Accent keys produce ^^e instead of ê

Jun 28, 2016
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All of a sudden I cannot use the accent keys any more. When I want to type ^ + e to achieve "ê", I consistently get "^^e" instead, etc.
The problem occurs with any language keyboard and affects all kinds of software.

Virus and Trojan checks have not detected anything.
Reinstalling the keyboard driver has not helped.
Executing SCF /SCANNOW has not helped though it claimed to have repaired damaged files.

I have installed the MS Keyboard Layout Creator and found that the deadkeys are not shown as active. Loading an original keyboard and installing it remedied the problem temporarily but only until I switched off the computer. Next time I switch it on again, the deadkeys on the freshly installed keyboard are inactive as well, and also its accent keys will behave as wrongly as described above.

I strongly suspect a Microsoft update to be the culprit. But what could I do to reliably get my accent keys back?

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