If you find yourself suddenly not being able to type on your keyboard, it may be due to a number of things. Perhaps you’ve accidentally locked your keyboard, or nearby wireless devices are affecting your Bluetooth keyboard’s connection. Regardless of why it’s happening, you can resolve this common issue and unlock your keyboard by following this guide.
Good to know: Windows key not working for you? Learn how to restore its full functionality.
A locked keyboard isn’t necessarily the result of a serious issue, so it’s best to perform an initial check before attempting other solutions. Listed below are a few quick fixes that you can try.
- Restart your PC: many processes are running in the background while you’re using your computer. Some of these may be interfering with your keyboard, causing it to become unresponsive, and restarting your computer may be an easy way to eliminate the problem.
- Do basic cleaning: gunk may have been accumulating between the crevices of your keyboard. This buildup can cause the keys to get stuck and become dysfunctional. If a certain key gets stuck as if it were pressed down, it may impact the performance of adjacent keys. Therefore, regular cleaning is essential.
- Update your keyboard driver: if your keyboard driver isn’t up to date, it may have underlying bugs and issues that cause your computer not to properly connect to the keyboard. A simple keyboard driver update may be able to solve this.
If none of the basic fixes we discussed above worked for you, you can try the more specific solutions targeting this issue.
1. Check Whether Your Keyboard Is Activated
Are you using a wireless keyboard? Check whether it’s actually powered on. There should be an LED indicator for this. Try turning the keyboard on and off and see whether anything changes. At the same time, consider checking the batteries of your keyboard, if applicable. They may be dead, so you will need to replace or recharge them.
If you're not the only one using the affected laptop or PC, maybe you should consider that someone has disabled the keyboard.
2. Ensure That You Have a Proper Keyboard Connection
When it comes to a desktop setup, inspect the cable of your keyboard to ensure there are no cuts and/or exposed wires. If the cable is in good condition, confirm that it is securely connected to a USB port on your computer. You can do this by unplugging the USB cable, then plugging it back in. The same applies to USB dongles for wireless keyboards.
To ensure that your keyboard is connected to your computer, check the USB ports. In some cases, it may be the ports that are the culprits. If you're experiencing issues with your USB 3.0 ports, check out our post for solutions.
For Bluetooth-based keyboards, consider eliminating all other devices that emit signals in their vicinity. They may be interfering with the wireless connection. Alternatively, try to restart the Bluetooth connection with your Windows PC.
Tip: check out these laptops that come with built-in mechanical keyboards for something a bit different.
3. Check for Physical Damage
Physical damage can lead to mechanical failures in your keyboard. To verify whether this is the case, check the following aspects:
- Keys (see whether they're still clicking and if they have cracks)
- USB cable of your keyboard
- Computer ports for keyboard input and battery outlets
- Power button (for wireless keyboards)
If your computer keyboard is indeed damaged, you will most likely need to replace it. For a laptop keyboard, consider bringing it to a trusted repair service.
4. Disable FilterKeys
A Windows Accessibility feature called FilterKeys could make your keyboard unresponsive or appear "locked." When enabled, it causes your computer to ignore brief or repeated keystrokes. Follow these steps to turn it off:
- Press Win + I to open the Settings app on your Windows PC.
- Navigate to “Accessibility,” and select “Keyboard.”
- Turn off the toggle switch for “Filter keys.”
- To turn off the input delay, and click on the “Filter keys” option instead.
- Toggle the switch for "Ignore quick keystrokes (slow keys)" off in the "Filter keys" section.
Tip: get acquainted with the additional Accessibility features that Windows 11 puts at your disposal.
5. Use Your Computer’s Lock Keyboard Shortcut
Some laptops or standalone keyboards may offer dedicated function keys that allow you to lock and unlock your keyboard at will.
This would depend on the brand and model of your device, though. There’s no definite shortcut for this feature, but you can follow the general steps below:
- Search for any padlock symbols or icons on your keyboard.
- Simultaneously press the Fn key and the key with the padlock symbol to unlock your keyboard.
Some keyboards may also feature multiple functions in a single key, which are then accessed using the Fn key. If the function lock is enabled, you can unlock it by finding the “F Lock” key on your keyboard.
If after trying all these solutions, you've come to the conclusion that you need to invest in a new keyboard, check out our post on the best RGB keyboards, especially if you're a gamer. Alternatively, you may be interested in one of these keyboards from Logitech.
Image credit: Freepik. All screenshots by Princess Angolluan.
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