Following teachers’ return for this academic year in September, we suddenly found ourselves with a frequent issue. After waking the Surface Pro devices from sleep, the Type Cover would often not respond to keystrokes. The on screen keyboard was not affected, but USB keyboards also stopped working. The Type Cover trackpad would continue working fine.
A full Windows restart would always bring back the keyboard functionality.
This triggered a challenging investigation to determine what was wrong. The fact that we had made no significant software changes that should affect this over the summer made me look, with guidance from Microsoft Surface Business support, to Windows Updates as a possible issue. Rolling back both September and August’s Windows Updates did not seem to have any effect.
Clearly this wasn’t a wide enough issue to be affecting everyone, or many more customers would be up in arms about having to restart 6 or 7 times in a working day!
With the issue affecting a wide range of different Surface Pro devices and different Type Covers, it looked more likely to be a software issue than hardware. Predictably, perhaps, I was unable to reproduce the issue on a device with nothing but a stock Windows install on it… it’s got to be software. Right?
The build of Windows we run is kept as simple and close-to-stock as possible, for exactly the reason that it saves you from this type of issue! Of the software we do run, the prime suspects seemed to be:
- third-party endpoint security software
- Veyon Classroom Management software
I dug a little deeper into what Veyon brings along to do its magic. Its ability to remotely control other systems for classroom management purposes, including remotely inducing the Secure Attention Sequence (Ctrl-Alt-Delete to normal folks!) means that it must have some kind of driver installed that permits this functionality. Eventually, it dawned on me that this interacts with the keyboard, making it a good candidate for the culprit for, you know, keyboard problems.