Although possible, using your PC without a keyboard is difficult to imagine. From communicating to using shortcuts for better workflow, we’re so used to our keyboards that once an issue arises it’s both worrying and alarming.
Unfortunately, there are situations when the user loses access to their keyboard, whether this is due to a software bug or hardware malfunction.
This guide covers everything you need to know and do when dealing with such an issue, so without further ado, let’s get right into it.
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Preliminary Fixes / Basic Troubleshooting
Before getting into the more complex fixes, we recommend trying these basic troubleshooting steps, as they can fix the problem without taking much of your time.
Unplug The Keyboard And Plug It In A Different Port
Maybe the issue is caused by a loose connection due to a damaged port. Trying a different port will rule that out.
Make sure the connection is not loose. Maybe moving the keyboard loosened the connection at one point.
Also, sometimes unplugging and plugging back a device miraculously solves the problem, and this is the oldest “step one” trick in the world of electronics.
Check The Input Method
Often users believe their keyboard is not working because it types different characters than the ones they wish to see when pressing the buttons. However, this can be a simple issue of not having the correct input method selected.
Pressing Windows + Space on your keyboard may immediately fix it as you’ll be able to switch to your preferred method or language.
Also, not every software or website allows users to type in characters in a language other than English. So, if you have your input set to a local language, for example, you may be unable to type, but that’s not because your keyboard doesn’t work.
Test The Keyboard In A Different PC
The best and quickest way to find out whether your PC is the problem is by testing the keyboard on a different computer.
If you have a different laptop or a desktop computer somewhere in your home, plug the keyboard in and see if it works on that device. If it doesn’t, it likely is a hardware failure, in which case there isn’t much to do besides fixing it or acquiring a new one.
Restart Your Computer
Sometimes, specific components of your Windows operating system may fail to properly start up. Also, drivers could fail to load, and apps can crash while using your PC.
Restarting your system can potentially fix the issue as it allows the computer to load all necessary components and drivers anew.
Check The Battery / Power Settings Of Your Keyboard
Bluetooth connection keyboards have a power button to shut the device down and preserve the battery when you’re not using it. However, it’s easy to forget about it and end up with an empty battery.
Before concluding that your keyboard doesn’t work, check if the power button is on and the battery is not dead.
If these don’t help, you can resort to the more in-depth methods listed in the sections below.
Temporary Solution – Use The On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) Feature
To be able to follow instructions and apply fixes, you’ll have to enable an on-screen keyboard. Luckily, this is easy to do and requires just a few clicks with your mouse.
Here’s how to enable an on-screen keyboard on Windows:
- Right-click the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner of your screen (on the taskbar), then click on Settings.
- Click on Ease of Access.
- Scroll down the left sidebar menu and click on Keyboard. Enable the “Use the On-Screen Keyboard” setting by “toggling” the switch button, as shown in the image below.
Now you can use your mouse to click the keyboard buttons on your screen and use your computer just as if you had a working keyboard plugged in.
Fix 1: Disable Gaming Mode On Your Keyboard
If half of your keyboard’s buttons aren’t working, it may be because you have gaming mode enabled.
Gaming mode is a feature that most gaming peripherals manufacturers build into their products. When you have it enabled, buttons such as the Windows, Home, the entire F-section of buttons, and others, won’t work when you press them.
The goal is to avoid gameplay interruptions by accidentally pressing a button that could take you out of the game or minimize the window.
Enabling or disabling game mode is different on each keyboard. Some use the FN + F12 or FN + F10 key combinations, but that may not be the one that works for your specific model. The best advice is to search online for instructions about the specific model you’re using.
Fix 2: Disable The Windows Filter Keys Feature
Windows has a built-in feature called “Filter Keys” that prevents repeated keystrokes from being registered. This can help prevent typos and other mistakes while using a keyboard with sensitive buttons.
Although it’s a good feature and used by some users in specific situations, there have been multiple reports about it causing a bug that makes the keyboard stop working.
We recommend disabling this feature, at least temporarily, to see if it helps with the problem you’re currently facing.
Here’s how to disable Filter Keys on Windows:
- Press Windows + S to open the search box feature.
- Type Use Filter Keys and click on the first result that shows on the list.
- Disable the Filter Keys feature by “toggling” the switch button off, as shown in the image below.
We recommend restarting your computer after this change. Hopefully, the problem will now be fixed.
Fix 3: Update Your Keyboard Drivers
Corrupt or outdated drivers can cause hardware peripherals to stop working. You ensure your drivers are up to date by using the Windows Device Manager panel.
Here’s how to do that:
- Press Windows + R to open the Windows Run function.
- Type in devmgmt.msc and press Enter to initiate the command.
- Expand the Keyboards section. Find your device on the list, right-click it, and choose Update Driver. Click on the first option, which is Search automatically for drivers.
- Wait for the process to complete, then restart your computer.
This method worked for many users, and it should help you overcome the problem as well.
Fix 4: Disable Fast Startup
The Windows Fast Startup feature is useful when you need your computer to boot up as quickly as possible. However, here’s why it can sometimes be a problem.
“Fast Startup” makes your computer disregard anything that isn’t considered essential for basic functionality, so it can start much quicker without automatically loading some drivers, programs, and features.
However, if your keyboard requires a specific program or a driver to function and your computer doesn’t load them, you can start experiencing keyboard problems.
We recommend disabling Fast Startup if your device isn’t responding as it should.
Here’s how to do that:
- Press Windows + R to open the Windows Run feature. Type Control Panel, then press Enter.
- Set the view mode to Category in the top-right corner.
- Click Hardware and Sound.
- Under Power Options, click Choose what the power buttons do.
- “Untick” the box next to the “Turn on fast start-up (recommended) option.
Now restart your computer and see if the keyboard works. It should, as disabling Fast Startup is a method that worked for many users.
Hopefully, this covers everything you need to know about troubleshooting keyboard issues on Windows 10.
Applying the methods in this guide should help you overcome the problem if there isn’t a hardware malfunction.