Troubleshooting – Advantage Keyboard

USB 3.0 issues
Advantage keyboard’s currently do not work on most Windows 7 computers which have USB 3.0 ports, even if they also have USB 2.0. This problem does not exist in other operating systems, including Windows 8, Mac & Linux.
Possible work-around: If your Windows 7 computer only has USB 3.0 ports available, enter the BIOS of your computer during bootup. Look for “USB Configuration” section in which there may be a checkbox or option for “Enable USB 3.0 Controller”. Uncheck the box or disable USB 3.0, reboot,and test keyboard. If that is not there, or you don’t want to do disable 3.0, try “enable USB debug.” Another possible option is to disable the “Intel xHCI Mode”. If the BIOS on your computer does not list this as an option or you are unable to fix the problem, contact Kinesis Technical Support about a cable conversion kit (no charge within 60 days of purchase, though international shipping charges may apply, otherwise $25 plus shipping for keyboards still under warranty). Email: or call 800-454-6374 (option 2) 8am – 4:30pm, M-F.

For user’s with Windows 7 computers that have a USB 3.0 USB port we advise to purchase the new Advantage2 keyboard that is fully compatible with Windows 7 and USB 3.0 ports.

Right side of keyboard is typing numbers
The Advantage keyboard has an embedded numeric 10-key on the right side of the keyboard. When the keypad key is on, as well as Num Lock, the keys on the right side will produce numbers. Simply press the Keypad key (upper right function key) to toggle on and off.
Individual key not working
Determine if the key is producing the wrong character or if it is electrically dead. If it’s the wrong character, try remapping the key to itself:
1). Press and Hold the Program key and tap F12 (lights on keyboard will begin to flash rapidly).
2). Press and release the non-working key (flashing lights SHOULD slow down in speed. If they do not, this indicates that the key is not being registered and is likely damaged. If this is the case, repeat step 1 to exit remap mode & contact tech support. If the lights do slow down, continue to step 3).
3). Press and release the non-working key a second time (flashing lights will speed up).
4). Repeat step 1 to exit.

If the key seems electronically dead, you can try removing the individual keycap (if you have a USB keyboard it should have came with a “keycap removal tool.” Use this to remove the keycap. If your keyboard did not come with the tool, use two paper clips- bend them in the shape of a hook or “J” and pull the keycap straight up) and spray canned air inside the key switch to remove any dirt/debris. If there appears to be any sticky residues on the keycap or on the key switch, try to clean the area as best as you can (usually a damp paper towel is good enough).

If the problem continues, it is likely that the individual key switch is damaged and may require a repair.

Row or cluster of keys not working on Advantage keyboard
If your keyboard has a serial number starting with a “5” or below, it could be possible that the side of the keyboard (keywell) with the failed keys has become slightly loose from the main circuit board causing one or more of the traces on that side to lose contact.

The best solution is to contact Kinesis Technical Support to setup a repair, however if you’re willing to open the keyboard we can also provide step-by-step instructions on how to reset the keywell.

Function keys not working on Advantage Keyboard
It’s possible the “Multi Media” features of the keyboard have been enabled, which changes some of the function keys.

To check, open up some kind of text editor and press and hold the equals key and tap the letter “s” (=s). You should see some text on the screen. If you see any of the function keys listed inside the brackets [F3 F4 etc.,] then you know the Multi Media features are active.

Normally, this is turned on by holding down the equals key and tapping the letter “n.”

To disable the Multi Media feature, enter the Instant Configuration you’re currently in.

So for example, if your keyboard is in Windows Mode, select Windows mode by holding down the equals key and tapping “w” (=w). (=m for mac mode and =p for PC mode).

This will clear the settings and your function keys should behave as expected.

Ctrl, Alt/Option, and/or Windows/Command keys are not working correctly
The Advantage keyboard has three different Instant Configuration Settings: Windows Mode, Mac Mode and PC Mode. Each mode changes the top four thumb keys.

  • To enter Windows Mode, press and hold the equals key and tap the letter “w” (=w).
    The top four thumb keys while in Windows mode, from left to right, are: Ctrl | Alt | Windows | Ctrl.
  • To enter Mac Mode, press and hold the equals key and tap the letter “m” (=m).
    The top four thumb keys while in Mac mode, from left to right are: Command | Option | Ctrl | Command.
  • To enter PC Mode, press and hold the equals key and tap the letter “p” (=p).
    The top four thumb keys while in Windows mode, from left to right are: Ctrl | Alt | Alt | Ctrl.
Computer won’t boot
Check keyboard connections. Make sure the keyboard is connected directly to a PS/2 or USB port on the computer, depending on which model you’re using. If you’re using a PS/2 to USB adaptor for older PS/2 model Kinesis keyboards, it may not be compatible. The adaptor must be an Active adaptor, not a Passive adaptor. If you cannot find an adaptor that works, contact Kinesis tech support for suggestions.

If you have ruled out the adapter cable, try connecting to a different computer (preferably a different brand and/or model) if possible and see if you can reproduce the problems or not.

Stuck modifer key
Sometimes a computer misses the upstroke from keys that are held down in key combinations. “The result is a “virtually stuck” key, usually a modifier (shift, ctrl, alt), and most often shift. The OS thinks it is still pressed even though it has been released.

The Advantage keyboard has a minor timing incompatibility with some computers and OS versions which causes this to happen more frequently than normal. While there is no known way to prevent this problem, an easy solution when it happens is to tap the stuck key, which will instantly release it. Since it is often hard to know which key is stuck, you can just tap shift keys. If that doesn’t fix it, tap the ctrl and alt keys.

The Advantage2 keyboard has all new electronics and should only experience this problem rarely if at all, and no more often than any other good quality USB keyboard.