In many games, especially games where you walk around as a character, I have found that the characters often walk without my finger holding the key required. The character will usually walk uncontrollably in one direction, let's say left, without me holding the left key down.

I am sometimes able to solve this issue by tapping the key again. Sometimes I mash the buttons to get them to stay still. Sometimes this issue is very persistent and hard to get rid of. I may stop them from going left, but then they will just walk in another direction.

This can really ruin good games for me, and it has been bugging me for a while with many different games. When I try to search for this issue on the internet, I can't seem to find the right wording, as my searches usually give me stuff about broken keyboards.

Is there a specific name for this issue? What is causing this, and how can I fix it?

3 Answers 3


This is what happens when a key gets stuck either during a games initial load phase or during a map/level load. This happens because DirectInput is telling the game files this keyboard needs to be calibrated. So, the keyboard calibrates with these keys stuck in and thinks having "S" push down is idle for the computer itself.

This is more a Microsoft annoyance than it is a glitch or a bug in DirectX. When you do run into these issues simple exit the game, make certain no keys are pressed, and continue your virtual fun and adventure.

  • 1
    This isn't "a Microsoft annoyance" - it can have any number of causes, from the programming bugs Trent Hawkins mentioned to faulty keys/buttons.
    – Alex
    Dec 8, 2014 at 9:44

@Virusboy underlines one of the causes of this symptom. Typically this Directinput re-calibration results in the persistent and hard to get rid of behavior you described. In this case the only remedy is often to force a new recalibration with the key un-pressed. Generally you'd accomplish this by either forcing a new map change, or closing and re-launching the game.

The second cause can be from the game's own programming. Typically games need to read the state of many keys. To move it needs to know when a key is pressed and held, [key]+. To know when to stop it has to detect when the key is no longer pressed, [key]-. Depending on how the game was coded, during map transitions, cutscenes, menus, or any other event that may interrupt the player's ability to control their character, [key]- is not being listened for and the game is never told that [key]+ is no longer true. In this case, tapping the button will usually fix the issue, as you get a new instance of [key]- while the game was listening for it.

Sometimes a game is coded knowing that there are certain instances where [key]- is not being listened for. Here, whenever a control impairing event occurs, the game will automatically set [key]+ to false to prevent this ghost-keypress issue. In these cases, sometimes the opposite problem occurs; despite holding down the key throughout the event, when it ends you aren't moving even though your finger is still holding down the button. You must lift your finger and re-press the button in order to start moving again.


This thing happens when you have pressed a key and then you go to menu screen (I have observed that in vice city). The solution is to press the key again when not on the menu screen. Are you sure that such thing occurs only in games and not while using other applications? If it happens in all other applications then there is fault in hardware.

  • I have only seen this happen in games
    – Oreo
    Dec 8, 2014 at 4:41
  • Never heard of such thing. But i have observed such thing in vice city ultimate
    – Fennekin
    Dec 8, 2014 at 4:42
  • Which game you are trying to play? Maybe it has glitch
    – Fennekin
    Dec 8, 2014 at 4:43
  • 2
    No I am saying it happens in multiple games
    – Oreo
    Dec 8, 2014 at 4:47
  • 1
    I think you're misunderstanding the issue. This tends to be a common issue with games, especially when you multitask often.
    – Frank
    Dec 8, 2014 at 4:50

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