How to Fix a Keyboard

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Updated July 25, 2022

If you’ve invested in a premium keyboard, you may eventually need to know how to fix a keyboard. An unresponsive keyboard can be stressful, but most problems are easy to solve. Though hardware failures might require a repair shop, many software settings can reclaim your desktop keyboard functions.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • You can fix most keyboard software by disconnecting and reconnecting your desktop keyboard.
  • If you use third-party software to change your keyboard layout, turn it off on your OS control panel.
  • If you notice any external keyboard damage or sticky keys, you can clean it with a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol.

So, if you’re having difficulty with your wired or wireless keyboard, read this guide on how to fix your keyboard issues.

How to Fix a Computer Keyboard

The steps below will apply to most types of keyboards, but fixing notebook computers like the Chromebook and other laptop keyboards might require different solutions. In addition, users with a mechanical keyboard model can fix individual keys or perform preventative maintenance like lubing a troublesome key switch.

Insider Tip

Only download your keyboard driver software from the manufacturer’s website or an authoritative source like Microsoft, Apple, or Cnet Downloads.

STEP 1 Reconnect Your Keyboard

  1. Using a wireless keyboard, turn off the power button and install fresh batteries to fix connectivity or power issues.
  2. If you use a wired keyboard, unplug it from the USB port, and reconnect it. Sometimes, you can fix a wired keyboard software glitch by reconnecting it to your PC.

STEP 2 Check Your Keyboard Settings

  1. On Windows, go to Keyboard Settings in the Control Panel. On Mac, go to System Preferences, and select the Keyboard option.
  2. Activate Repeat Delay if you’re experiencing multiple unexpected key presses. On Mac, you can activate this setting in the Keyboard controls.
  3. Turn off Sticky Keys to prevent buttons from being held down.
  4. Filter Keys or Slow Keys settings can cause input delay. Turn this setting off to prevent reduced output from your keyboard type.
  5. If you’re typing the wrong characters, you change the keyboard language back to normal in the PC’s Region & Language settings menu. On Mac, you can activate your preferred language in the Input Sources in the System Preferences.

STEP 3 Reinstall the Keyboard Driver

  1. On Windows, driver issues can stop your keyboard from behaving correctly. You can reinstall the device driver from the Device Manager software.
  2. Find the keyboard in the device list, and right-click it.
  3. Find the Uninstall Device option and press OK.
  4. Restart your computer, and your desktop keyboard driver should reinstall itself automatically.
  5. Mac keyboard software is built into the operating system, so you cannot reinstall keyboard drivers on that system. Instead, try cleaning or restarting your system.

STEP 4 Clean Your Keyboard

  1. Unplug your keyboard, and wipe it with a microfiber cloth.
  2. Next, you can clean your keyboard with alcohol or a cleaning solution in a keyboard cleaning kit.
  3. The key caps on your USB keyboard are easy to remove if you want a more detailed cleaning.

STEP 5 Change Your Mechanical Switch

  1. If you’re dealing with an unresponsive switch, you can easily replace it on a hot-swappable keyboard.
  2. Unplug your keyboard, and remove the mechanical keyboard keycap to reveal the switch.
  3. Replace the switch with a new model, and replace the keycap.
  4. Plug your keyboard in, and test your work.

Warning

You can hurt yourself by working on a keyboard hardware issue without disconnecting it from your USB port.

F.A.Q.S

What do I do with a water-damaged keyboard?

You’ll need a replacement keyboard unless you act fast. Unplug your keyboard and flip it over on top of a paper towel. Remove the keycaps and wipe underneath the keys. Let the keyboard sit for 48 hours, and plug in the USB cable to test it. If it doesn’t work, you’ll need to replace it.


How do I unlock a locked laptop keyboard?

You can unlock a locked keyboard by holding the Fn key while pressing the F-button with the keyboard symbol. If your keyboard is still unresponsive, consider restarting your computer.


What do I do if the number keys aren’t working?

Ensure that you do not have Mouse Keys turned on, as this accessibility feature will turn your number pad into directional keys. In addition, make sure that the Number Lock setting is on if you want to type numbers with the number pad.


STAT: According to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey, 31% of respondents described themselves as “almost constantly” online. (source)

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