Hi, this is long one I'm afraid. Now where to start... I have an HP Pavilion DV6-6156ea laptop running Windows 7 Home edition 64-bit, which pops up browser windows all the time out of the blue, unless I disable the keyboard by installing an incompatible driver (and using an external keyboard and mouse). The browser doesn't take me to a malicious site or anything.. just whatever page is set as my homepage. This first started happening over a year ago. At the time the machine quickly became so unusable, I had to resort to reinstalling windows from the recovery partition that shipped with the machine. This fixed it for a few months, then slowly at first the problem came back until it was unusable again. Basically, it opens new browser windows in bursts of 10, 20.. sometimes hundreds at at time, until usually the browser crashes and the process starts again. If focus is not on a browser window it will open whatever I have set as my default browser. If I'm using chrome at the time and the default browser is a different browser it will instead jump to the default home page in chrome.. over and over again.
Interestingly - while using an external keyboard because of the problem, I found there was a special shortcut key on this particular keyboard which did the exact same thing. It's as if every now and then someone presses this key repeatedly. My laptop does not have any shortcut key that does this by the way.
Here's what I've already tried:
1. Run full scans with maybe 6 or 7 different virus and rootkit scanners including SuperAntiSpyware, malwarebytes, TDSSKiller. Can't remember all the names off the top of my head but I don't think it's really important if you read point 3 below. All have come back clean anyway.
2. Reinstalled windows from the recovery partition maybe 2 or 3 times.
3. Downloaded a clean version of windows on another machine from digital river, run dban to completely wipe the contents of the hard drive. Installed the clean copy of windows from a disc. Problem was there straight away, before any data from the old machine was copied back on or an internet connection was set up.
4. Replaced the keyboard. Yes, that's right. I had to replace it anyway after an unrelated drink spill indecent (happened long after all the above occurred). I really thought the new keyboard might be the answer but alas no change.
I'm now using the laptop with an external keyboard and mouse as I've had to disable the keyboard driver, which also runs the trackpad. This is tolerable at home, but I'm going on a 3 week trip soon and will be annoying to have to travel with a separate keyboard and mouse. My flatmates tell me I should just buy a new laptop but this seems absurd considering everything else works perfectly.
Does anyone have any idea what else I could try? I'm all out of ideas. My only thought is that it could be a fault on the motherboard.. or maybe even the trackpad that's falsely triggering a keypress?
Look forward to hearing if anyone has thoughts on what could be causing this.