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Arrows inop entering safe mode

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Using Win 7, 64 bit, 4 Gb ram, brand new Dell. When trying to enter safe mode, the screen to select comes up fine. The up/down arrows to select which mode to enter do not work, unless pressed 3 times, then the highlighter scroll starts going through the list, over and over, and only stops when an arrow is pressed twice, then the scroll stops wherever it may be at that point. The arrows work fine in any other program/mode. Am using the keyboard arrows, not the numpad arrows.There are no detectable viruses, worms, rootkits, etc., nor any error messages. When the selection highlight does stop on the right choice, the system goes right into safe mode. This seems bizarre.
Thanks for any suggestions.
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