How to Restore a Laptop Keyboard
By Jennifer Moore
Updated September 28, 2017
Items you will need
Set of precision screwdrivers
When a keyboard stops working, has odd key letters, stuck keys and non-functioning keys for no reason at all, the laptop may have an easy fix solution. However, if liquid spilled on the laptop or the laptop was dropped and as, a consequence, the keyboard doesn’t work, or the keyboard device has simply failed, fixing the problem may require a more involved laptop keyboard replacement.
Tap the “Alt” and “Shift” keys simultaneously if you are pressing one keyboard key and getting a different symbol or letter. This will reset the keyboard defaults on some laptops.
Press the “Ctrl” key and tap the "Shift" key simultaneously if the procedure in Step 1 did not work.
Press the “Fn” and one of the “F” keys to disable the “Num Lock.” Different laptops use different “F” keys to disable the “Num Lock.” Toggle each “F” key and press the “Fn” key at the same time to find the right key combination. Check your laptop manual to find the right key combination.
Press the “Fn” key and the blue “NumLock” key simultaneously if the keyboard is typing numbers instead of letters or wrong letter keys and the above steps did not solve the problem.
Blow compressed air in the cracks and crevices of the laptop keyboard. Sometimes dust and debris can cause keys to lock, making such keys non-functional.
Disconnect the laptop from the power outlet and remove the battery. Make the tip of a cotton swab as thin as possible by rolling it between your finger tips. Dip the thinned cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and clean the crevices of the keyboard with the cotton swab. Continue cleaning between each key of the keyboard with the alcohol-dipped cotton swab. Use a new cotton swab whenever necessary. Slightly tip up one side of the laptop so dust will move from under the keys to the crevices so you can clean. Blow compressed air into the keyboard again as you did in Step 1 of Section 2. Reconnect the computer to the power and check to see if the issue is resolved.
Insert the flat edge of a flat-blade precision screwdriver under a keyboard key and gently pry it up and off. Remember where the keys go, so you can easily replace them. Remove three keys at a time and clean with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Replace the keys and remove the next three. Do this until the entire keyboard has been cleaned.
Disconnect the laptop from the power outlet and remove the battery again. Turn the computer so the rear is facing you. Remove the screws that hold the plastic hinges in place. Insert a small flat-blade precision screwdriver in the plastic hinge seam and pry the hinges up. Turn the computer back face forward and open the screen as far back as it will go. Continue lifting the plastic hinge and power plate until it comes off. Remove the screws you see holding the keyboard with a precision Phillips screwdriver. Blow compressed air under the keyboard. Lift the cable connector levers slightly and remove the data cable. Clean the cable pins with an alcohol-dipped cotton swab. Replace everything, power on the computer and try the keyboard again to see if the issue is resolved.
Connect an external keyboard to the USB port on the laptop and verify its working condition. Disconnect the external keyboard and verify that the keys on the laptop are still inoperable.
Disconnect the laptop from the power outlet and remove the battery.
Remove the laptop keyboard as you did in Step 3 of Section 2 by removing the plastic hinge and power button plate, the keyboard screws and disconnecting the data cable from the motherboard connector.
Replace the keyboard with a new laptop keyboard for your laptop make and model.
Jennifer Moore began writing in 2006, specializing in Web content, blogs and forum postings. She is a graduate from the most prestigious university in Mexico, Universidad de Las Americas, with a B.A. in international relations, later obtaining a U.S. teacher's degree and an additional CompTIA A+ certification in computer technology. Moore has written for My Mexico Living, BoomersAbroad and various other websites.