Synopsis: My computer interprets every action as ALT+[action]. I need this to stop.
Story: A few days ago windows corrupted a file on a bad restart. I don't know which file it was, but it says it was lost. Ever since then, windows interprets every action as though I were holding down the ALT key. This includes keystrokes and mouseclicks, but also includes autonomous actions such as loading flash files in my browser or clicking links.
In order to solve the problem, I want to reformat my hard drive, so I have the reboot CD in the drive (luckily I had previously set BIOS to boot from CD), but I can't even do so much as "press 1 for English" because it's interpreting it as ALT+1. I don't know why the computer is misinterpreting my keystrokes even outside of the windows platform-- any thoughts? I've tried uninstalling/reinstalling my keyboard, but it doesn't help.
I've thought about formatting the drive from the DOS prompt, but the only way I can figure to get to it is from the shortcut in windows. The DOS prompt interprets some of the keys correctly, but it doesn't interpret the enter key correctly, so I don't even have the ability to enter a command.
The follow-up: I posted this on a couple of non-specialist forums already and they recommended that my ALT keys might be sticking, but I'm certain that the keys aren't sticking because the comp is a tablet PC, so it has a little onscreen keyboard that lights up when a key is pressed, and I've already checked both alt keys-- not to mention the fact the problem started after windows lost that unknown file. I don't have a spare keyboard, but I'll try bringing my comp in to work tomorrow to plug in my work keyboard.
The only thing that makes me skeptical about a hardware problem is that for instance, when I load Firefox, it starts trying to "save target as" the links for my extensions, such as my weather extension or my gmail extension-- which I don't think would normally happen if I were just holding down ALT. I think that the computer is taking commands and cycling them to their alternate functionality.
Also, when I click a file, it interprets it as ALT+click, pulling up the right-click menu. But when I do ALT+click, it doesn't perform any action at all.
Any other thoughts?