Having problems with the tab key in Windows 7? I know! My desktop computer has Windows 7 64-bit and it worked fine a few days ago. All of a sudden, the tab key didn’t move me to the next form field in the online form. It seemed strange to me, so I restarted the browser and it worked once, but after a while it accidentally stopped.
I thought it was in isolation from the browser, but quickly realized that I had the same issue with tabs in Word, Outlook and Quickbooks. What a royal pain! I didn’t realize how often I used the tab key until it stopped working! Anyway, after doing some research and working with things, I figured out what the problem was. In this article I will try to describe various possible solutions and hopefully your tab key will start working correctly again.
I quickly managed to rule out hardware issues like the keyboard because I switched the keyboard, but the problem remained the same. Usually this problem is software related and is caused by other programs interfering with keyboard input or other programs.
To exclude hardware, make sure your keyboard is plugged directly into your computer and not some kind of switch or middle device that allows you to control multiple computers from a single keyboard. If you have such a setting, it is possible that the toggle device is causing the tab key problems. Disconnect it from there and reconnect it directly to your computer. See if your problem goes away.
My problem was not the hardware switch, but a program called Synergy. It is a small application that allows you to use your mouse and keyboard for multiple computers over a network connection. It’s pretty convenient because it’s free and you don’t need any hardware to work with your keyboard and mouse. Plus, you can use it on Windows, Mac and Linux computers because they have software for all three operating systems.
Anyway, for some reason Synergy was causing my tab key to no longer work as expected in Windows 7. I removed it and everything worked fine again.
Depending on your system, you might have pressed a key combination that turned something on or off in Windows, causing the tab key to no longer work as expected. Try each of the following and check if the tab after each one works:
– ALT + 0 + 0 + 9
– Double press the Windows key (disables StickKeys)
– Press ALT key twice
– Press CTRL key twice
Xerox Printer Drivers
Xerox printer drivers
Quite a few people who have had this problem have Xerox print drivers installed on their machines as well. In particular, the Xerox Job Tracker process is known to cause tab key issues. Kill this process or disable it permanently with MSCONFIG.
If you have drivers for Xerox printers but are no longer using those printers, be sure to completely uninstall the printer and any associated software.
Remove keyboard driver
Uninstall the keyboard driver
Another thing you can try if none of the above works is to uninstall the keyboard driver and then reinstall it. You can do this by going into Device Manager, expanding Keyboards and right-clicking to uninstall it.
Restart your computer immediately and let Windows reinstall the keyboard. Hopefully one of the above methods solved your problem. If not, leave a comment here and we’ll try to help. Enjoy!