Few things are more frustrating than when your keyboard stops working. From keys not responding properly to power and backlight issues, a lot can go wrong with keyboards these days, even if you’ve chosen a reliable model. Let’s take a look at common problems users experience and which solutions can help you get back to typing ASAP.
The keyboard has stopped responding
If the keyboard worked fine before, but suddenly stops working at all, it indicates a power or software issue. Start with the basics: If you have a wired keyboard, make sure your connection to the computer is stable and in place. Unplug it and plug it back in if necessary. For wireless keyboards, check if they have battery life / new batteries and connect them to a power source to see if that fixes the problem.
On the software side, if you have a wireless keyboard, try turning the Bluetooth connection off and on again to see if it helps. If not, see if you need updates and install them. You should also go to it Device manager and the Keyboards sections to check if drivers need to be individually updated with a new version.
Even if no updates are waiting, disconnect all other accessories from your computer except the ones you need, and restart the computer. A full reboot without any other connections can fix unresponsive keyboards.
If all else fails, run a virus check ̵
The keyboard turns on but does not work at all
If you see the indicator lights come on but can’t get a response from the keyboard, check your connection first. For wired keyboards, make sure it is plugged into the correct kind of USB port: Different keyboards are designed for different USB protocols and may not be compatible with all ports, even if they can be turned on. For wireless models, check the Bluetooth connection and try turning Bluetooth off and then reconnecting to see if it makes a difference.
If everything is correct, it is time to move to your keyboard drivers. Search Device manager and open the window. Find and fold it Keyboards section to see your current drivers. Right click to remove the drivers and restart your computer. When you log back in, Windows should automatically find and download the correct drivers for your keyboard.
You can also visit the Dell keyboard diagnostics page, which may give you a little more insight into what exactly is going wrong.
Specific keys no longer work
Start by looking for basic reasons why a key might not work. For example, if you have a numeric keypad, you probably have one Number lock key that can turn it off. If that Lock key was accidentally pressed, it would explain why certain number keys don’t work.
Otherwise, this problem indicates a hardware problem with that particular key. If you have a mechanical keyboard or some other version that allows you to remove that particular key, do so and inspect what you find underneath. Sometimes a crumb or little debris will keep the key from pressing the switch properly, and blowing it away will fix your problem.
You may notice that part of the key or switch is permanently damaged, a more serious problem that requires you to remove the keyboard, at least for a while. With mechanical keyboard brands, you can sometimes buy and replace individual keys and switches to address these types of issues. Otherwise, it is probably time to start looking for a new keyboard model.
Keys keep jamming while typing
Locking keys are a primary sign that your keyboard is dirty and needs cleaning. There are many different cleaning levels: some users like to spray compressed air jets and hope for the best. We’re not big fans of that option, as it can drive crumbs even deeper into the keyboard than before, and we prefer to use a vacuum cleaner brush to suck the dirt out completely. But for serious crashing issues, the best solution is to remove the keys and clean them thoroughly (this may not be an option on scissor or butterfly keyboards, but a good swipe still helps). Our guide to ways to clean a keyboard has more helpful information.
Every keystroke causes repetitions
Typing multiple characters with each keystroke when only one should be typed quickly becomes an annoying problem. If the key itself is stuck, it is usually dirty or dirty. Unplug the keyboard and gently pull out the key. Use a cloth with a small amount of rubbing alcohol or another solvent to wipe the key and the surrounding area.
We also recommend going into the keyboard settings and trying to adjust the keyboard sensitivity and related functions to see if you can fine-tune your typing style and sensitivity.
The keyboard has the wrong character output
This usually means that the software layout on your computer does not match the keyboard you are using. Fortunately, you can quickly change the layout to one that suits your keyboard. Search for Windows Region and language section. Select your language in this new window and select Options to see how that language is supported. In the Keyboard Make sure only your specific keyboard layout is supported.
(Oh, and make sure no one switched your keys like a joke.)
Keystrokes respond too slowly
This could also be a problem with a dirty key or some debris that has partially jammed the key switch. If possible, take the key off and clean around it with water and a cotton swab or similar, then spray some compressed air into it.
If that doesn’t solve the problem, go to your keyboard settings. Keyboard settings, including third-party keyboard software, include options to “filter” keys or set the keyboard repeat rate to slower levels. Turn off all filter options and experiment with similar settings to see if this helps in getting the response function where you want it.
Shortcuts don’t work
Check out our article on useful shortcuts to make sure you are using the correct shortcut. You should also check the keyboard settings: Windows has an option for “sticky” keys that requires you to press one key at a time to activate the shortcut. If this is enabled by mistake then it could be causing your problem.
Keyboard lighting or RGB lighting does not work
While annoying, lighting problems often have simple solutions. First, check the settings in your keyboard’s software to make sure the backlight has been turned off or adjusted. When everything looks fine, lighting problems can often be resolved by restarting your computer, unplugging the keyboard, and plugging it back in after your PC restarts.
If this doesn’t work, find your specific keyboard model online and download the drivers again or update the firmware if necessary.
If you have recently spilled something on your keyboard, it may cause the backlight to malfunction, partially or completely, and not turn on. You can try looking for a compatible “backlit sheet” to replace your old version, but this is not a guaranteed solution and choosing a new keyboard may be the best option at this point.