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13 Best Ways to Fix Alt Key Not Working on Keyboard

The Alt key is an important key on your keyboard that allows you to perform various functions, such as accessing menus, shortcuts, and other special characters.

However, if you’ve ever encountered a problem where your Alt key is not working, you know how frustrating it can be to not be able to perform these essential functions.

There are a number of reasons why your Alt key might not be working, ranging from a simple hardware issue to more complex software problems.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some common causes of the Alt key not working and provide you with some simple solutions to get your keyboard functioning properly again.

These techniques should assist you to troubleshoot and resolve keyboard issues whether you’re using a desktop computer or a laptop.

So, if you’re tired of struggling with an unresponsive Alt key, keep reading to learn how to fix the problem once and for all.

Best Ways to Fix Alt Key Not Working on Keyboard

Fix #1: Shut Down or Restart Your Computer to fix the “Alt Key Not Working” Problem

Restarting your computer clears its memory and reloads all drivers and system files, which can often address issues caused by software glitches or conflicts.

When your Alt key stop working, there could be a problem with the driver or software that controls the keyboard. Restarting your computer allows these drivers and the software responsible for the keyboard to be reloaded, which may help to resolve the issue.

  • The steps to restart a Windows PC are simple: Click the “Start” button, select the power icon, and then choose the “Restart” option.
  • To restart a Mac PC, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen, select the “Restart” option, and then confirm by clicking “Restart.”

In some circumstances, restarting your computer may not resolve the problem with your Alt key. If this is the case, you can try some of the other methods described in this blog post.

Fix #2: Confirm Whether It Is a Hardware Problem by testing a different keyboard.

It is tempting to begin random fixes without a clear understanding of why the Alt key is not working. You first need to take the time to determine whether the problem is the keyboard hardware or software. If you make that your starting point, your work will be easier and less frustrating.

The easiest way to confirm if the problem is Hardware related is to try the Alt key on a different keyboard on the same computer to see if it works. And if it turns out working fine it means your keyboard is not in a good condition. Some of the guides here may help fix a faulty keyboard.

However, if after trying a different keyboard you see no changes, it means the issue is software related which we will address here.

Fix #3: Fix Alt Key problems with Troubleshooter

Another potential solution to this issue is to run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter on your Windows computer. This tool can help to diagnose and fix hardware problems, including issues with the Alt key.

The Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter is a built-in tool that can help diagnose and fix hardware problems on any computer.

If you’re experiencing problems with your keyboard, such as a non-functional Alt key, running the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter can be a helpful solution.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Step 1: Open the Settings Menu

Click on the Start menu, and then click on the gear icon to access the Settings menu.

  • Step 2: Navigate to the Troubleshoot Settings

In the Settings menu, click on the “Update & Security” option. Then, select “Troubleshoot” from the menu on the left.

  • Step 3: Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter (Windows 10)

Under the “Find and fix other problems” section, click on “Hardware and Devices” and then click on “Run the troubleshooter.” Follow the on-screen instructions to diagnose and potentially fix any issues with your keyboard.

  • Step 3: Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter (Windows 10)

In the Settings app, click on the “System” option. Then, select “Troubleshoot” from the menu on the left-hand side. Under the “Other troubleshooters” section, click on the “Run” button next to the Keyboard hardware to start the troubleshooter.

  • Step 4: Restart Your Computer

Once the Troubleshooter has completed its diagnostics, restart your computer to apply any necessary changes.

Once the Hardware Troubleshooter has completed its diagnostics, restart your computer to apply any necessary changes.

If the Hardware Troubleshooter does not resolve the issue with your Alt key, you may need to check our other potential solutions discussed in this post.

Fix #4: Check and Adjust the Correct Keyboard Layout/Settings to fix the “Alt Key Not Working” Problem

If the Alt key gives the wrong action or incorrect characters when typing, that could be an element of the keyboard language or layout. Chances are high that the keyboard layout may have been altered unknowingly.

You can go through the layout on your computer and adjust the settings using the following steps:

  1. Click the Windows Icon on the left-hand side of your screen.
  2. Select the Settings Icon from the list of options presented.
  3. On the Settings Section, tap Time and Language.
  4. On the left side of your screen Click Language.
  5. Ensure the Windows Display Language is correct in English (United States).
  6. If that is not your preferred language, click the Plus Icon on Preferred Language.
  7. Select the language of your keyboard.
  8. Under the language selected, Click Options.
change keyboard language or layout in Windows

On the screen presented, under Keyboards, ensure that the format is displayed. For example, US-QWERTY if your keyboard is in that format.

Fix #5: Work on the Keyboard Drivers and Settings

The Alt key failure may also be due to driver issues. So, you need to take some time to review or inspect the keyboard drivers and settings.

At times, a typical occurrence is that the driver that helps manage your keyboard may be having issues due to reasons that include:

  • The installation of third-party software
  • Switching off your computer without using the recommended shutdown command.

You can start by updating or reinstalling the keyboard driver using these straightforward steps:

  1. On the Search Bar next to the Windows Icon on the left-hand side of your screen, type “Device Manager.”
  2. Click “Device Manager” when it appears among the Options on the Search Results.
  3. Find Keyboards on the list, then click on the arrow icon, which presents a list of keyboards.
  4. Select the specific keyboard with an issue and Right Click.
  5. Tap Uninstall Device.
  6. Reboot the Computer.
  7. Windows will then automatically identify the uninstalled keyboard and will, in turn, reinstall the latest driver for that specific keyboard.

Fix #6: Try an Older Version of the Keyboard Driver.

If, after updating or reinstalling the keyboard driver, you are still not able to get the Alt key working again, the next fix to try is to install an older version of the keyboard driver.

To do so:

  1. Press the Windows Key and R at the same time to open the Run box.
  2. Type “devmgmt.msc” and hit Enter.
  3. Find “Keyboards” and click to expand it.
  4. Right-click on the driver and choose “Update driver.”
  5. Choose “Browse my computer for drivers.
  6. Select “Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.”
  7. Choose an older driver from the list and click “Next.”
  8. Wait for the process to finish, then restart your computer and check if the issue is fixed.

Fix #7: Disable Sticky Keys on Windows

Sticky Keys is a Windows feature that enables users to perform keyboard shortcuts by pressing one key at a time, rather than holding down multiple keys simultaneously.

Although this feature can be helpful for individuals who have trouble holding down multiple keys at once, it can cause issues with the Alt key and other keys on the keyboard.

If you have enabled Sticky Keys on your Windows computer and are experiencing problems with the Alt key not functioning correctly, this could be due to Sticky Keys intercepting the key press and altering its behavior.

As a modifier key, the Alt key is used in combination with other keys to perform various functions such as copying and pasting text. If Sticky Keys is activated, it may interfere with the Alt key’s functionality and prevent it from working correctly.

To resolve this issue, you can disable Sticky Keys on your computer. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. On the Search Bar next to the Windows Icon on the left-hand side of your screen, type “Control Panel.”
  2. Click “Control Panel” when it appears among the Options on the Search Results.
  3. Select the Ease of Access section.
  4. Under the Ease of Access Center, tap on “Change How Your Keyboard Works.”
  5. Turn off Use Sticky Keys by clicking the Toggle Bar.

Fix #8: Disable Filter Keys on Windows

Filter Keys is an accessibility feature in Windows that helps people who may have difficulty holding down multiple keys at once, by making the keyboard more user-friendly.

When the Filter Keys feature is enabled, Windows will ignore brief or repeated keystrokes, and will not respond to keystrokes that are held down for too long. This feature can help prevent accidental keystrokes and make it easier for people with motor impairments or disabilities to type on a computer.

So, if you are trying to use the Alt key with some other key(s) with no success, it means that having the filter keys enabled is one possible reason your Alt key may have some issues. Follow the steps below to turn off filter keys on your windows:

  1. On the Search Bar next to the Windows Icon on the left-hand side of your screen, type “Control Panel.”
  2. Click “Control Panel” when it appears among the Options on the Search Results.
  3. Select the Ease of Access section.
  4. Under the Ease of Access Center, tap “Change How Your Keyboard Works.”

Turn off Use Filter Keys by swiping the Toggle Bar.

Fix #9: Clean Your Keyboard to Remove Accumulated Dust and Debris

When was the last time you cleaned your keyboard? Most times, when Computers experience issues like the Alt Key not working, the first thought is that it may be a hardware problem or something complex.

But it is essential to note that simple things, such as the accumulation of dust or debris over time, can lead to the failure of some parts of a keyboard.

It is typical for dirt to accumulate over time which may easily be due to some of your habits. If you often eat while using your computer, crumbs may fall and find their way into the keyboard, which may cause keyboard issues.

Too much dust or debris may hinder the proper functioning of your keys as they may get clogged over time. Here are some of the ways you can clean your keyboard:

  • Using a small brush
  • Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the keys and remove any debris gently.
  • Spraying a can of compressed air in between the key spaces
  • Apply some rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth to remove any dried liquid or dirt stuck on or within the keys on your Computer.

It is recommendable to have a proper Computer maintenance routine to ensure your gadget is in good condition. A Computer in good condition will serve its purpose for an extended period. You can schedule the computer maintenance routine and scatter the dates throughout the year. It could be once in four or six months.

Aside from that, you can also avoid eating while using your computer to avoid the accumulation of dirt under the keys of your computer keyboard.

The Recommendable Way to Clean a Keyboard Without Damaging It

You can follow these steps and guidelines as you clean your Computer to avoid damaging your gadget:

  • Ensure you first switch off your Computer and disconnect it from any power source for your safety and that of the computer.
  • Flip your Computer so that the keyboard is upside down to make it easy for any debris to fall off. You can also use cleaning slime or the sticky side of the tape to eliminate any additional debris.
  • Use a compressed air blower to blow out any dust.
  • Apply some rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth and wipe through the entire keyboard. Use a reasonable amount of rubbing alcohol to avoid soaking the keyboard.
  • Use a dry cloth once done to give your keyboard a polished look.
  • Give the keyboard time to dry before using it again.

If cleaning the keyboard doesn’t solve the problem, explore the next options.

Fix #10: Check for Malware or Virus

Malware and Viruses disrupt the usual functioning of your computer. Your keyboard may be affected as a result. No specific virus may be pointed out as one to cause keyboard failure since a keyboard has no ROM.

If the Alt key, or some keys or all the keys on the computer keyboard are not working, the root problem could be malware or a virus.

Scanning and eliminating malware or a virus from your Windows PC is possible. You only need to follow these steps:

  1. On the Search Bar next to the Windows Icon on the bottom left-hand side of your screen, type Windows Security.
  2. Select Windows Security when it appears among the options presented.
  3. Click on the Virus and Threat Option.
  4. Tap Scan.
  5. Click Windows Defender Offline scan.
  6. Tap Scan Now to kickstart the process.

The scan may take a few minutes to do a thorough run, so ensure you exercise patience as you await the completion.

After the whole process is done, your Windows PC will restart. The scan will work as needed by detecting and removing any malware or virus.

Thus, if the problem of the Alt key not working was due to a virus, it should start working again.

Fix #11: Use an External Keyboard

Sometimes fixing something involves having alternative options. Getting an external keyboard should be among the options to consider when the Alt key on your computer stops working.

An external keyboard will enable you to go about your normal operations or processes as you look for ways to fix the in-built Computer keyboard. It will save you time and agony. Aside from that, it also presents numerous benefits.

Benefits of an External Keyboard

Here are some benefits of an external keyboard:

  1. Easily Replaceable – An external keyboard is easily replaceable, so you need not worry about your computer keyboard malfunction disrupting your everyday operations. For example, you can immediately replace an external keyboard by ordering online from a well-known platform like Amazon.
  2. Preserves your inbuilt Laptop keyboard – If you own a Laptop, by using the external keyboard for a while, you are protecting the inbuilt Laptop keyboard from wear and tear. You get to preserve your inbuilt keyboard as you perform all typing tasks on the external keyboard.
  3. Prevents Wrist Injuries – If you spend a huge chunk of your day typing, there is a risk of developing wrist tendonitis. It is a condition that develops when the tendons in your wrist are in constant motion. The design of an external ergonomic keyboard is intended to provide users with a pleasant typing experience. Your arms, hands, and wrists will not strain as you type.

Fix #12: Turn on the Onscreen Keyboard

The on-screen keyboard is a virtual keyboard that is displayed on the computer screen and can be used to enter text by clicking on the keys with a mouse or other pointing device.

An onscreen keyboard could be a short-term alternative if your Alt key stop working.

Follow these steps to turn on your onscreen keyboard:

  1. Click the Windows Icon on the left-hand side of your screen.
  2. Select the Settings Icon from the list of options presented.
  3. On the Settings Section, tap Ease of Access
  4. Scroll down to the interactions sections and select Keyboard.
  5. Under the Use Your Device Without a Physical Keyboard, Turn On Use the On-Screen Keyboard.
  6. Alternative to the above steps, simply press the Windows key and search the term “On-Screen Keyboard” then click on the first result.

You can use the on-screen keyboard even when your computer does not have a touchscreen. The keyboard appears on your screen, and you can use your mouse to tap on the keys.

Using an on-screen keyboard may be slow or challenging, but it is an excellent way to stay productive while waiting to fix your keyboard.

Fix #13: Consult a Computer Technician

Consulting a computer should be your last resort when nothing else from the options mentioned works.

The option is recommendable because a professional will inspect and conduct any necessary tests to find reason why your keyboard Alt key is not working. In the process, a computer technician may find other issues, so by the time they are done, your computer keyboard will be in a good state, and the Alt key will be up and working again.

A good Computer technician will also advise you on whether to do a repair or a replacement. Their knowledge and expertise make it easy for them to know what would work best for your computer.

When looking for a reliable Computer technician, you should consider the costs involved. Also, seek recommendations from family and friends before settling on a computer technician. You can also look for one online but make sure you do your due diligence.

Benefits of Consulting a Professional Computer Technician

A professional Computer technician will give you relevant advice that may help you maintain your computer for an extended period. You will also get some insights on the most probable cause of the failed keyboard. It would help you avoid some things that lead to failure.

A professional Computer technician will help save you time, mainly if you depend on your computer for essential work. A professional will most likely work with your timelines or give you a period within which they can get the work done.

Some professional Computer technicians offer a warranty period. A warranty period means that if your keyboard malfunctions within that period, the technicians will repair it cost-free. A warranty period will make you less worried because it is a reliable backup plan.

Wrapping Up on Alt Key Not Working

It must be frustrating to open your computer to do some work and discover that the Alt key is not working. The article guides you on some possible reasons for keyboard failure. You also get a list of ways to fix the issue.

Some of the common problems you may encounter include some or all of the keys of your keyboard not working. It is a normal occurrence, meaning you do not need to panic or think you are out of luck. You only need to realize that it could be a software or hardware issue.

Some significant causes of keyboard failure include physical damage, accumulation of dirt and debris, an outdated driver, or improper settings.

Most issues around Computer keys are fixable, as numerous ways exist to resolve the issue. You can first take up the challenge and start troubleshooting or carry out the above series of activities to help solve the problems.

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