Keyboard repeat issues with Dell Optiplex 980s

Steve Polyack korvus at
Thu Jan 20 13:55:02 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.)

Based on this post, I switched my keyboard so that it runs through the 
hub in my monitor.  It seems to have fixed the problem, as I haven't 
seen the keyboard repeat in almost a day.  I'm still curious as to what 
the actual problem is.  Maybe the fact that running it through a hub 
first will help to narrow down the issue.


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