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Laptop keyboard freezes between bios screen and system boot

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A bit of an odd problem this. I have a Toshiba Equium laptop running Windows 7 Professional. When the laptop boots I can use the keyboard, for instance to get into the bios settings. However if I touch the keyboard after that, say, in order to start in safe mode, or to select the option to boot from CD, or continue with a system resume after a crash or incorrect shutdown, it freezes completely. The only way I can escape is by holding the power button down till it knocks the laptop out. Then I'm faced with the same problem as I am required to make a keyboard choice on how to restart the laptop. If it hibernates because the battery has run down, I am once again faced with the prospect of being unable to make any keyboard selection in order to restart, and I have to resort to pulling the hdd out and hooking it up to my desktop pc in order to delete the hibernation file (hiberfil.sys).
I've tried resetting the bios to default settings, updating the bios, plugging in an external usb keyboard etc. etc. but nothing has worked so far.
It's driving me mad!! Any help to resolve this would be much appreciated.
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