Your laptop keyboard is a vital ingredient in what makes a laptop a laptop. It’s part of the overall portability package that you pay a premium for, and when it stops working, suddenly that shiny laptop of yours looks a bit redundant. Why does this happen, and how do you stop your laptop keyboard from messing up? Here we show you the most common problems and solutions.
Laptop Keyboard Slow to Respond
If your keyboard is working, but there’s lag or a delay between you pressing the keys and your inputs appearing on the screen, then the good news is that this is almost certainly not a hardware problem.
One reason for a slow reaction to your keyboard presses is that the accessibility feature “Filter Keys” is turned on. This causes the keyboard to ignore brief keystrokes in order to make typing easier for users with hand tremors. An invaluable feature for some but not to most.
To turn off Filter Keys, click the Start menu, then the Settings cog icon -> Ease of Access. Click Keyboard in the pane on the left, then scroll down and make sure “Use Filter Keys” is set to “Off.”
That failing, you can scroll down this guide to the section on reinstalling laptop keyboard drivers. Slow or unresponsive typing can often be the result of a faulty driver.
Laptop Keyboard Software Not Working
If your laptop does boot to BIOS when you press the relevant button, then the good news is that your laptop keyboard is working. The bad news is that Windows isn’t seeing it that way, and you’ll need to convince it.
Note: you may need to connect an external keyboard to your laptop to go through this process, as you will need to have a way to type in your Windows password.
Check Windows 10 for Keyboard system file errors
If your laptop keyboard isn’t working because of a software issue, then the first sensible thing to do is run a system file scan, which will scan crucial Windows system files for errors, then fix any corruptions if possible.
To do this, press the Win key, then enter
cmd into the Search box. When Command Prompt appears in the results, right-click it and click “Run as administrator.”
In the command prompt, enter the following and wait for the process to complete:
Reinstall Keyboard Driver
Go to “Device Manager,” then scroll down and click Keyboards. If there’s an exclamation mark by the default laptop keyboard (called “Standard PS/2 Keyboard” in our case), then Windows has detected a problem. Right-click the keyboard, click “Uninstall device,” then reboot your PC.
The keyboard should reinstall instantly – even as you’re just logging into Windows – and should hopefully be back up and running again.
Uninstall Secondary Keyboards
Sometimes the drivers from other keyboards you’ve previously attached can interfere with and automatically disable the laptop keyboard. Give your keyboard setup a fresh start by uninstalling all laptop drivers that aren’t your main keyboard.
In Device Manager again, click View, then “Show hidden devices.” Go down to keyboards, then right-click and uninstall everything called “HID Keyboard Device.” This is actually a bit of a catch-all term, as various other external devices – even mice – can be included here. Remember to reinstall a device you just need to plug it in.
Laptop Keyboard Hardware Not Working
The first thing you need to do is hone in on exactly what the problem with the keyboard is. Is it a hardware issue (more serious) or a software one?
To isolate the problem, as your laptop is booting up, repeatedly press the button that takes you to the BIOS screen. This varies between different laptop brands, but it’s usually the Delete, F2, F8 or F12 key. If your laptop boots to Windows, then you’re either pressing the wrong button or indeed your keyboard isn’t working on a hardware level.
If you’re certain you’ve been pressing the correct button and your BIOS isn’t booting, then your laptop keyboard likely has a hardware issue. This could be something as simple as the connector between the keyboard and motherboard having become loose.
If you’re not comfortable with opening your laptop, then consider taking it to a specialist who can take a look. If you want to try checking yourself for the problem, you can use a tool to lift the keyboard and check the connection underneath (at your own risk). Once you can see the tap connecting the keyboard to the motherboard, make sure it’s not loose (or worse, broken) and firmly in the slot.
If the ribbon or connector is damaged, then you’ll need to get your laptop repaired. If it was just loose, then you may have just solved your problem!
In the worst of cases when your laptop keyboard cannot be fixed, you may have to resort to the onscreen keyboard. Here are some ways to make good use of the onscreen keyboard. When your laptop is back up and running, you can further boost your productivity with these keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10.