It sounds like you might have a paused script or something. Or possibly the layout or a field has a scrip trigger attached?
Do you need to open a new window? You could attach a script trigger to the list layout so that the enter key would make a new record.
What version of FileMaker does your old friend have? Do you have FMA so you can use the debugger?
Well, I did kind of what you suggested. He won't interface with the list layout so he doesn't need to see it. I have him going to the entry layout at startup and moved all the buttons to that layout for reports etc. And I attached d script trigger to the last field as you suggested.