How to Disable a Laptop Keyboard in Windows 10

And if you can't disable it, what you should do

What to Know

  • Right-click Start > Device Manager > Keyboards > right-click Standard PS/2 Keyboard > Disable device.
  • Or use the Local Group Policy Editor to stop the keyboard from reinstalling every time your PC starts up.

This article explains how to disable or permanently uninstall your laptop keyboard in Windows 10. Also included are instructions for taking the unrecommended approach of forcing the keyboard to use the wrong driver to prevent it from working. 

How to Disable a Laptop Keyboard in Windows 10

If you want to disable your laptop keyboard in Windows 10, there are two safe methods: disable it in Device Manager or permanently uninstall it.

Another technique is to force the keyboard to use a device driver that it can't use, thus stopping it from working. We don't recommend doing it, but if the other two methods don't work, that is an option.

Person typing on laptop keyboard

EVG / Pexels

Use Device Manager to Disable the Keyboard

This is the safest and easiest solution to permanently turning off a laptop keyboard, but it might not work for every laptop.

To disable a device in Device Manager:

  1. To open Device Manager, open the Run dialog box (Win+R) and enter devmgmt.msc in the command line. Or, right-click Start and choose the Device Manager tool from there.

  2. Expand the Keyboards section to see a list of devices.

    Device manager keyboards option
  3. Right-click Standard PS/2 Keyboard and choose Disable device. If you don't see this option, try a different method as explained below.

  4. Confirm with Yes. If the keyboard isn't disabled right away, restart the computer.

Stop the Keyboard From Installing With Group Policy Editor

If you can't disable the laptop keyboard, turn on a device installation restriction using the built-in Local Group Policy Editor to stop the keyboard from reinstalling every time your computer starts up.

To do this, identify the keyboard's hardware ID so that you're only dealing with that one device. Then, tell the Local Group Policy Editor to prevent Windows from installing anything that matches that ID.

The local group policy editor is only available with Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise.

  1. Select Win+X and then select Device Manager.

    Windows Device Manager
  2. Expand Keyboards.

    Device manager > keyboards
  3. Right-click Standard PS/2 Keyboard and choose Properties.

    PS/2 keyboard menu items in Device Manager
  4. Go to the Details tab and change the Property drop-down option to Hardware Ids.

    The Hardware Ids option on the Details tab
  5. Open the Run dialog box (Win+R) and enter gpedit.msc in the command line.

    Windows 10 Run window.
  6. Under Computer Configuration, navigate to Administrative Templates > System > Device Installation > Device Installation Restrictions.

    local group policy editor in Windows 10 Pro
  7. Right-click Prevent installation of devices that match any of these device instance IDs, and select Edit.

    Local Group Policy Editor Device Installation Restrictions settings.
  8. Select Enabled in the upper-left portion of the Prevent installation of devices that match any of these device instance IDs window, and then choose Show from the area below it.

    The "Enabled" and "Show" options
  9. Return to where you were in the Device Manager in Step 4. Right-click the first entry in the list, and choose Copy.

    Copy option for PS/2 keyboard hardware ID in Device Manager.
  10. Go back to the policy you opened in Step 8, double-click the space under Value, and then paste (Ctrl+V) the copied ID into that box.

    Show Contents screen in the local group policy editor for Windows 10
  11. Choose OK on that screen, and then OK on the policy screen.

    Selecting OK to confirm hardware ID.
  12. Find the device again in Device Manager, right-click it, and choose Uninstall device. Accept any prompts that show up.

    Uninstall keyboard prompt in Device Manager.
  13. Restart the computer to permanently disable the laptop keyboard.

If the keyboard still works, repeat steps 9 and 10 with any other hardware IDs listed. There's a possibility that the one you used didn't take. In that case, add every ID from the list to be sure.

To undo this method, turn the keyboard on, return to the group policy editor, and set the policy to Not Configured. A reboot will then re-enable the laptop keyboard.

Use the Wrong Driver to Break the Keyboard

Updating a device with an incompatible driver is unorthodox and should usually be avoided. However, it's a viable solution in this instance. When you install an incompatible driver for a keyboard, it ceases to function.

If the same driver controls the laptop's touchpad and keyboard, you'll lose the functionality of both. Have a mouse or USB keyboard handy to be safe.

This method could cause a BSOD or other issues. Only perform these steps if disabling the keyboard is absolutely necessary, and you tried the less harmful methods above. Another option is to plug in a USB keyboard and use that one instead.

  1. Open Device Manager, expand Keyboards, right-click Standard PS/2 Keyboard, and select Update driver.

    Keyboard devices in Windows 10 device manager.
  2. Select Browse my computer for driver software.

    Browse my computer for driver software
  3. Select Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.

    Browse for drivers on my computer
  4. Clear the Show compatible hardware check box.

    Unchecking the Show compatible hardware box.
  5. Scroll through and select a manufacturer (different than your standard keyboard), select a model, and then choose Next.

    Various hardware manufacturers inside Windows' device manager.
  6. Select Yes.

    A driver warning dialog window.
  7. Select Close once the driver is updated.

    Confirming the installation of a driver in Windows 10.
  8. Select Yes to restart the computer.

    Windows asking to restart.
  9. Once the computer reboots, the built-in keyboard will no longer function.

If you want to re-enable the keyboard, repeat steps 1 and 2 but choose Search automatically for drivers instead.

  • How do I clean a laptop keyboard?

    To clean a laptop keyboard, turn it off, disconnect it, and let it cool down. Wipe the keyboard with a slightly dampened microfiber cloth. Use a can of compressed air to remove debris between keys. To disinfect, wipe it with a non-bleach disinfectant wipe.

  • How do I unlock a laptop keyboard?

    If your laptop keyboard is locked and unresponsive, restart the computer, turn off Filter Keys (Windows only), clean it, and check it for physical damage. You should also try updating or reinstalling keyboard drivers.

  • How do I reset a laptop keyboard?

    To reset a laptop keyboard to its default settings, open Device Manager, expand the Keyboard section, right-click your laptop, and select Uninstall Device. Next, restart your computer. Windows will reinstall the keyboard with the latest drivers.

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