PowerBook G4 wake-from-sleep keyboard failure

I’m having a really annoying problem with my Apple PowerBook G4 keyboard:
If the PowerBook hasn’t fully gone to sleep when the lid is closed, then the keyboard fails when the PowerBook wakes from sleep.

The effect of this is that without a functioning keyboard, I am unable to login to the PowerBook and so it has to be hard re-started.

On re-start, the keyboard functions fine again!

Anyone else come across something like this or, more importantly, know how to resolve it?

23 thoughts on “PowerBook G4 wake-from-sleep keyboard failure”

  1. Hmm Tom, that sounds like quite an annoying problem. With my iBook, it tends to go to sleep once I’ve already closed the lid (pressing it down till it clicks to trigger sleep), does that mean that you are doing a manual sleep from the Apple menu and then closing it?

    Maybe you should try looking in Console.app to see if there are any funny goings on, I recently installed Apple developer tools to try something out and it removed one of my private frameworks(!) which stopped several programs from working. I found the name of the offending framework by looking in console.app and reinstalled from another 10.4 installation.

  2. Hi David,

    Yeah, if I close the lid on the PowerBook before it has gone to sleep completely, the keyboard fails – really annoying. It seems to have started after an upgrade to 10.4.1 or 10.4.2, afair.

    I’ll look into the console to see if I see anything unusual (though I’m not sure what I’d be looking for!) – thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Anyone else come across something like this or, more importantly, know how to resolve it?

    You know, I think you’re right. I believe that my PowerBook may have been doing this.

  4. EWI,

    try upgrading to 10.4.3 – I can’t reproduce the issue since the upgrade – I think it might have resolved it (fingers crossed!)

  5. Hi guys,

    I am using a 12″ PB 1.5 Ghz and experience the same problem posted earlier — when I put my PB to sleep by shutting the lid, the keyboard fails when I wake the computer by opening the lid. This is a serious problem since I can’t enter my password and therefore am locked out of my system. This problem appeared after downloading 10.4.3, but I don’t know if they are directly related.

    Has anyone tried contacting apple?

  6. Nicholas,

    What you are reporting is strange because I feel my problem started when I upgraded from 10.4 to 10.4.1.

    The upgrade from 10.4.2 to 10.4.3 fixed the problem for me!

    As a matter of interest, did you upgrade from 10.4.0 to 10.4.1 to 10.4.2 to 10.4.3 or did you do an upgrade from 10.4.0 to 10.4.3?

  7. hi, just have the same problem on my pb 15/1,676 mhz running os 10.3.9 or whatever the latest upate is.

    I can’t log in, not one of the cypher/letter keys is working.Trackpad works fine, as do brightness sound etc on top, gues the F row works but functions keys are useless in the login window… pram resets, safe boot restarts, deleting caches (startup via apple t, so the laptop acts like firewire desk) nothing works. apple care = unfamiliair with the problem, although more reports on the net. It isn’t hardware, since a ‘open firmware’ restart made it possible to type some commands in the unix window (to no avail btw), so the keyboard hardware is okay.

    is there a hidden keyboard lock/unlock chord? any advise welcome…


  8. I have the same problem on my Ti book, which has persisted all the way through 10.4.3

    There is a workaround that I have used 100 % successfully – hit the shift key, then the caps lock key on then off again. then the shift key again, all in rapid succession.

    Yes, I know that sounds silly. But it works everytime for me, and has mitigated the need for reboots to get my keyboard back.

    Hope this helps,

    – Bill

  9. I have the same problem with a titanium 1ghz PB, but my pb just goes to sleep for about 1 second, it has another problem that might be related, one of the ram slots does’t work. anyway I would love to be able to put the pb on sleep again

  10. I have a Tibook 800 mHz running 10.3.9, and have what sounds like the same problem. I let my computer sleep auotmatically and come back to find the fan is running and I can’t wake it up with the keyboard and have to do a hard shutdown and restart . Of course, it doesn’t make sense that the fan would be running while sleeping. I have taken to putting it to sleep manually, which seems to help, although not always. I also not convinced that closing the lid always puts it to sleep either, so I manually sleep it then as well.


  11. Some of the problems here are because you have accidently hit the “num lock” key, turning off the letter keys and making u,i,o,j,k,l,m into numbers.

    This, at least, seems like the problem that BBee is having. A bit late, thus probably unhelpful. But there’s my two cents.

  12. I have a powerbook 1.67 G4 running 10.4.7. I upgraded to this version very recently from 10.4.

    I have the same problem!

    Funny thing is, it just happened a minute ago whilst the computer was _awake_. I did not hit num lock, and it was not asleep.

    When it happens when it’s asleep, I try to click on all the cancel/try again etc buttons on the log-in panel, and hit various non-letter keys until it works again. Or, hard restart.

    Such is life.

    I will report my issue the now to el Apple.

    Will get back if they provide a solution.

  13. I had a look on Apple’s site, and found this article about resetting the PMU on Powerbooks and iBooks. This is for last resort problems with hardware settings (see article for info), but usefully, it includes some shortcut ideas to try before resorting to PMU. I tried a simple relaunch of the Finder as my keyboard _still_ didn’t work after a restart. And a Finder relaunch worked. Useful tip for keyboard failure when the machine is awake.


  14. hi i hawe problem with my powerbook g4 12″
    my tow shift buttoms on the left side is out of function.
    im now use to it so its realy no sress but im thinking of selling it so i shold fixit.

    wath can i doo?

  15. Useful tip for keyboard failure when the machine is awake.

    Ok but what about when your machine is powered off? I have been having this problem on and off again for a couple years. SOmetimes the crazy thing will go to sleep and somehow lock the keyboard as well. REcently, the powerbutton locks as well. Seemed to re-set itself last time when I put in a disk… THis time that isn’t working.

    I had read somewhere that there was a key combination that can shutdown and lock all buttons, but why is this happening sporadically when the computer puts itself to sleep?

  16. My version is that the keyboard doesn’t completely shut down, but the lower two rows of keys don’t work and the 3rd row, instead of the letters, gives me numbers. I’ve tried rebooting, but it will only work with my remote keyboard (I have a 12″ 1.5G Powerbook G4, running 10.4.8.

  17. Found this on the apple website under 10.4 help:

    “If you have a Macintosh computer with an infrared (IR) receiver, you can put your computer to sleep using an Apple Remote. Press and hold the Play/Pause button on the remote until the computer goes to sleep. When your computer is in sleep, pressing any button on the remote will wake the computer… ”

    I can imagine creative ways in which this could go bad.

    I’ve been having a lot of trouble with this issue of not waking from sleep (G4 15″ alum 1.67, running 10.3.9). Sometimes I think it is related to a battery level status issue but that is just a hunch. I too have adopted the practice when switching to battery use of unplugging the AC adaptor before putting the computer to sleep. That seems to reduce the number of times this happens but is not 100% effective in getting rid of it.

    In my model of Powerbook, they apparently introduced something they call “safe sleep”, which caches various things to the hard drive before sleeping. It sounds plausible that an almost full hard drive (does anyone have one that isn’t) would cause trouble for the safety of the sleep. But obviously the problem is more general than just this model of machine or newer. Probably safe to bet that there are numerous ways to trigger this behavior.

  18. Hello

    I am hoping that someone can help me with my powerbook G4 problem.

    i can restart the computer, but when it gets to the login screen, it immediately goes to sleep. i can manage to wake the computer up, but it only lasts for about 2 seconds and then it goes back to sleep. and it just keeps on staying that way. i’ve tried resetting my powerbook a few times, but the result is the same when it goes back on.

    i am having difficulties logging onto my powerbook, because of this “sleep malfunction”. i can’t use my computer, and my life is on this computer!

    please, someone help.

  19. My G4 15″ running 10.3.9 goes to sleep in the middle of work, then it’ll come back on after I hit enter or use the mouse pad. This may go on 2-3 more times within a fifteen minutes before it goes to sleep without ever waking. I can’t restart the computer until after it’s been unplugged from the AC and take the battery out. After all that hit the power button to stop the light from breathing, plug everything back in and start the computer back up.

    Any ideas about this sleep issue would be greatly appreciated.

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