I've inherited an old PC from my girlfriend's dad and when setting up the printer I got a bit of a surprise:

Toaster keyboard

Two questions spring to mind here:

  1. Why does Windows think my wireless keyboard is a toaster?
  2. Why does Windows even have an icon for a toaster in the devices menu?
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    Can you please add the model name of the keyboard? – A.L Aug 05 '14 at 14:43
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    @A.L google suggests that an [there](http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-performance/keyboard-shows-as-a-toaster-in-control-panel/6cb94719-05a0-4887-89f9-a45d52f6f089) [may be](http://neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=46284655&postcount=6556) several keyboard-toaster models – Kevin L Aug 05 '14 at 19:21
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    @AE At 5V 500mA? You will run into power requirements there. [Unless you cheat on your definition of a toaster](http://www.firebox.com/product/5569/USB-Toast-Flash-Drives). –  Mar 11 '15 at 08:04
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    @ydaetskcoR you may need to update your drivers or find in the keyboard company website. – Roger Oliveira Jun 04 '15 at 10:43
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    Maybe it runs [NetBSD](https://www.embeddedarm.com/software/arm-netbsd-toaster.php)? – mirabilos Apr 05 '16 at 10:34
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    The icon says says Fabrikam on the toaster.Fabrikam is a company by Microsoft which they use in samples – Suici Doga May 08 '16 at 07:38
  • @Moab I think it's a default icon and reason could be simple since wireless `keyboard` OR `toaster` both generate output if input is provided :-) Like`Toasted Bread` incase of toaster and `letters or characters` incase of keyboard. – Ashraf.Shk786 Feb 20 '17 at 13:06
  • Can you please add the model name of the toaster? – Kalamalka Kid Jun 18 '23 at 04:45

3 Answers3


Reason 1

Because Microsoft made a toaster driver sample. In the sample there is the line <DeviceIconFile>Toaster.ico</DeviceIconFile> and there is a chance that your keyboard manufacturer took that sample.

Reason 2

Look at the back of the keyboard for some place to insert a slice of bread…

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Kenneth L
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    Now that you mention it there is a bread slot! So I'm guessing they've just copy-pasted the XML and forgot to change the icon? Still pretty bizarre. – ydaetskcoR Aug 05 '14 at 10:21
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    @ydaetskcoR As you can see from the icon, the toaster brand is indeed Fabrikam (i.e. a [fictional company](http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/1117.list-of-fictional-companies-used-in-microsoft-materialdocumentation.aspx)). – and31415 Aug 05 '14 at 11:20
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    The keyboard driver developer was probably using this toaster example as a template and forgot to replace the icon. – Ido.Co Aug 05 '14 at 13:55
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    yd: Not XML, but the .INF file. (We *wish* they'd go to XML for INF files...) There was a case where a company got a copy of _PCI System Architecture_ by Mindshare, which is an *essential* book if you're building PCI devices, and copied the manufacturer ID and product ID from the examples in the book, for their own PCI device. Makes you want to slap someone. – Jamie Hanrahan Aug 05 '14 at 20:54
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    Here is the [sample INF file](http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/ff544993(v=vs.85).aspx). Linked in [a post](http://neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=46284655&postcount=6556) linked in by Kevin L in the comments. – totymedli Aug 06 '14 at 09:44
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    At my company, I inherited an Outlook plugin, and discovered that all the internals are named "Search Bing". http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/ee941475(v=office.14).aspx – Mooing Duck Aug 08 '14 at 16:43
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    Could it just be the default icon when none is supplied by the OEM? That's what I always assumed when I saw it. Otherwise a plethora of my peripheral manufacturers are horribly lazy... which I suppose isn't too hard to believe now that I think about it. – thanby Aug 08 '14 at 19:44
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    Re: Reason 2, if you have [Single-Slice USB Powered Toasting Computer Accessory](http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/26/usb_toaster/) or [similar](http://www.gadgetsreport.com/usb-toasters-list/), please check on the top. – kenorb Aug 11 '14 at 13:10
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    I expect they chose a toaster icon for the sample, in part, because they expected device manufacturer's pride would outweigh their laziness. – thelr Aug 13 '14 at 18:22
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    @Spencer no fair, in this case. Microsoft made an example, and it's easy to see what soemeone with even basic experience at editing text files would have to change. This is a symptom of "we made cheap hardware, why should we learn how to write a driver at least rudimentarily?", not of anything Microsoft did wrong. Microsoft chose a toaster *exactly* because it's ridiculous and even the least capable developer would've noticed they need to define a better icon. They clearly underestimated the quality of incompetence hardware vendors offer. – Marcus Müller Feb 17 '21 at 14:44

As for "why specifically a toaster", "Toaster" is an old catch-all name for "any arbitrary device." For example, you can find "SCSI toaster" alongside "SCSI disk", "SCSI tape", and even "SCSI scanner" (yes, scanners used to be on SCSI) in some very old Microsoft slides depicting the storage stack.

Peter Mortensen
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Jamie Hanrahan
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    Do you have a reference for this? – slhck Aug 08 '14 at 21:20
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    I might still have the handout from the '92 NT DDC. (If I do, it is not physically nearby ATM.) And I may be misremembering the actual point of origin. But if you're that skeptical, I have to say that I have nothing that would be considered proof (as opposed to possible image manipulation). – Jamie Hanrahan Aug 08 '14 at 21:27
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    Are you sure you're not thinking of the [Bus Toaster](http://www.winbookcorp.com/_technote/WBTA00000444.htm)? "New Media's Bus Toaster is a high performance SCSI adapter that lets you connect most CD-ROMs, hard drives, scanners, and more. The Bus Toaster supports up to 7 logical devices and data transfers of over 10 megabytes per second." :) – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 09 '14 at 17:43
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    Yes, I'm sure. What you're describing is a SCSI HBA. – Jamie Hanrahan Aug 10 '14 at 05:24
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    Here are the oldest toaster related slides I was able to find (February 28, 2000): [Toaster Sample Package](http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/f/c/afcf8195-0eda-4190-a46d-aa60b45e0740/driver12.ppt) And here's a MSDN article which talks about a toaster device: [Configuration of Non-Plug and Play Serial Device Connected to an RS-232 Port](http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/ff546486%28v=vs.85%29.aspx) – and31415 Aug 11 '14 at 15:25
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    I've also seen somewhat similar usage of the word 'toaster.' See the 'toaster' entry here: http://jargon-file.org/archive/jargon-2.9.12.dos.txt or http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/T/toaster.html – pcnThird Aug 13 '14 at 01:21
  • @and31415: Because of that sample, there are probably at least a hundred products' drivers out there that copied various parts of the sample... including the "toaster device" description. :D – Jamie Hanrahan Dec 15 '17 at 22:09

Windows recognizes device type by what the device says it is which in the majority of cases can be overwritten...

If you have plugged in an actual thumb drive (confirmed by observation) it could be because there is malware/virus on that device.

This is a technique used by impostor software to for example show up as a keyboard so windows will trust it automatically yet act as a key-logger...

Never had experience with a 'smart' toaster so it depends, did windows trust it (install and allow its usage) without any consent?

Note: this scenario is unlikely, but note it ;)

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    We just don't think this has anything to do with the question. The question isn't about a thumb drive, it is about a *keyboard*. Do you think that someone hacked into his wireless keyboard and reprogrammed its device type to "toaster"? Why would they do this for a keyboard? (Also, there has only been *one* downvote.) – Cody Gray - on strike Aug 16 '14 at 10:48
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    If they've written a virus that pretends to be a keyboard you'd think they would go to the effort of putting in a keyboard icon, instead of using the default 'toaster' icon in order to blend in better. – Robotnik Aug 19 '14 at 01:50
  • @Robotnik I usually plug in keyboards to my PC, not toasters; so yes. Although admittedly this is out of context. – BAR Aug 23 '14 at 00:08
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    @CodyGray it is possible that a would-be malware programmer made the same kind of mistake taking a driver example from the net. – BAR Aug 23 '14 at 00:09
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    The question is about a wireless keyboard. Where does malware come into play? Someone installed malware on his keyboard? – Cody Gray - on strike Aug 23 '14 at 07:10
  • @CodyGray IMO that would be an good way to do it, although it would require modifications to store memory. Have a little imagination ;) – BAR Aug 26 '14 at 01:50
  • Wireless Keylogger Masquerades as USB Phone Charger http://it.slashdot.org/story/15/01/13/183226/wireless-keylogger-masquerades-as-usb-phone-charger – BAR Jan 13 '15 at 21:12
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    @CodyGray Not to be a stick-in-the-mud, but keyboards can be, and have been, programmed with malware. Take [an old exploit for Apple keyboards](http://www.blackhat.com/presentations/bh-usa-09/CHEN/BHUSA09-Chen-RevAppleFirm-SLIDES.pdf) for example. If Apple can fail, I imagine other device manufacturers can as well. Not that I agree with this answer, I just thought I would add my two cents :) – Chris Cirefice Apr 29 '15 at 17:07
  • @CodyGray, You are underestimating malware. Real target keyboard firmware. – Pacerier May 20 '15 at 09:21