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Dell Dimension 2400: Keyboard Troubles?

written by: Austin•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 8/25/2011

The Dell D2400 keyboard (or, the "Dimension 2400") was designed to be functional, yet sturdy. Unfortunately, there were a few flaws that made some models break, and ultimately, need some major troubleshooting. If you have one of these units, read onward, because it's troubleshooting time.

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    The Dimension 2400: An Introduction

    Screen shot 2011-08-22 at 2.57.07 PM Computer company Dell is known for making affordable computers that also run fairly well, and nearly ten years ago now they released the Dell Dimension 2400, a home tower computer that aimed to be strong, sturdy, but fairly cheap. A lot of people who aren't particularly computer savvy are still using the Dimension 2400 nowadays, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. With a few upgrades, it works pretty well, but one thing keeps popping up above all else -- keyboard troubles.

    Using an external keyboard, the Dell D2400 is susceptible to a myriad of problems, including severed cables, broken USB ports, and internal dust/debris clogging things up. Here's how to deal with all of the potential problems your keyboard may have, and how to make sure they don't happen again.

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    Check Your Ports

    Firstly, everyone knows that there are two ways to connect a keyboard to a Windows computer: You can plug into the PS-2 ports, which is the default port of the D2400 keyboard and looks like a circular hole with a few smaller holes inside of it, or you can plug into the industry-standard USB ports. Sometimes it's possible that your PS-2 ports are simply broken and that there's no crazy firmware or hardware problem that you can't see inside your computer. To check this, you'll need to go out and buy a USB keyboard (shouldn't cost more than $6-7) and then shut down your computer.

    Plug the keyboard into the back of the computer, align it properly so you'll be able to use it, and then turn on the computer. Using the mouse, open up a text editing program such as Microsoft Word or Notepad, and attempt to type. If it works, then congratulations, you've solved your problem lickety split; you just have to use a USB keyboard from now on, or shell out and replace the PS-2 ports yourself.

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    Refresh/Reinstall the Drivers

    Screen shot 2011-08-24 at 3.29.50 PM In order to make things that plug into your computer work properly, we have things called "Drivers", which do their best at "driving" the hardware (such as a keyboard or mouse) in the right direction so signals are received and interpreted correctly. Sometimes, if a weird program gets installed or something gets knocked loose in the firmware of your computer, these drivers can go back and require re-installing. To do this with keyboard drivers, you'll have to navigate your way to the Device Manager which can be found under this directory:

    My Computer (Right Click On It) > Properties > Hardware Tab > Device Manager

    Once you get here, you should be able to locate the "keyboards" section pretty quickly, expand it using the plus button to the left of it, and right-click on the keyboard driver that appears underneath. Choose "Uninstall", follow the instructions, and then restart your computer. Generally speaking, Windows will automatically re-install basic drivers like for keyboards, mice, and video cards, etc, so once it gets back to the desktop, try it out and see if you have any luck!

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    Do a Quick Clean

    While an in-depth cleaning of a $10 keyboard really isn't worth the time or effort, you do have the option to do what I've dubbed a "quick clean". This essentially means that you could take a pressure hose (a vacuum cleaner with a hose turned on reverse works fine as well) and blow in between the keys to knock loose any dust or dirt that could be gunking up the keys. The only thing about this is that, generally speaking, dust and dirt won't ruin an entire keyboard, but rather cause a few keys not to work. Still, anything is worth a shot if it's easy enough!

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    Frankly, Just Buy a New Keyboard

    When it comes down to it, anything you'd try beyond the two things mentioned here, such as taking apart and cleaning the keyboard or reinstalling Windows entirely, wouldn't end up being worth the time put into them, because ultimately you can just go out and buy a new USB or PS-2 keyboard for as cheap as four or five dollars. Since both of these activities (especially thoroughly cleaning a keyboard, though, again, you could try dusting it out with a vacuum cleaner) would take a few hours anyhow, and you could probably find enough money on the street to buy a keyboard in about an hour if you really didn't have the funds for it.

    That being said, some people are persistent, and if you're really looking to reinstall your entire operating system, I certainly won't stop you. Best of luck to you, and happy keyboarding!