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"Mute On" Pops Up with Various Keystrokes

Thinkpad R32 | Kubuntu 7.04

On my (new to me) Thinkpad R32, many keys on the left hand side of the keyboard caused the "Mute On" popup to appear on my screen (muting the sound).

I worked around the problem by stopping the thinkpad-keys daemon.




On my (new to me) Thinkpad R32, many keys on the left hand side of the keyboard caused the "Mute On" popup to appear on my screen (muting the sound). Exactly which keys did this varied based on some things I couldn't determine, but at various times all of the following keys caused the problem.

F2  F3  F4  F5  F6
1   2   3   4   5
q   w   e   r   t
a   s   d   f
z   x   c

Sometimes doing various things (e.g., running xev, pressing keys multiple times in various sequences) caused a temporary partial correction, i.e. not as many keys caused the problem. Also, sometimes it seemed that one keypress caused the popup to appear multiple times (separated by a time delay).

Solution (Workaround)

Stopped the thinkpad-keys daemon.

Steps to the Solution

I won't describe everything I (and my son) did to attempt to find the problem. I'll mention a few:

  • xev showed that some of the keys were generating signals appropriate to cause the problem (XF86AudioMute) but, while running xev, fewer keys caused the problem. (After disabling thinkpad-keys, none of those keys generate XF86AudioMute.)

  • running tail -f /var/log/messages didn't show me anything useful (no messages appeared on a keypress or release)

  • finally (at my son's suggestion) we looked at the running processes hoping to find something suspicious--I was about to try disabling hald (not sure what that does), but my son saw thinkpad-keys, and we tried that first.

That is at least a workaround for the problem.

Related Problem?

I had another problem a few days ago while trying to view (and listen to) a DVD. After about 10 minutes of playing, the sound would stop (the video continued) without any interaction with the machine. We'd find the sound muted, unmute it, and listen for another 10 minutes or so. I haven't tried playing a DVD since then to see if killing thinkpad-keys also solves that problem.

Currently killing thinkpad-keys (manually) after startup

I haven't yet found where thinkpad-keys is initiated during startup, so for now I will kill it after booting up.

Restarting thinkpad-keys doesn't immediately restart the problem

Hmm, interesting--restarting thinkpad-keys did not immediately cause the problem to recur--maybe the problem is caused by an interaction with some other program. IMHO, the most "exotic" program I'm running is the arduino software, so that would be my first suspicion. I'll try seeing if the "mute on" problem recurs before or after I try using the arduino software. It may be some time until I do that, or feel confident in the results.

I'm not sure whether I ran the arduino software since the last reboot. I thought that maybe it was started automatically by kde since it may have been running the last time I shut down kde, but that does not appear to be the case. So, I'm currently less suspicious of the arduino software.


  • () RandyKramer - 19 Jun 2007
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Topic revision: r1 - 2007-06-19 - RandyKramer
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