Question Windows 10 thinks that the CTRL key is stuck

Apr 26, 2022
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I have been having this issue for about a year now. I will be minding my own business and then Windows will decide that the CTRL key is stuck on. I have found no fix other than to restart my computer. It has happened while playing games, it has happened while doing homework, it has happened while watching movies in my browser. I have even had it happen with me consciously avoiding pressing either CTRL key. I cannot replicate this on demand, there are times I will go a week without it happening and times it will happen 5 minutes after boot.

I have tried every fix Google can come up with:
  • Mashing keys
  • Double-pressing CTRL
  • Ensuring Sticky Keys (what a stupid [**]setting) is off
  • Checking Drivers for devices plugged in and unplugging everything BUT my keyboard
  • Unplugging keyboard (Windows thinks CTRL is still being pressed)
  • Turn off Filter Keys
  • Run the Keyboard Troubleshooter
  • Tried MULTIPLE keyboards, Corsair K70, an old Logitech keyboard, and a new Corsair K70 (all with updated drivers)
  • CTRL + ALT + DEL to re-set key status
  • Press both left and right CTRL keys
  • 100 different combination of CTRL ALT DEL SHIFT keys being pressed
  • Reset BIOS defaults
What I have not done:
* System Restore - Yes, this will most likely fix it but I dont want to lose everything. No I do not have a restore point. No I will not do the windows reinstall keeping files option since last time I had half of my computer filled with programs missing their icons.

Computer information:
  • Intel I-9 9900k
  • Asus ROG Strix Z390-E
  • EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC ULTRA GAMING 8GB
  • Logitech G660 Mouse
  • Multiple Keyboards pointed out above
Windows Information:

  • Windows 10 Home
  • Version 21H2
  • OS Build 19044.1645
Pastebin providing Get-ComputerInfo: https://pastebin.com/0hYptM8r

If there are log files which would be helpful I would be willing to include them if asked for

Thank you in advance if there is someone out there with a fix. Its mind blowing that a problem like this exists with troubleshooting posts back to 2011. Meanwhile Microsoft in their benevolence is working on how better to monetize Windows Explorer and push its customers into choosing another OS.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
First of all:

You need to ensure that all important data is backed up at least 2 x to locations other than the current host computer. Verify that the backups are both recoverable and readable.

Restore points should be done as well. Even if restoration goes astray you may still be able to recover to some extent.

= = = =

How do you get the CTRL key unstuck - what action(s) do you take?

Noted that you ran the built in Windows troubleshooters.

Run "sfc /scannow" and "dism" as well.

References:

https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-use-sfc-scannow-to-repair-windows-system-files-2626161

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-use-dism-command-line-utility-repair-windows-10-image

However, what you describe suggests to me that there is some other app, tool/utility involved. Or even some related configuration setting.

Are you using any sort of screen savers or power savers?

Look in Task Manager for what all that is being launched at startup - anything unrecognized or unexpected should be investigated.

Also look in Task Scheduler - look for anything that may be triggering some action, app, or utility.

Check Reliability History: Reliability History may be capturing some error code, warning, or even an informational event that you can match to the times that the CTRL starts to "stick".

Reliability History uses a time line format and if there is pattern to the CTRL key starting to stick you may be able to see the pattern.

Likewise, start keeping some notes. Write down what you and/or the system was doing when the CTRL key sticks.
 
Apr 26, 2022
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How do you get the CTRL key unstuck - what action(s) do you take?
Very very rarely it will stop when I mash the CTRL key. 9/10 times I have to restart my PC.

Run "sfc /scannow" and "dism" as well.
I ran the sfc scan and it did find corrupt files (though it didn't tell me what it found) and fixed them.

Are you using any sort of screen savers or power savers?
I use Wallpaper Engine. I did try uninstalling it for a week or so to see if that was the issue, but the problem persisted.

Look in Task Manager for what all that is being launched at startup - anything unrecognized or unexpected should be investigated.
Nothing looks out of the ordinary here, the "Update" looks to be Discord after checking the signature.

Also look in Task Scheduler - look for anything that may be triggering some action, app, or utility.
I am not very well versed with Nvidia, but it looks like everything is normal here.

Check Reliability History
This is the sort of thing I'm looking for. I don't know where to look for error logs. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to log this specific problem.

Likewise, start keeping some notes. Write down what you and/or the system was doing when the CTRL key sticks.
There doesn't seem to be a common thing happening that I can see. It seems to happen randomly. Sometimes while I'm playing a game (it has happened in many games so far), sometimes while I am working on homework, and sometime while I am just watching a movie in my browser. On the topic of browser, I do tend to have tabs open while doing all those things, but I switched from Firefox to Opera a few months back and it still happens.

I will keep an eye on this after running the sfc scan, maybe that took care of it.
 

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