Troubleshoot keyboard problems

Here are solutions to some common problems with keyboards.

You can also try running a troubleshooter to diagnose and fix common problems with hardware and devices.

To run a hardware and devices troubleshooter

  1. Click this button:

    Picture of a Fix it button
    Fix this problem

  2. In the File Download dialog box, click Run, and then follow the steps in the wizard.

Show all

My keyboard doesn't work at all.

There are a few things to try:

  • Make sure your keyboard is plugged in to your computer correctly. If your keyboard connects to a USB port, try unplugging the keyboard and plugging it into a different USB port.

    Illustration of a typical USB cable and port
    A typical USB cable and port
  • Many wireless keyboards require special drivers to work properly. Be sure that you have installed any software that came with the keyboard. If you use a wireless Bluetooth enabled device for your keyboard, see Set up a Bluetooth enabled device.

  • Try plugging your keyboard into another computer. If it still doesn't work, it might be broken. Consider replacing it with a new keyboard, or, if the warranty for the keyboard is still valid, exchanging it for a new one with the manufacturer.

Warning

  • Turn off your computer before connecting or disconnecting a keyboard that plugs into a PS/2 port.

‍‍Windows doesn't recognize my keyboard, or doesn't recognize some keys.

The driver for your keyboard might be missing or need to be updated. If your keyboard came with a software disc, insert it into your computer to reinstall the driver. Otherwise, follow these steps to update your driver.

  1. Open Keyboard by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Hardware and Sound, and then clicking Keyboard.

  2. Click the Hardware tab, find the keyboard you're using, and then double-click it.

  3. Click the Driver tab, click Update Driver, and then follow the instructions.

  4. If you are prompted to restart your computer, do so.

Some keys stick or don't depress properly.

Turn your keyboard upside down and gently shake it. This will help remove any accumulated debris that might be preventing the keys from functioning properly.

You might also want to use compressed air to clean out dust from hard-to-reach areas under the keys.

The characters I type don't match the ones that show up on the monitor.

Your keyboard layout might be set for a different language than the one you want to use. See Change your keyboard layout for instructions on changing the keyboard layout to match the language that you want to use.

If this doesn't fix the problem, try plugging your keyboard into another computer. If it still doesn't work, it might be broken and need to be replaced.

My SHIFT, CTRL, ALT, or Windows Logo key isn't working as expected.

You might have activated the Sticky Keys accessibility feature. To learn how to disable Sticky Keys, see Make the keyboard easier to use.