How to Fix a Surface Pro Keyboard That's Not Working

Touch and physical keyboards can glitch on Surface Pros using Windows 10 and 11

This guide will walk you through several proven solutions for fixing Surface Pro keyboards, such as the Type Cover and Touch Cover, third-party wired and wireless keyboards, and the Windows 10 and Windows 11 touch keyboard.

The solutions on this page apply to Microsoft Surface Pro models running either Windows 10 or Windows 11.

Cause of Surface Pro Keyboard Problems

Technical issues associated with the Surface Pro keyboard are usually caused by connectivity issues between the keyboard and the Surface itself, software glitches, or the incorrect touch keyboard settings being selected in the Windows 10 or Windows 11 Settings app.

The incorrect mode selected in Windows 10 is also a common cause of touch keyboard problems when using a Surface Pro, as is Bluetooth disabled for wireless keyboards.

How to Fix Surface Pro Physical Keyboard Issues

Whether you’re using a Surface Type or Touch Cover with your Surface Pro or a third-party Bluetooth or traditional keyboard, you may encounter some connectivity issues and bugs. Here’s how to fix your Surface Pro physical keyboard problems.

  1. Disconnect and reconnect your Surface Pro keyboard. Simply removing your keyboard, waiting a few seconds, and then reattaching it can get it working again.

  2. Check your keyboard’s batteries. Wireless keyboards require power, so make sure yours has the required batteries and has a charge.

    Surface Type and Touch Covers don’t require batteries as the Surface Pro itself powers them.

  3. Dust the Type Cover connectors. Dust can easily build up along the bottom side of the Surface Pro where the Type and Touch Covers connect. Carefully dust the connectors, removing any dirt and grime you see.

  4. Install the latest Windows update. Whether you’re running Windows 10 or Windows 11, installing the latest operating system update can fix many hardware issues potentially causing keyboard disconnections and glitches.

  5. Type on a flat surface. Sometimes using your Surface Pro on your lap or a blanket can cause the Type Cover to disconnect. Try placing a book or tray underneath it when not using a table or desk.

  6. Turn on Bluetooth. If you can’t get your wireless keyboard to connect to your Surface Pro, make sure Bluetooth is enabled and your keyboard supports Bluetooth in the first place.

  7. Check the keyboard on another device. Your keyboard may be broken so try checking it on another computer or tablet to see if the keyboard works on that machine.

  8. Run the Bluetooth troubleshooter. From Settings, select Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters > Bluetooth > Run the troubleshooter to scan for keyboard-related errors and fix them.

    It’s a good idea to also run the Keyboard troubleshooter.

  9. Update the keyboard drivers. This may fix any hardware compatibility issues.

How to Fix Surface Pro Touch Keyboard Bugs

Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets support an on-screen touch keyboard built into the Windows 10 and 11 operating systems. Here are some ways to fix the Surface Pro touch keyboard when it’s not working properly.

  1. Restart Windows. Restarting your Surface Pro can fix many problems, like a touch keyboard not working as it should.

  2. Switch to Windows 10 Tablet Mode. The Surface Pro touch keyboard is designed for Windows 10’s Tablet Mode and often won’t work while in Desktop Mode.

    Windows 11 has no Tablet Mode. The touch keyboard is designed to work at any time while using the operating system.

  3. Detach your keyboard. Your Surface Pro will prioritize a physical keyboard over the touch one. Removing it will often trigger the touch keyboard and make it appear.

  4. Change the keyboard settings. Open Settings and select Devices > Typing and enable Show the touch keyboard when not in tablet mode and there’s no keyboard attached to use the touch keyboard while in Windows 10’s Desktop Mode.

  5. Don’t forget the emoji keyboard is different. Tap Windows + period to trigger the dedicated Windows emoji touch keyboard and tap Esc to make it disappear.

  6. Install keyboard language packs. If your preferred language is missing, download it and start using it in minutes.

  7. Enable the Windows touch keyboard at all times. Open Settings and tap Ease of Access > Keyboard and enable Use the On-Screen Keyboard. This will make it available in all modes regardless of what hardware is attached.

    You can also enable this preference with the Windows + Ctrl + O keyboard shortcut.

  8. Clean your Surface Pro’s screen. A build-up of dirt and grime on your screen may be affecting touch controls and keyboard typing.

  9. Run the Keyboard troubleshooter. From Settings, select Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters > Keyboard > Run the troubleshooter to scan for keyboard-related errors and fix them. 

How Do I Reset My Surface Pro Keyboard?

If you’ve tried all the above suggestions and your physical keyboard still isn’t working properly with your Surface Pro, you can try resetting it.

To reset your Surface Pro keyboard, open Device Manager and select Keyboards > your keyboard name > Uninstall > OK and then select Search for updates > your keyboard name > Update drivers > Search automatically and then restart Windows.

How Do I Unlock the Keyboard on My Surface?

To activate the regular Windows touch keyboard, you can use the Windows + Ctrl + O keyboard shortcut or select Ease of Access > Keyboard > Use the On-Screen Keyboard from Settings. In addition, you can summon the emoji touch keyboard via Windows + Period.

Usually, you can open the Windows touch keyboard by simply tapping on a text field on-screen with your finger or a stylus.

If your touch or physical keyboard appears locked, as in none of the keys are working, open Settings and select Ease of Access > Keyboard and disable Sticky Keys and Use Filter Keys. If you’re still having trouble, there are several additional solutions for a locked keyboard worth trying.

Why Is My Surface Laptop Keyboard Not Working?

Like Microsoft’s Surface Pro range of devices, the Surface Laptop series can also experience keyboard issues.

Most of the above solutions should also apply to your Surface Laptop if you’re having problems with its physical and touch keyboards. If you’re still experiencing issues, try applying some general Windows 10 keyboard fixes.

  • How do I clean my Surface Pro keyboard?

    Wipe the keyboard with a soft lint-free cloth dampened with mild soap and water. Alternatively, you can use screen wipes or a small amount of isopropyl alcohol on a soft, lint-free cloth to remove stubborn stains.

  • How do I unlock my Surface Pro without a keyboard?

    There are several ways to lock and unlock a Microsoft Surface Laptop. If you don't have a keyboard available, you can press and hold the Power button, and then press the Volume Down button.

  • How do I change the sensitivity of my Surface Pro keyboard?

    You can customize the settings of your Surface Pro keyboard by going to Settings > Devices. Select Typing to adjust the keyboard or Mouse & touchpad to change the sensitivity of the mouse.

  • How do I make the Surface Pro on-screen keyboard bigger?

    You can quickly enable the on-screen keyboard by pressing Win+Ctrl+O. Then, to resize it, simply point the cursor to any corner of the keyboard and drag it to your desired size.

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