How to Fix a Keyboard With Wrong Characters

by ContributorUpdated September 28, 2017

You're typing a letter on your brand new keyboard. You glance at your monitor to check your progress and suddenly find that the characters are all wrong and your words are scrambled. Your fingers were on the correct keys, so something must be wrong with the keyboard. Follow these simple steps to solve your quirky keyboard dilemma.

Examine your keyboard for any build-up of dust, dirt, liquids or other particles that could be causing the keys to type the wrong characters. Allow any loose dirt to fall out by inverting and shaking the keyboard lightly.

Plug your keyboard into another computer. If the keyboard works, then the port on your original computer may not be working.

Confirm that your keyboard is set to the English language. Go to your control panel and click on the "Regional and Language Options" icon. If the setting appears to be in a foreign language, change it to English/U.S.

Check if your number lock key is on. If so, depress the key to disengage it.

Run a character key test by using the Microsoft Keyboard Diagnostics (MSKEY) program. While in the MSKEY program, hit several keys to make certain that they are the same keys that are identified in the MSKEY window.


Clean your keyboard regularly to keep it free of dust and debris. To start MSKEY in Windows Vista, select "All Programs>>Accessories>>Run" from the Start menu. Type "mskey" in the box and depress the "OK" button. Start MSKEY In Windows XP by clicking on "Run" from the Start menu. Type "mskey" in the Open box, then hit "OK." Depress either "PS/2" or "USB" to apply it to your type of keyboard hookup.


Don't disassemble the keyboard because it may affect the validity of your manufacturer warranty. MSKEY software is only available with Microsoft IntelliType version 1.1 or later.

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