Shift key draws a * character at unlock

I noticed that pressing the Shift key draws a * character in the password field on the unlock screen and that if my password requires me to press Shift to enter a character, I can’t log in because of it. Using a USB keyboard does not draw a * character for Shift there and I can then log in successfully. How can I fix this?

Change your password so that it removes the Shift key requirement while keeping or improving the password strength.

Can you please specify:

  • Hardware
  • Which unlock screen (i.e. unlocking a LUKS encrypted disk, initial account login from boot, screen locked from timeout, etc.)
  • If using phosh, what version of phosh? What version of squeekboard?
    • $ dpkg -l | grep -e phosh -e squeekboard

Hardware is a Librem 14. The unlock screen is due to the screen being locked from timeout. All of the system software is up-to-date via apt full-upgrade.

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Does the Right Shift key behave the same as the Left Shift key?

I assume that this only happens on the password unlock screen and not in general keying.

What happens if you Live Boot PureOS from USB flash drive? While the account password in the live boot environment may not have a shifted character, if I am understanding the problem description correctly, that won’t stop you from demonstrating the basic problem.

There’s also the boot firmware and the EC firmware to consider.

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Much to my surprise, I tried general keying without a USB keyboard and the left Shift key draws a Z character (usually capital but sometimes lowercase) and the right Shift key draws an X character (usually capital but sometimes lowercase).

Boot firmware and EC firmware are up to date as of a few months ago. FWIW I’m sure the above behavior was not taking place a few months ago.

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So if I am understanding your problem description correctly, doesn’t this make your computer completely unusable??

Based on this though, I think even more that you should do a Live Boot of PureOS from a USB flash drive, in order to fault isolate.

Assuming that the problem also happens on a Live Boot, I would think you should be contacting Purism Support

As a slight digression, are you using an encrypted root partition? If so, does your LUKS passphrase for that require you to use the Shift key? If so, does that work?

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The laptop is unusable unless I use a USB keyboard.

I tested LUKS passphrase entry and the Shift keys also draw a character there.

I also tested the X and Z keys and they have the same behavior which is to say they usually draw a capitalized X or Z and sometimes lowercase.

Is there an easy method for building PureOS on a USB stick?

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I am not sure about compiling from source, but there are simple instuctions to flash an image:

So the consequence of that is that if your LUKS passphrase includes an uppercase letter then you can’t successfully boot at all (without using an external keyboard)?

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There are bigger issues, like the “Z” and “X” keys producing upper and/or lower case letters. In which case, my solution of removing the Shift key as a password requirement is no longer valid if other keys fail to produce consistent results too, even if using “Caps Lock”.

@purirocks It sounds like you have a short in the keyboard’s key matrix, probably between the left shift and Z keys. That could be caused by a spill on the keyboard, for example.

If you are familiar with removing laptop key caps for cleaning, that might solve it. Laptop keycaps and retainers are somewhat delicate, so take care not to damage them.

If you aren’t comfortable removing the keycaps, or it does not solve the problem, please contact