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Support Forum

Erratic keyboard on Google (and other) News sites

Posted

I have a baffling Firefox (ver 64.0.2 (64 bit) problem. The keyboard's behavior is erratic when using Firefox to read news. It occurs *almost always* when browsing Google News, and *sometimes* with NPR news, StatesReports, and possibly others. Those are the three I read regularly.

Today, the misbehavior on both of my Windows computers, in both safe and normal modes: when Google News is launched, the "Up", "Down", "Left", and "Right" arrow keys do nothing except move a cursor around within page elements; the "Page down" & "Page up", work correctly, but the "End" and "Home" keys do nothing. At other times, successive presses of the page down will work correctly a couple of times, and the next press will perform a page up and the following press results in a page down then the next press results in another page up. This loop continues. From that point pressing the end key or the home key does nothing. At other times, the keys perform as expected. At still other times the Down arrow performs END, and Up arrow performs HOME. The HOME and END KEYS seem to move the cursor left and right within the element which has the FOCUS.

The Chrome browser works fine.

I have two computers running Windows 7 Professional. My laptop is a Lenovo X220. My Desktop is a homebuilt PC based on a Gigabyte motherboard. The laptop is a refurb bought from Amazon in August 2016 and came with Windows 7 professional installed. The PC's Win 7 was installed from a system builder "Intended for Distribution with a refurbished PC" disc about 2 1/2 years ago (June 2016). Both machines have been running without any significant problems until several months ago. Now both have the same problem, while another pc running linux mint does not have the problem.

I have restarted Firefox with add-ons disabled and the problem persists, so I don't believe it is caused by any of the add-ons. I swapped out multiple keyboards, checked both machines for malware using Malwarebytes, restarted Firefox and rebooted the computers several times, and tried running without Microsoft Security Essentials; I decided the Firefox profiles must be the source of the problem, so on Jan 12, 2019 I completely uninstalled/reinstalled Firefox on the PC and it worked fine (keyboard problem gone) so I did the same thing on the laptop, and it also worked correctly. I figured the problem was gone. Then, four days later (the 16th) the problem restarted, on both machines.

I am wondering if there might be a problem with a Firefox or Windows update, since the keyboard issue occurred at roughly the same time on both machines. It seems odd that both computers worked correctly for four days and simultaneously the problem restarted. I certainly don't want to reinstall Windows just to see if that helps.

Any advice will be greatly be appreciated.

I have a baffling Firefox (ver 64.0.2 (64 bit) problem. The keyboard's behavior is erratic when using Firefox to read news. It occurs *almost always* when browsing Google News, and *sometimes* with NPR news, StatesReports, and possibly others. Those are the three I read regularly. Today, the misbehavior on both of my Windows computers, in both safe and normal modes: when Google News is launched, the "Up", "Down", "Left", and "Right" arrow keys do nothing except move a cursor around within page elements; the "Page down" & "Page up", work correctly, but the "End" and "Home" keys do nothing. At other times, successive presses of the page down will work correctly a couple of times, and the next press will perform a page up and the following press results in a page down then the next press results in another page up. This loop continues. From that point pressing the end key or the home key does nothing. At other times, the keys perform as expected. At still other times the Down arrow performs END, and Up arrow performs HOME. The HOME and END KEYS seem to move the cursor left and right within the element which has the FOCUS. The Chrome browser works fine. I have two computers running Windows 7 Professional. My laptop is a Lenovo X220. My Desktop is a homebuilt PC based on a Gigabyte motherboard. The laptop is a refurb bought from Amazon in August 2016 and came with Windows 7 professional installed. The PC's Win 7 was installed from a system builder "Intended for Distribution with a refurbished PC" disc about 2 1/2 years ago (June 2016). Both machines have been running without any significant problems until several months ago. Now both have the same problem, while another pc running linux mint does not have the problem. I have restarted Firefox with add-ons disabled and the problem persists, so I don't believe it is caused by any of the add-ons. I swapped out multiple keyboards, checked both machines for malware using Malwarebytes, restarted Firefox and rebooted the computers several times, and tried running without Microsoft Security Essentials; I decided the Firefox profiles must be the source of the problem, so on Jan 12, 2019 I completely uninstalled/reinstalled Firefox on the PC and it worked fine (keyboard problem gone) so I did the same thing on the laptop, and it also worked correctly. I figured the problem was gone. Then, four days later (the 16th) the problem restarted, on both machines. I am wondering if there might be a problem with a Firefox or Windows update, since the keyboard issue occurred at roughly the same time on both machines. It seems odd that both computers worked correctly for four days and simultaneously the problem restarted. I certainly don't want to reinstall Windows just to see if that helps. Any advice will be greatly be appreciated.

Chosen solution

Hi bachswine, yes, that setting is sync'd.

The features can work differently on different sites. Sometimes if there is a block of content, instead of going into it the cursor goes around it skipping past a large section of the page. I've never really tried to understand what it is doing.

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Additional System Details

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Application

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  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; rv:64.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/64.0
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Misc

  • User JS: No
  • Accessibility: No
jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8312 solutions 68040 answers

I only read the first third because I think I know what it is.

Firefox has an accessibility feature called caret browsing that lets you move the cursor through the document. It's easy to turn on accidentally by pressing the F7 key. Fortunately, you also just need to tap that key to turn it off.

Does that work?

I only read the first third because I think I know what it is. Firefox has an accessibility feature called ''caret browsing'' that lets you move the cursor through the document. It's easy to turn on accidentally by pressing the F7 key. Fortunately, you also just need to tap that key to turn it off. Does that work?
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jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8312 solutions 68040 answers

Helpful Reply

Also, here are some additional settings related to this feature.

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button promising to be careful or accepting the risk.

(2) In the search box above the list, type or paste caret and pause while the list is filtered

  • accessibility.browsewithcaret => this will be bolded and set to true if the feature is on; double-click to turn it off
  • accessibility.browsewithcaret_shortcut.enabled => this controls whether F7 is used for this feature; to prevent F7 from starting caret browsing, double-click to change it from true to false
  • accessibility.warn_on_browsewithcaret => if F7 is enabled, this controls whether you get a warning when you press that key; keep this on true
Also, here are some additional settings related to this feature. (1) In a new tab, type or paste '''about:config''' in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button promising to be careful or accepting the risk. (2) In the search box above the list, type or paste '''caret''' and pause while the list is filtered * '''accessibility.browsewithcaret''' => this will be bolded and set to true if the feature is on; double-click to turn it off * '''accessibility.browsewithcaret_shortcut.enabled''' => this controls whether F7 is used for this feature; to prevent F7 from starting caret browsing, double-click to change it from true to false * '''accessibility.warn_on_browsewithcaret''' => if F7 is enabled, this controls whether you get a warning when you press that key; keep this on true
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Question owner

jscher 2000,

Thanks so much! You were right on! I especially appreciate your 2nd response. I had to look deeper into this as I have no need to ever use the F7 key, at least while in Firefox.

After looking in to this more I see that under Tools > Options > General >Browsing the check box "Always use the cursor keys to navigate within pages" was checked when accessibility.browsewithcaret is "false" and vice versa. In my case it was checked. I don't remember checking it, especially since it is rather cryptic and does not mention "caret". Maybe if the word was included in that option it would provide a hint as to what "navigate within pages" means. I think I would have looked further into it earlier! I'd like to suggest to whomever could fix it, make the text beside that check box read

"Caret Browsing: Always use the cursor keys to navigate within pages"

Do you know if that setting is synced across computers?

I am still puzzled as to why, considering that I had the caret browsing feature turned on (with the check box), all of the websites didn't perform the same. As I mentioned in the original question, it was almost always active on Google News, but even when it was, when I switched to a different news site it was sometimes active, sometimes not.

Thanks again! I wish I had come here sooner!

jscher 2000, Thanks so much! You were right on! I especially appreciate your 2nd response. I had to look deeper into this as I have no need to ever use the F7 key, at least while in Firefox. After looking in to this more I see that under Tools > Options > General >Browsing the check box "Always use the cursor keys to navigate within pages" was checked when accessibility.browsewithcaret is "false" and vice versa. In my case it was checked. I don't remember checking it, especially since it is rather cryptic and does not mention "caret". Maybe if the word was included in that option it would provide a hint as to what "navigate within pages" means. I think I would have looked further into it earlier! I'd like to suggest to whomever could fix it, make the text beside that check box read "Caret Browsing: Always use the cursor keys to navigate within pages" Do you know if that setting is synced across computers? I am still puzzled as to why, considering that I had the caret browsing feature turned on (with the check box), all of the websites didn't perform the same. As I mentioned in the original question, it was almost always active on Google News, but even when it was, when I switched to a different news site it was sometimes active, sometimes not. Thanks again! I wish I had come here sooner!
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jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8312 solutions 68040 answers

Chosen Solution

Hi bachswine, yes, that setting is sync'd.

The features can work differently on different sites. Sometimes if there is a block of content, instead of going into it the cursor goes around it skipping past a large section of the page. I've never really tried to understand what it is doing.

Hi bachswine, yes, that setting is sync'd. The features can work differently on different sites. Sometimes if there is a block of content, instead of going into it the cursor goes around it skipping past a large section of the page. I've never really tried to understand what it is doing.
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