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There can be a host of reasons why your laptop's keyboard is working erratically, or worse, has completely stopped working. While it is recommended that you get a professional technician to have a look at the keyboard, you can fix common issues on your own. Mentioned below are some common reasons behind a dysfunctional laptop keyboard. We have also provided some steps which will help you in troubleshooting these issues.

Problem

Certain keys of my laptop don't function properly. When I type these keys, there is no output on the screen. Sometimes, I need to press these keys firmly to get a result.

Cause

This issue can be caused because of the following reasons:
  • A liquid substance is spilled on the keyboard.
  • Accumulation of dust inside the keys.
  • Wear and tear of keys while playing games.
  • Absence of lubrication.
Solution
  • Take out each key and with the help of a small screwdriver, pry all the keys. As the keys become loose, they will simply pop off. Additionally, take out the rubber piece present under every key. Keep the keys and rubber pieces in different containers.
  • Clean the keyboard from the inside. Get few cotton swabs/ear buds, and slightly dip them in water. Avoid too much exposure to moisture, as excess water can damage the keyboard. Meticulously clean the whole keyboard, laying extra emphasis on key spaces.
  • Start cleaning the keys which were removed and kept in the container. Use foam rubber to clean each key alone. This will help in removing any sticky substance present on the keys. Apply any household cleaner and let them dry for 15 minutes. Afterwards, wash all the keys properly by using hot water, and allow the keys to dry completely.
  • Spray a household cleaner on the small rubber pieces kept in the container, and thoroughly rinse them in warm water. Soak these rubber pieces in paper napkins for speedy drying.
  • Place all keys (facing top-down) on a flat surface. Apply mild lubricant and leave them to dry.
  • Once you have cleaned and lubricated all the parts, reassemble the keyboard carefully. Begin by placing all rubber components on the keyboard, and then fix all keys in their respective positions. Use your finger and press down all keys - one at a time - firmly so that they fit properly in the slots.
This process will take you a maximum of 2 hours. Cleaning and lubricating the keyboard in the above-mentioned method frequently can prevent it from permanent damage. Also, one should remember that laptop keyboards are delicate, and are not meant to be used for playing games for a long duration. To prevent damage, one can use an external keyboard to play games on the laptop.


Problem

My laptop's keyboard types wrong characters.

Cause

When a keyboard types wrong characters, it is likely that the problem is software related.

Solution
  • Follow the path:
    Control Panel → Regional and Language Options → Keyboards and Languages → Change Keyboards → Advanced Key Settings
  • Choose the option, 'Between Input Languages' and click on 'Change Key Sequence'.
  • Select 'Not Assigned' for 'Switch Input Language' and 'Switch Keyboard Layout'.
  • Click 'OK' to apply the changes.

Problem

My laptop's keyboard types numbers instead of letters.

Cause

This can be because of a software issue, or it is possible that you may have enabled the digital lock inadvertently.

Solution

Press Fn + Num Lock or Fn +Shift + Num Lock.

This will disable the digital lock. If the problem persists, proceed with the following:

Start → Search → Device Manager → Press Enter

Alternatively, you can also open the 'Device Manager' by the following path,

Start → Control Panel → Administrative Tools → Computer Management → Device Manager

The 'Device Manager' will list the hardware of the laptop. If you see a yellow exclamation mark against the 'Keyboards' icon, uninstall the driver. Install it again and restart the laptop.


If the above-mentioned steps don't solve the issue, you might want to try the following alternative:
  • Unplug the laptop from the power source and remove all the external hardware that is connected to it.
  • After shutting down the laptop, remove its battery and wait for 5 minutes. Place it back again, and start the laptop.
There is a possibility of a damaged file interfering with the working of the keyboard. On restarting, the laptop resets all the files, and eliminates the errors which lead to hardware and software issues.


Another reason which can cause the keyboard to behave erratically is presence of incompatible hardware/software in the laptop. You can try to check whether this is the case by running the laptop in 'Safe Mode'. If the keyboard works in the 'Safe Mode', the problem is software related. You need to carefully check the keyboard drivers, and if any driver is missing/faulty, download the drivers from the software provider's website.


These were some reasons which can interfere with the working of a laptop's keyboard. We advise our readers to follow all the safety guidelines before opening the laptop on their own. If the problem persists, it is recommended to get the keyboard checked from a certified technician.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be substituted for the advice of a certified technician. Readers are requested to use this information at their discretion.