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14 Ways To Fix Keys Not Working on Laptop (Troubleshoot & Fix)

Laptops are convenient as they are portable, among other functions and features they possess. A broken keyboard can be a big problem, especially if you use your laptop for important work.

But a laptop will break down at some point, just like any other machine or gadget in your home.

One common issue laptop users face includes keyboard failure, where some or all keys stop working.

Some of the activities you could do to fix the keys include restarting your laptop, cleaning the keyboard, changing your keyboard drivers and settings, adjusting the keyboard layout, and consulting a laptop technician.

At times, you can only use one method, and it works. In other instances, you need to try several ways before finding one that addresses your PC’s keyboard issue.

This article will take you through several solutions to help fix the unfortunate situation. Try to follow them through until you find a solution that works for you.

Different Ways To Fix the Issue of Keys Not Working on Laptop

When you notice that all or some of the keys on your laptop are not working, start troubleshooting by checking various parts and settings.

When you realize you cannot find the issue, you can always contact a professional for advice and assistance.

Here are some of the activities you can do to try and find or fix the issue:

Fix #1: Shut Down or Restart Your Laptop

Keyboard failure is an indicator that something could be wrong with your laptop. The first action to take is restarting or shutting down your laptop.

Both options are available when you click on the Windows icon at the bottom left-hand side of your screen.

You do not need the keyboard to perform these actions, as you can use the mouse.

Simply obey the below steps to restart your Laptop.

  1. Click on the Windows Icon on the bottom left-hand side of your screen.
  2. Tap the Power Button Icon below the list of options presented.
  3. Select either Restart or Shut Down based on your preference.

If you choose to shut down, wait for a few seconds before switching On the computer.

Try the next method when you shut down or restart your laptop and notice nothing has changed.

Fix #2: Confirm Whether It Is a Hardware Problem

It is tempting to begin random fixes without a clear plan. 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.

When you come to that realization, it is time to discover the state of the keyboard in a pre-boot setup. The test will help you determine whether the root of the problem is hardware or software related.

If the keyboard works perfectly in the pre-boot environment, you may need to look into software solutions, as the problem is not hardware-based.

Follow these steps to test your keys in a pre-boot environment:

  1. Click the Windows Icon on the bottom left-hand side of your screen.
  2. Tap the Settings Icon.
  3. Key in the word Recovery in the Settings Search Box.
  4. Tap Recovery Options as soon as the word appears on the suggestions list.
  5. On the Advanced Startup Section, click Restart Now.
  6. When your laptop reboots, select Troubleshoot from the list of options.
  7. On the screen presented, tap Advanced Options.
  8. Tap Command Prompt on the Advanced Options section.
  9. You can start testing your keyboard when the Command Prompt opens.

If it appears to be a hardware problem, you may consider one of the following solutions:

  • Try the next fixes to see if it solves the hardware problem.
  • Give it to a computer hardware technician in your local area to trace the fault and fix it for you.
  • You can also attach an external keyboard to your laptop.
a computer set on a white table with blue led lights on background near a set of books
Photo by Pramod Tiwari on

Fix #3: Clean Your Keyboard To Remove Accumulated Dust and Debris

When was the last time you cleaned your keyboard? Most times, when laptops experience issues, the first thought is that it may be a hardware problem or something complex. However, 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 dust to accumulate over time. However, the accumulation of debris might easily be due to some of your habits. If you often eat while using your laptop, 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
  • Using 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 laptop.

It is recommendable to have a proper laptop maintenance routine to ensure your gadget is in good condition. A laptop in good condition will serve its purpose for an extended period. You can schedule the laptop 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 laptop to avoid the accumulation of debris.

The Recommendable Way To Clean a Keyboard Without Damaging It

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

  • Ensure you first switch off your laptop and disconnect it from any power source for your safety and that of the computer.
  • Flip your laptop 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 #4: Check for Malware or Virus

Malware and Viruses disrupt the usual functioning of your laptop. 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 some keys or all the keys on the laptop 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.

Fix #5: Go Through Your Keyboard Drivers and Settings

If you suspect the laptop keyboard failure may be due to software issues, 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 laptop without using the recommended shutdown command.

You can start by updating 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 recent driver for that specific keyboard.

Fix #6: Disable Sticky Keys on Windows

Some software settings may also lead to your PC’s keyboard not performing optimally. You can adjust some more settings to improve the chances of fixing your laptop. Here are a few more steps you can follow:

  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 swiping the Toggle Bar.

Fix #7: Disable Filter Keys on Windows

Having the filter keys on is one possible reason your keyboard 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.”
  5. Turn off Use Filter Keys by swiping the Toggle Bar.

Fix #8: Check and Adjust the Correct Keyboard Layout

If the laptop key issue is wrong or incorrect characters when trying to type, that could be an element of the keyboard layout. High chances are that the keyboard layout may have been altered unknowingly. You can go through the layout on your Windows laptop 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 you prefer or what you understand best.
  8. Under the language selected, Click Options.
  9. On the screen presented, under Keyboards, ensure that the format is displayed. For example, US-QWERTY if your keyboard is in that format.

Fix #9: Use an External Keyboard

Sometimes fixing something involves having alternative options. Getting an external keyboard should be among the options to consider when the keys on your laptop are not 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 laptop 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 laptop 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 – 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. An external ergonomic keyboard has a design that makes users comfortable. Your arms, hands, and wrists will not strain as you type.

Fix #10: Turn On the Onscreen Keyboard

An onscreen keyboard could be a short-term alternative if your laptop keys 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.

You can use the on-screen keyboard even when your laptop 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 #11: Disable Fast StartUp

Fast StartUp is a standard option on Windows. Enabling Fast StartUp allows Windows to boot faster than usual. However, enabling the setting may affect your external keyboard and how it functions. It could be the reason why some or all keys need fixing. The best way to go about the situation is to disable Fast StartUp.

  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 Hardware and Sound.
  4. Tap Power Options.
  5. Click Change What The Power Buttons Do.
  6. Tap Change Settings That Are Currently Available.
  7. Ensure you uncheck the box with Turn On Fast Startup.

Fix #12: Try and Remove Your PC’s Battery (If Possible)

It may sound odd, but when trying to find and fix an issue, you need to consider looking into all areas. A battery could be among the causes of keyboard failure, especially when it overheats often.

Also, batteries may sometimes begin to expand over time, which creates pressure on other parts of your PC. The keyboard is well-known to suffer from the pressure caused by the battery expansion.

Remove your battery carefully and plug in your PC to a power source. Test the keyboard again to see whether it is working. If the keyboard works, your battery is the issue, and you may need to replace it as soon as possible.

However, if your keyboard does not work even after removing the battery, the root cause could be elsewhere. Try another way to fix the keyboard.

Fix #13: Seek Help From Your Laptop Manufacturer

If you recently got your laptop, you are probably still within the warranty period. Most reputable laptop manufacturers and retailers have support lines where you can call and air your concerns. Contact them if you have a defective keyboard with significant or minor issues. You should get a quick response and guidance on how to go about the issue.

In most cases, they will either help by guiding you on how to fix the issue, repair the laptop for you or do an immediate replacement. A new or relatively new keyboard should be without any flaws, as the expectation is that the manufacturers and retailers practice commendable quality management.

Before you give your laptop for fixing or a replacement, ensure you back up all your data. You can back up the hard drive or remove it and keep it until your laptop is back. That way, you do not have to worry about losing important data.

Fix #14: Consult a Laptop Technician

Consulting a laptop 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 the issue. In the process, a laptop technician may find other issues, so by the time they are done, your laptop will be in a good state.

A good laptop 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 laptop.

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

Benefits of Consulting a Professional Laptop Technician

A professional laptop technician will give you relevant advice that may help you maintain your laptop 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 laptop technician will help save you time, mainly if you depend on your laptop 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 laptop 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

It must be frustrating to open your laptop to do some work or watch something and then discover that your keyboard 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 laptop keys are fixable, as numerous ways exist to resolve the issue. You can first take up the challenge and start troubleshooting or carry out a series of activities to help solve the problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where Can I Get a Compressed Air Can?

You can get a compressed air can on most popular online stores like Amazon. While on the official website, ensure you type the exact words and look through the list.

Where Can I Purchase an External Ergonomic Keyboard?

You can easily shop for an external ergonomic keyboard from the comfort of your home. Ensure you search and shop online from reputable stores like Amazon.

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