  had to search this same query.

After installing a Visual Studio upgrade, and rebooting Windows, the enter key right next to the single-quote key stopped working. (I have installed that same Visual Studio upgrade before, so I don't think that's the problem)

The Enter key on the far right of the keyboard still works, but moving my arms for each line is somewhat of a drag. I wonder if there's some mysterious glitch deep down on the way from USB controller to UI input that, one time in a million, decides to stop forwarding the Enter key. Or maybe there's some hitherto un-known virus where that's the symptom? (although that seems far-fetched -- it would have been found by now).

All in all, while a single instance of "it doesn't work" is usually PEBKAC, lots of queries from all around about the same problem probably indicates a genuine issue -- while individual people may have spurious cognition issues, the total base of internet users usually gets it right, most of the time.

# November 24, 2006 2:14 PM

audrey said:

Same thing for me suddently my enter key doesnt work so why is that does someone can explain please?

# December 15, 2006 12:57 AM

Karen said:

every time I use the enter key on the keyboard it inserts a slash/




my number pad isn't working right either - when I use the number 5 it enters a 56  565656/


I've checked for viruses - what can I do to get this back to normal?

# December 22, 2006 5:11 PM

jamesB007 said:

every time I use the enter key on the keyboard it inserts a slash/


|did anyone figure out the above problem? i got it too.

# February 17, 2007 2:01 AM

John Gavin said:

my enter and space key suddendly stopped working..only in windows

when I boot into Linux all is fine

I suspect malewate , but have cleaned and re cleaned with no success

any ideas ?

# March 28, 2007 10:29 AM

blackbinary said:

I have the same problem, enter key doesnt work at all. Ever, i just went away for the long weekend, didn't even boot up the computer during that time, came home, boot it up, and it doesnt work :(

the rightside enter works fine though :(

# August 6, 2007 4:04 PM

Rachel Summers said:

Enter key not working for me as well; hitting it  in search engines, rather than triggering the "go" or "search" button, inserts a slash. I'm also getting "56" instead of "5" or "6" when using the numeric keypad. Using "8" or "9" gets me "89". Hitting the key for 2 gives me "2" and a carriage return. Would really like to know what's going on..

# August 21, 2007 12:43 PM

Woolfer said:

It is a hardware problem...

So if you have two keyboards witch refuse to type: space, enter, and context menu, that means that both of them are in the need of replacing...Or just fixing - if you live in Serbia and don't have enough money for new one.

# August 25, 2007 10:31 PM

Mr Nismo said:

You guys are hilarious. Seriously.

Woolfer, you're right, it's a hardware issue. But it's not a keyboard issue. Keyboards are standard rated at 1 million keystrokes as "standard wear & tear". You'll probably never hit that mark unless you lack a life behind the monitor. I have a Logitech G15 gaming keyboard, which has DOUBLE that keystroke rating. I have the same problem.

The problem is widespread and not local only, so it is therefore a problem with a controller card, driver, USB controller, and perhaps even a PS/2 controller.

Microsoft is the only Operating System that has this problem, and it's apparent in Windows Vista, as well.

I know this - because I've  had it happen to me.

My vote is that it's specifically a driver error, or a failure to load a driver -properly- is the case. Because a simple logoff/login will fix this error. Most people reboot. And that fixes it too.

I think it's more of a Microsoft problem, and should be fixed in an update.

Wish they would have Service Pack 3 released as a final update. That would be nice. Might even fix that issue ^_^. But alas, Vista has to be out to compete with free O/S's like Debian and Ubuntu. o.O

# September 13, 2007 10:32 PM

Wolfer said:

It's the keyboard problem - I'm fixing it at least 3 times a month with multimeter, copper wire and a tape...

# September 21, 2007 7:10 PM

woolfer said:

"Keyboards are standard rated at 1 million keystrokes" - it's not exactly the keys that need fixing - it's the line between them...

# September 21, 2007 7:14 PM

Woolfer said:

and that's the solution when all three keys dont work as they'r all wired in line

Nismo I guess that this topic is about all three keys not working...

"Because a simple logoff/login will fix this error" ? - you can be sure that your prob is not linked with keyboard state

# September 21, 2007 7:21 PM

Nancy said:

My enter key in the keyboard suddenly stopped working is there any way in which i can make it work again??

# December 17, 2007 7:59 AM

Aaron said:

Go to HighTechDad's link - he has a good solution.  Read my comment at the bottom if it doesn't work the first time.

# December 18, 2007 7:52 AM

LouisLane said:

haaaaaaaaaaaiz... ive got a Keyboard problem here guys...

everytime my computer starts up... the following keys arent working:


>>Enter Key (not the enter key found on the num pad)

but after pressing it a thousand times, it will work... haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiz..

but the numbers, 9, 6, and 3 in my numpad are PERMENANTLY non-working keys...

is this a factory defect?? i bought this keyboard 3 days ago...

# December 21, 2007 1:23 PM

danielle said:

Enter key not working for me either,. I tried HighTechDads solutions (both of them) but neither worked. Fairly new keyboard, about a month old, so I don't think that;s the problem. And no crumbs fell out either ;-)

# January 2, 2008 5:13 PM

Cpt. Kirk said:

I had the same "Enter Key" problem and just restarted my comp, and now everything is ok.  

# January 4, 2008 9:48 AM

Lenny said:

I had a problem recently where the enter key stopped working within microsoft Word 2007.  All other applications functioned perfectly, including eht enter key.  It was only in Microsoft Word 2007.  Enter simply would produce NO response of any kind.   Ctrl-Enter still did a soft enter, but no hard enter could be had.   tried external keyboards . . same effect.   It's NOT hardware becuase it works in every other single program on the machine.

Just MS Word.

That is what is going on out here.   And several people I know are experiencing this.

I completely reinstalled Office 2007 Enterprise and no changes.

Microsoft refuses to even acknowledge that this is possible . . . so why are so many people searching for a solution to this rediculous problem?

# March 12, 2008 10:48 PM

Julio said:

In response to Lenny's issue "enter key stopped working within microsoft Word 2007"

Try renaming the or copy it to the machine in question from another machine.  I had this exact same issue with one of my users and this fixed the problem.

Issue:  Enter keys do not work in Word, but work in other applications.

# April 2, 2008 1:13 PM

jordan said:

My keyboard has not bee working for months. I have windows Vista, and nothing is working. I am not sure what to do because I accidently let my battery on my laptop die. Which normally would not be a problem, however in order to reboot it i need to hit enter. The irony of the situation is incredibly frustrating.

Now I am googling on my moms laptop to see how i can fix mine. Please help me!! I am desperate. I have an 11 page paper due tuesday and all of my research is on my computer.

# May 4, 2008 9:21 PM

Marta said:

My number pad Enter key works as a Backspace key when I'm in AS400.  It worked until I installed Office 2007.  It does work in everything else.

# June 27, 2008 2:59 PM

beth said:

bought 2 new sony vgc-lt39u systems to use at our business . both have vista ultimate so far enter key has worked everywhere but with my cougar mountain accounting software.  neither of the enter keys work with this program on either computer.  since it works everywhere else (so far) it seems odd  a keyboard problem just happens to occurs when i go to this software

# September 8, 2008 4:10 PM

beth said:

if anyone should stumble across this like i did looking for a solution to enter keys not working in some software in vista. try turning off the user account control .  go to control panel go under user accounts go to change user accounts uncheck box to turn off controls.  click ok  my enter keys started working after i restarted the computer after doing this.  and yes i had tried restarting several times with out doing this and the enter keys never worked. its worth a try and cheaper than a new keyboard.

# September 10, 2008 7:44 PM

Jackson said:

My keyboard enter and return button both don't work while in excel only. It is ok in Word or any other program, so therefore my issue must be related to excel.

Hmm.... any clues anyone?

# October 15, 2008 4:42 AM

Portcityrocker said:

i have an acer aspire one netbook. the enter keys works sometimes when i restart but when it stops working, it doesn't work at all. I was playing around and i did a google search but i treated the enter key like a shift key. no shifting happened, the letter remained lower case, but i accidentally did i search for the letter "g". what the heck is going on? my tracker pad goes in and out too. running windows xp home btw.

# November 18, 2008 10:53 PM

I said:

I'm having the same problem in Debian. I changed the keyboard shortcuts for previous/next track in GNOME. They didn't work, and now neither does my enter key even though I disabled the shortcuts.

# December 31, 2008 12:34 PM

Lyn said:

My enter key's not working either, it started a few days ago when it would occasionally not work and it got worse and worse, until, today, it stopped working entirely. My laptop is about 2 years old, so i suspect that's probably the reason why... in the same way as the enter key, the opposite version of ')' isn't working either, and I can't even type a sad emoticon to express my despair. I can't take the keys out of my keyboard to see if there's junk under it that's stopping them from working, so I don't really know what to do now...

# January 2, 2009 3:40 PM

MiketheGeek said:

This is a Microsoft Update bug, the update reconfigures a part of the registry that controls the "enter" key and the "backspace" key. a couple of ways to fix...either go to microsoft support or go to your registry..regidt-keyboard and fix yourself. I would reccomend the microsoft site unless you know what your doing with the registry..could be unnerving.

# January 21, 2009 1:11 PM

Baltazhar said:

Here's what did it for me:

Issue: Main Enter key not working, numpad Enter key works fine. All other keys seem to work as well.

Solution: With these steps you should be able to diagnose your prolem. Test the keyboard after each step, and stop when it's working (obviously).

1 - Unplug your keyboard, and plug it in the same PS/2 or USB port as before.

2 - Unplug your keyboard, and plug it in another PS/2 or USB port.

3 - Restart your computer.

4 - Remove your keyboard using the Device Manager, reboot and reinstall.

As Mr. Nismo said above, keyboard are built for a severe amount of spanking, and should not have keys dying on them. In ~95% of the cases, the above steps should resolve the problem. They are mainly caused by Windows screwing up temporary, or corrupt drivers.

Happy hunting.

# May 30, 2009 4:08 AM

Albert Wesker. said:

My enter key stopped being responsive in certain applets; specifically one, which is a javascripted site run by an Optichat server.

Whenever I hit ''enter,'' it merely drops down a line in the chat-bar without posting anything. Quite the inconvenience, eh?

I'd usually blame my out-dated Logitech model keyboard because the shift keys have already quit working altogether, but the enter key problem happens with this keyboard /and/ the laptop keyboard.


# June 20, 2009 6:16 PM

Michael said:

Hi, my problem is slightly different, when browsing some sites and using their input text boxes, my enter key is supposed to send the message/info, like it used to about a month ago, but now it will only enter onto a new line. Holding control key and entering does nothing, please help me. my email is, if anyone has a solution as i probably will forget i even posted this comment. Thankyou in advance for any assistance.

# June 21, 2009 8:14 AM

Cacciaguida said:

This just happened to me, I reset the computer and the key started working again.

# July 14, 2009 10:17 AM

k xx said:

When i try to send a message via the enter key on a chatsite it doesn't allow me to send t but instead moves the cursor down onto a seperate line. There's no button thst i can click either for me to send the message. Im really confused :(

# September 3, 2009 9:51 AM

Lee said:

Just happened to me too.  Windows XP pro service pack 3.  Just suddenly stopped working, both the Main enter key and the numeric keypad one do nothing.  CTRL-enter will do a soft enter, but can't do a proper one.  Watching the match though over the net, so not rebooting just yet.  Viva la Linux revolution, lets get rid of this gash Microshaft rubbish

# October 14, 2009 3:28 PM

Robbins said:

The number pad enter key does not work inside a text box in excel 2007 unless you hold down ctrl shift.

# December 3, 2009 1:54 PM

Molding Doors supplies said:

I am having the same issues with my windows box as well but I am also having issues with the spacebar.

# February 16, 2010 2:57 PM

MISty said:

Same problem a backslash is left with enter key is used and back space takes all my works away. Wat to to ddo ddo?

# September 1, 2010 1:51 PM

Person said:

This issue can easily be solved!

Locate and delete your system 32 folder, this will not only enable your ENTER key but it will also make your PC run ten times faster.

# September 3, 2010 9:04 AM

Elan said:

my enter key doesnt work when I am on facebook, what do i do

# October 3, 2010 8:55 PM

Nigel said:

The entry made by "Person" above should be removed in case some novice tries that solution........ very irresponsible in the first place to send it and secondly to print it.

# December 28, 2010 8:04 AM

Lia said:

I work in Technology and this fixed the enter key not working for two of my customers...

-Close Microsoft Office programs

-Do a search for all "NORMAL.DOT" files (without the quotations)on the C: drive

-Delete everything thats found!

-Reopen Microsoft Office


# April 19, 2011 2:42 PM

aaron said:

this is all find and dandy but none of it solves my problem. "why is my enter key suddenly not working for specific pages, like when im coding for example"??/

# July 4, 2011 9:13 PM

rtyecript said:

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

# August 22, 2011 5:55 AM

Gilmer said:

Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins

to protect against hackers? I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard

on. Any recommendations?

# April 10, 2013 11:00 AM