Keyboard repeat issues with Dell Optiplex 980s

Steve Polyack korvus at
Wed Jan 19 14:48:47 UTC 2011

On 01/19/11 09:35, Jan Henrik Sylvester wrote:
> On 01/-10/-28163 20:59, Steve Polyack wrote:
>> On 1/18/2011 5:56 PM, Jeremy Chadwick wrote:
>>> On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 04:40:13PM -0500, Steve Polyack wrote:
>>>> We've recently upgraded a few desktop workstations from Dell
>>>> Optiplex 960s to Optiplex 980s. We were running FreeBSD
>>>> 8.1-RELEASE. The migration was performed by simply swapping the
>>>> drives into the new systems. Immediately after switching people
>>>> over, they all began to report bizarre keyboard issues - things like
>>>> infinite key repeats (letters, numbers, "enter") for keys they did
>>>> not hold down. The key repeats continue indefinitely until another
>>>> key is pressed. Occasionally, even mouse input will trigger similar
>>>> infinite keyboard input repetition. In addition to the repeat
>>>> issue, sometimes physical key-presses are not registered by FreeBSD,
>>>> leading to typos and angry developers.
>>>> We've tried doing fresh installs of FreeBSD 8.2-RC2 on two of these
>>>> systems, and the issue persists. Because of the observed behavior,
>>>> I'm thinking that this is due to new hardware in the 980s which
>>>> isn't timing or handling interrupts correctly under the FreeBSD
>>>> kernel.
>>>> Looking at a 'pciconf -lvb' from each system, I noticed that the 980
>>>> has two USB controllers which probe under ehci(4), while the 960
>>>> (which does not exhibit this problem), enumerates six uhci(4)
>>>> controllers and two ehci(4) controllers. To cut to the chase here,
>>>> the 960 users' keyboards probe under a USB1.0 uhci(4), while the
>>>> 980s only have ehci(4) devices to attach to.
>>>> So, I guess what I'm asking is - has anyone else seen any keyboard
>>>> repeat or other USB craziness with ehci(4) ports or otherwise Intel
>>>> PCH controllers? Any fellow Optiplex 980 users? I'd be more than
>>>> happy to provide pciconf or other output if requested.
>>> Try adding the following to /boot/loader.conf then reboot and see if
>>> the "excessive repeat" behaviour changes:
>>> hint.kbdmux.0.disabled="1"
>>> It would also help if you would state exactly what brand/model of
>>> keyboard is used. Yes, believe it or not, it matters. dmesg output
>>> would be helpful in this case.
>> The keyboard is also a Dell model - model KB1421, or listed as "Dell
>> QuiteKey Keyboard" under dmesg. The same keyboard does not exhibit the
>> strange behavior when used with the older model of tower (Optiplex 960).
>> I'll reboot today with the loader.conf hint you provided. I'll let you
>> guys know if it helps. Thanks!
> I have 8.1-RELEASE running on an Optiplex 980 with no keyboard 
> problems, but not with a Dell keyboard as we ordered Cherry keyboards 
> with our Dells (the person evaluating the Dells thought the keyboard 
> was way too light and fragile).
> Since I usually have the keyboard plugged into the hub in the display, 
> I just tried it directly in the (rear) usb ports with no difference. 
> Trying the Fujitsu and Sun keyboards from the other machines in my 
> office does not immediately lead to problems, either. (Or how much 
> would I have to type to reproduce the problem?)
> Maybe it is just the keyboards? Or a bios setting? (I cannot currently 
> reboot to check if there are any keyboard related bios settings I 
> changed.)

We have the keyboards plugged into the rear ports, and not via a USB 
hub.  The problem is not immediate or constant, but if you spend about 
two hours with the keyboard hooked up to the rear, you will certainly 
run into the problem (assuming its not related to these Dell keyboards...).

As for a BIOS setting, there is nothing relevant in the BIOS with 
regards to the keyboard or USB emulation that I can remember.


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