Laptop Keyboard Troubleshooting Tips and Quick Alternatives

You are in the zone typing and working on a very important project on your laptop, all of a sudden the “B” key don’t work, a section or the whole keyboard stops from responding to your keystrokes. This is a very possible nightmare for all laptop users, and can be a big hassle when you have work due. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to troubleshoot this problem and go back straight to your task at hand. There are several reasons why your laptop keyboard may stop from working, here at Dual Monitors Guide, we will take you to its possible causes and some quick solutions.

Common Reasons Why Your Laptop Is Not Working

Laptop keyboard see a lot of work and keys can wear out over time. Many users spill their beverage on the keyboard, causing problems on its wiring. Some crumbs from your lunch or your last snack may have stuck under the keys. Also, laptop, like desktop computer, can freeze up, making it look like the keyboard is no longer working, when the reality is it’s actually the computer that’s not working. Wireless external keyboards on the other hand, may need new set of batteries to work in good condition. Then there are connection problems in the keyboard that causes it to malfunction.

Reboot Your Computer

Reboot can fix countless of computer problems. However, there will be times when you can’t use the track pad and/or mouse to reboot your computer. If this is the case, simply press and hold the Power button (about 10 seconds or more) to turn off your laptop. If Rebooting doesn’t fix the problem, then try one of the quick fixes below.


Remove Crumbs and Spilled Beverage

Hold your laptop at 45° to 75° angle from horizontal (upside down) and give it a good shake. Many times, crumbs, dust and dirt can get stuck under and between the keys. This solution is for minor problem, but it’s a quick fix that’s always worth a shot, especially in dealing with one or few specific keys.

If you have a can of compressed air, a keyboard vacuum or a rubber air pump, then give the nooks and spaces between the keys of your keyboard a good cleaning.

If a key or two are stuck because of beverage spillage, then clean those keys using a rag soaked in a few drops of cleaning agent, like warm soapy water or rubbing alcohol. Never apply the cleaning liquid directly to the keyboard, rather, damped your cloth first with it. Pop the key cap from the keyboard and clean it as much as you can. You can also use a cotton swab to clean between the spaces, but make sure you know how to put keys back if you happen to disassemble the key.

If the whole keyboard is soaked and damaged because of spilled coffee or soda, then your best solution available is to have the whole keyboard assembly replaced with a new one.


Driver Issues

This problem pops up from time to time, especially if you don’t turn off your laptop properly (using Shut Down button) or you often install third-party software programs.

For a quick fix, go to Device Manager. You will find a yellow exclamation mark which indicates that your keyboard is not working properly. In some cases, the keyboard icon will not show up at all. Go to your laptop manufacturer’s download page to download and install their latest keyboard drivers. You may need to use a USB keyboard to be able to download and install the driver (navigate text entry fields), but once you have the right file to download, it should be easy.


Bad Connection Issues

Sometimes, laptop keyboard loses its connection with the motherboard, and this causes the keyboard to work intermittently or not function at all. IT pros and well-experienced computer users can simply open up their laptop and reconnect the ribbon cable located at the bottom of the keyboard. Regular computer users on the other hand, must check out their manufacturer’s website for the service manual and look for diagrams on how to disassemble the portable computer and reconnect the ribbon cable between the keyboard and the motherboard. Help sites like, the website is a library of repair guide for everything.

If you don’t have the confidence to open up your beloved laptop, then you can always take it to a service repair depot for a professional fix.


Defective Keyboard Fix

If your laptop is still under its warranty period, then you can always take it to its manufacturer’s tech support line. If they find out that you’re using a malfunctioning keyboard, then it will be replaced or repaired at the service depot for free. However, before you take your compute to its tech support, make sure you have all the back up of your hard drive, or remove it entirely and keep it. This way, you can have your data and files, which is obviously, the most important thing in your portable PC.


External Keyboard As Quick Alternative

(image from Amazon)

The USB Keyboard Solution

If all else fails, and you badly need to finish your work, get your term paper done, make a presentation or submit your report to your boss, then you need to find a USB keyboard and plug it to your laptop. It may not look pretty, but it can get the job done and then figure out the problem with your laptop keyboard later.

Of course problems with USB keyboards can develop over time, especially if the port is worn out because of continues plugging and unplugging. The ports can be filled with small particles of dust, pins can be worn out, or the port can loosen. If your USB keyboard stops from working, simply unplug it and plug it back, carefully. Your laptop should automatically recognize the external device. If this still doesn’t work, try plugging it to another USB port, this port may allow the keyboard connection to the computer.

The Genuine Dell QuietKey USB Keyboard for Desktop and Notebook Systems for example, is a simple, straightforward and affordable USB keyboard that does the job quite well. It feels heft but solid and it is very quiet and pleasurable to use.

Also, make sure you check your keyboard’s Numlock and Capslock keys (check with its LED light). This shows if the external keyboard is receiving power and if there’s a working connection between the devices. If your keyboard still doesn’t work, reboot your computer.


The Wireless Solution

(image from Amazon)

There are lots of wireless keyboard and mouse you can get to use with your laptop, and the best thing about many newer models of this product is they look good and feel good to use. Logitech TK820 Wireless All-in-One Keyboard for example, is a nicely designed wireless keyboard and touchpad. It supports Windows 8 commands and gestures and equipped with improved key switches for comfortable typing.

This is a very convenient alternative to have, but of course, like any other solutions, it can have its issues from time to time. There are many things that can go wrong with wireless keyboards and mouse. To avoid this, make sure you LED lights of the keyboard is on. If the light is not functioning, then check its batteries. Electronic devices like this uses up batteries fast, so make sure you replace regularly.

(image from Amazon)

The Logitech Wireless All-In-One Keyboard TK820 with Built-In Touchpad is one of the highest rated wireless keyboards in the market today. It’s an all all-in-one hardware with a built-in touchpad, making it a very convenient piece to have when travelling. It has larger touch button surface for easy and comfortable typing, swipe, point and zoom function Windows 8 operation, and sleek space-saving design that looks good in any setting.

If the keyboard is still not working despite the new battery, then you may have a problem in your wireless signal. Many wireless keyboards come with signal scan button to search for the receiver’s signal and establish a connection. Press the reset button to reset the signal and wait until the LED light functions and try typing. If it still doesn’t work, unplug the receiver from your laptop and plug it back. Also, try other USB ports for the receiver.


Parting Tips

Having a malfunctioning keyboard on your laptop doesn’t mean you have to junk and replace the whole computer altogether. These simple fixes above can fix majority of possible problems. If you have tried all the tips above and still experience the same problem, then take your laptop to a professional. Have a happy typing!

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