Virtual PC: Keyboard stops working intermittently ?

I’ve been working with Virtual PC 2004 for a while now, I’m spending almost all of my development/testing time inside various Virtual PC images so I can protect my physical PC from being cluttered up with all the technologies, code, etc. that I end up having to use.


However I’ve been fighting an annoying intermittent keyboard problem where the keyboard stops working inside the Virtual PC OS, Eventually I’ve figured out why it stops working.  If you use Right Alt+Enter to make toggle Full Screen it triggers the keyboard to stop working.  It turns out that the CTRL key is being “stuck down” inside the Virtual PC meaning the keyboard looks like it’s not responding.


You can prove this by pressing ESC, which brings up the Start Menu,  you can clear the “stuck key” by pressing CTRL again inside the VPC, Annoying but at least gets you working again.  Seems to affect all Host/Guest OS and hardware combinations so far


Comments (9)
  1. Ryan Heath says:

    Since my laptop has a "exotic" keyboardlayout, i use the rightAlt frequently for { and }, so this behaviour is a bit annoying when coding in C#…

    If someone finds a way to turn it of, I would be pleased to hear it.

  2. You could try to change the HotKey in Virtual PC from Right Alt to something else. This will probably solve Your problem.

  3. I’ve found this happens occassionally when I use Remote Desktop. It took me a while to figure out what was wrong.

  4. Sven Hattenbach says:

    Sorry, but couldn’t figure out how to change HotKey ? Any hint ?

    This problem accurs quite often when using german keyboard-layout and trying to enter UNC-paths (backslashes). After what I found out this is only possible by unsing CTRL+ALT+ß (instead of ALTGR+ß, which is normally used, buts lock STRG as described).

  5. Rob M says:

    I was having this same problem. It is a major pain, hopefully they will release a fix for this. Or at least put it in the help file, until then… Google to the rescue..

  6. Eric says:

    That workaround doesn’t work for me. My whole keyboard stops working inside the VPC. Nothing happens when I hit ESC. Pressing CTRL doesn’t help either. I’ve tried everything and cant get the keyboard to work again inside it….

  7. Don says:

    I don’t know if this topic is active or not but here goes…

    I have my OS in Virtual PC require a password to log on. Virtual PC, as noted above, doesn’t accept keyboard input sometimes. I’ve pressed ESC and CTRL, all to no avail. Anyone experience this problem? Any workarounds? The OS and keyboard are set up with standard American (English).

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