ThinkPad Keyboard System Beep – problem solved !

I’ve noticed an annoying beep that happens sometimes when I type. It’s always happened at random times with many of the ThinkPad’s I’ve used, but I’ve never found out what was causing it. It has become extremely annoying with my new T60, because the beep (which sounds like a plain old “system beep” kind of sound), is actually really really loud – especially when I have my headphone plugged directly into my laptop … the volume control doesn’t seem to make any difference either.

So, I decided to try a Google search to see if I could work out how to turn off this system beep … there didn’t seem to be any options in the ThinkPad Configuration application.

I quickly found the reason for the problem and the solution (Google to the rescue again !).

It turns out that for some very strange reason, there are certain keys on the ThinkPad keyboard that when you press three of them at once, the system beeps. I have no idea why they would do that.

It seems that I (like some other people who have reported the same problem), type so quickly, that the laptop considers that we are actually hitting three keys at once (or it may be that we are hitting two at once, with the third being a key hit accidentally at the same time).

According to Greg Hughes, if at least two of the keys “4567rtyufghjvbnm” are pressed, along with any third key in the same row at the two that were pressed, the system will beep. Hmmm – why would they do that (only thing I can think of is some undocumented system diagnostic tool ?)

Anyway, Greg linked to Elliot Lee who provides the surprisingly simple solution – there happens to be a “Beep” driver that can be disabled. The trick is that it is hidden from the normal list of drivers.

The solution (for Windows XP … unsure about other versions):

1. Go to Device Manager … Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Device Manager

2. (the trick !!) Show Hidden Devices. (Look in the menu … View -> Show hidden devices).

3. In the “Non-Plug and Play Drivers” section, you will find a “Beep” driver … double click on it to open the properties – then click on the “Driver” tab in the properties dialog.

4. Click on the “Stop” button to turn it off now, and set the Startup Type to “Disabled” to prevent it starting again.

Simple huh ? Thanks to Greg and Elliot for the answer (and to Google for letting me find them easily !).


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