How to Unlock the Keyboard on a Laptop

By Billy Kirk

Updated September 28, 2017

A keyboard may become locked for a variety of reasons, whether it is an external keyboard for a desktop computer or an internally housed laptop keyboard. The number lock key may accidentally be switched on, the computer may need to be restarted, the keyboard cable may be loose from the laptop’s cable socket, or the keyboard may be altogether faulty and require replacement. None of these potential cases require a skilled hand or a large set of tools. The only tool or device necessary for keyboard repair in this instance is a Phillips head screwdriver.

Examine your keyboard to ensure your “Number Lock” key is not activated. This activation is indicated by the key being lit up. If the key is activated, press it to deactivate the lock. The number lock key will deactivate an entire segment of your keyboard otherwise.

Restart your computer if the number lock key is not the issue. A simple restart may alleviate your keyboard problem.

Disconnect your keyboard from the computer if your are using an external keyboard connected to a desktop machine. Reconnect the keyboard and test its keys.

Remove the battery from your computer if you are using a laptop. Power down the laptop, disconnect the power cord from the power source and flip the unit over to access the battery release mechanism on its underside. Slide this mechanism to remove the battery, then replace it and test the keyboard.

Check your keyboard cable if you are using a laptop. Remove all the screws on the bottom of the laptop using a Phillips head screwdriver. Flip the laptop back over. Carefully free the keyboard from the laptop’s housing, as it will now be loose. Pull it up slightly to reveal the cable running from the bottom of the keyboard down to the laptop’s base, where it connects via the keyboard cable socket. If the cable is not in this socket, this is your problem. Lift up one side of the socket gently, then slide the keyboard cable back in. Push down firmly on the socket to lock it back in place.

Remove your keyboard altogether for replacement if none of these troubleshooting attempts work. With an external keyboard, just detach it from the computer. With a laptop, ensure the screws are out of the laptop’s underside, then pull the keyboard up and out after lifting up on the keyboard cable socket and sliding out the cable.