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7 Ways to Use a Laptop With Broken Keyboard Keys on Windows

by Ravi Teja KNTS
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There can be many reasons why some keys on your Windows laptop keyboard aren’t working or functioning differently. Sometimes, the buttons you use the most will stop working altogether. Before taking the big step of replacing the entire keyboard, you still have a few options to try. In this article, we will first try to fix your keyboard keys if it is any software issue. If the problem persists, we will also cover workarounds to help you use your Windows laptop with broken keyboard keys.

Fixing Broken Keyboard

Before starting, first, clean the keyboard. There can be some crumbs under the keyboard because of which key presses are not being registered. You can also try restarting the PC which may solve keyboard issues most of the time surprisingly.

1. Update or Reinstall Keyboard Drivers

A driver is a software file that connects the hardware parts or accessories with the operating system. So drivers could be the reason why the keyboard is not working. Reinstalling or updating the keyboard driver to the latest version can solve the issue. I will try to show the entire process with just your mouse, so you can complete the process without a working keyboard. If your mouse is not working either, here’s how you can fix mouse click issues on Windows.

1. Right-click on the Windows icon and select the Device Manager option from the menu.

Opening Device Manager on Windows

2. Now double-click on the Keyboards to expand it and view the keyboard connected to your laptop. In case you have no external keyboards attached, the only option available will be your laptop’s in-built keyboard.

Keyboards option on Windows

3. Right-click on the keyboard and select the Update driver option.

Update driver on Windows

4. In the pop-up window, select Select automatically for drivers option.

Search automatically for drivers

5. Your device will scan for the needed driver and provides an option to install it.

If no update is available, you can try reinstalling the driver.

1. Inside the Device Manager, right-click on the keyboard and select Uninstall device.

Note: This will make your entire keyboard unusable.

Uninstall device on Windwos

2. In the pop-up, click on Uninstall button.

Uninstalling the keyboard driver on Windows

3. Now click on the Windows icon, select the power icon, and restart the device.

4. Upon reboot, Windows will automatically grab the generic keyboard driver and reinstall it which can solve the issue.

2. Turn Off Sticky Keys and Filter Keys

When these options are turned on, they mess with your laptop’s keyboard keys. Sticky keys is used to press keyboard shortcuts one key at a time. So, if you have to open the start menu with the Windows key, you need to double-press it. The filter keys option is used to ignore repeated presses.

So, if you have issues with specific keys like Windows key, Ctrl, etc., or have issues while pressing keys repeatedly, then here’s how you turn these options off.

1. Right-click on the Windows icon and select the Settings option from the menu.

Opening Settings option from Windows icon

2. Now select the Accessibility option from the sidebar, then scroll down and click on Keyboard.

Opening keyboard option on Windows settings

3. Now disable the Sticky keys and Filter keys options.

Sticky keys and filter keys option

4. Also open both options and disable the toggle beside the Keyboard shortcut. As these options can be enabled directly from the keyboard shortcuts, there can be a chance that you can enable it without knowing.

turning off keyboard shortcut for sticky keys

3. Language and Layout

Another reason for faulty keyboard keys is a change in the layout of the Windows keyboard or the Language itself.

1. Right-click on the Windows icon and select the Settings option from the menu.

Opening Settings option from Windows icon

2. In the Settings app, select the Time & language option in the sidebar. Then select the Language & region option.

Language and region option on Windows

3. Now make sure that your preferred language is on the top under the preferred languages list. If not, you can move their position. Or you can also click on Add a language button to add the language you need.

Add a Language on preferred languages

4. Now for the languages that you don’t need or use, click on the kebab menu (three-dot icon) beside that language and select Remove.

Removing a language on Windows

5. Once done with the language, you must check out the layout. Click on the kebab menu (three-dot icon) beside your preferred language and then select Language options.

Language options on Windows language settings

6. Now under keyboards, make sure that QWERTY is selected. If not, click on Add a keyboard button and add a QWERTY keyboard. You can also delete the layouts you don’t need.

Adding a windows layout

Workarounds to Use the Broken Keyboard

If none of the above options are working and you are still facing issues with some keys on your keyboard, maybe it is a hardware issue. You may have to get your keyboard replaced. But until then, here are some workarounds that can make your life easier despite a broken laptop keyboard.

1. Use External Keyboard

One obvious and easy workaround is to use an external keyboard. You can connect the external keyboard to your laptop with either the USB cable or Bluetooth. This is the most efficient way. Anyhow, you have to carry the keyboard along with you all the time in order to use your laptop.

2. Use On-Screen Keyboard

Another solution is to use the on-screen keyboard. You can type on it with touch if your laptop has a touch screen, or you can even use your mouse to click on the keys. It is disabled by default but it is easy enough to enable it. The process of enabling an on-screen keyboard is different on Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Let’s start with Windows 11 first.

1. First, right-click on the Windows icon and select the Settings option from the menu.

Opening Settings from the Windows icon

2. Now select Personalization from the sidebar, then select the Taskbar option.

Opening taskbar option on Windows

3. Under the Taskbar settings, scroll down to System tray icons and enable the Touch keyboard option.

Enabling touch keyboard on Windows

4. Now whenever you want to use the on-screen keyboard, click on the keyboard icon in the Windows tray.

Opening on-screen keyboard on Windows

Windows 11 comes with a new on-screen keyboard that’s different from what users get on Windows 10. One of the key differences is that the new keyboard comes with much more ways to customize the on-screen experience.

on-screen keyboard on Windows

Here’s how you can enable an on-screen keyboard on Windows 10.

1. Right-click on the Windows icon and select the Settings option from the menu.

2. Now select the Ease of use option in Settings.

3. In Ease of use settings, select the Keyboard option in the sidebar and then enable the toggle beside Using the on-screen keyboard.

You can also press the Windows key + CTRL + O to access the keyboard. Anyhow, if any of these keys have the issue, you can pin the keyboard to the taskbar and use it every time. While this can solve the issue, typing can be slower with the on-screen keyboard.

3. Remapping Broken Keyboard Keys

If some of the most used keys on your keyboard aren’t working, then you can remap some other keys with the ones you need the most. For example, if your keyboard has a number pad on the side, you can remap those keys with something that you need more. You can also remap one Shift, Alt, and Control keys. While there are many third-party apps that can be used to remap keys, we will be using Microsoft’s own Power Toys which is free and open-source.

It also comes with a number of tools and features like extracting text from anywhere, finding out which program is currently using the file/folderrenaming multiple files in one go, and more.

1. First, you need to download the PowerToys app from GitHub. You can download it from the Microsoft Store too, but it is usually a few versions behind.

2. On the GitHub page, scroll down to the Assets section. If your PC has an X64 processor, click on Power Toys Setup X64. If you have an ARM processor, click on Power Toys Setup ARM64 option. Then click on the Save button in the pop-up to save the setup file.

Downloading Power Toys Setup

If you are not sure which processor powers your PC, open Settings > System > About. Now on the About page, check for the System Type option. Here you should find your processor type.

System Type on Windows PC

3. To install, open the downloaded file. Now enable the checkbox beside I agree to the license terms and conditions option. Then click on Install. In the pop-up, click on the Yes button for the installation process to start.

Installing Power Toys Application on Windows PC

4. Now open the Power Toys and click on the Keyboard manager option in the sidebar. Then select Remap a key option under the Keys section.

Remaping keys on Windows with Power Toys

5. In the Remaps keys window, click on the plus icon below the physical key option.

Adding remap keys on Windows

6. Now click on the drop-down below the physical key option and select the key that you want to map from the drop-down list. Alternatively, you can also click on the Type button and press the button that you want to map.

Adding a physical key to remap

7. Then click on the drop-down below Mapped to option and select the key that you want to replace the physical key with. If you are using any external keyboard, you can also click on the Type button and press the button you need.

mapped to remap keys on Power Toys Windows

8. Once done, click on the Ok button at the top. In the pop-up, click on OK for confirmation.

Remapping keys on Windows

Now you can just use the button you have mapped. You can replicate the same if you have issues with multiple buttons. Remember, when you remap a button, you will lose the functionality of that button. But this option will come in handy to remap a less-used button to something that you need every day.

Laptop With Broken Keys

Whether a key or multiple keys are not working on Windows PC, you can fix them to check if it is a software issue. If the issue persists, you can use workarounds like using an external keyboard or remapping the buttons on the keyboard. If your issue is with the keyboard shortcuts, check out our guide on how to fix Chrome keyboard shortcuts not working.

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