How to Fix It When an HP Laptop Keyboard Isn't Working

Troubleshooting tips to get you typing again

This article provides troubleshooting tips to get your keyboard going again in no time.

Reasons an HP Laptop Keyboard Won't Work

There may be several reasons your HP keyboard won't work, including:

  • A locked keyboard.
  • Outdated or corrupted drivers.
  • Interference from other connected keyboards.
  • Dirty keys.
  • A damaged keyboard.

How to Fix an HP Laptop Keyboard

These troubleshooting steps start from easiest and most likely to work to the hardest and least likely to solve the problem.

  1. Restart your computer. Occasionally, errors can happen in drivers, firmware, or software that will clear out when you restart your computer. Once you've restarted, check your keyboard to see if it is responding.

  2. Unlock your keyboard. Some HP laptops have a shortcut that will allow you to lock your keyboard to prevent unwanted touches. Unfortunately, it's easy to trigger this shortcut accidentally, so even if you don't think you've locked the keyboard, press and hold the right Shift key for 8 seconds. Doing this should unlock the keyboard so it will begin responding again.

  3. Remove and turn off any external keyboards connected to your laptop. If you're using an external keyboard with your laptop, it might not recognize the built-in keyboard. Try disconnecting from any external keyboards and powering them down completely so they don't automatically reconnect (as they might if they use Bluetooth connections).

  4. Turn off Cortana. Despite being useful, Cortana can sometimes interfere with other functions on your laptop. Try disabling it to see if it gets your keyboard working again.

  5. Clean your keyboard. You spend a lot of time at your computer. And you shove it in your laptop or bag and carry it everywhere. It's to be expected the keyboard is going to get dirty, and this can cause problems. Give it a good clean and then see if it starts working again.

  6. Run Windows Troubleshooter. Windows Troubleshooter is a built-in tool that might be able to diagnose and repair whatever is causing your keyboard to be unresponsive. Run the troubleshooter, and work through any suggestions it returns.

  7. Update your drivers. Outdated or corrupted drivers could prevent your keyboard from connecting and responding. Update the driver, restart the computer, and then test the keyboard again to see if it's working again.

  8. Check your keyboard language settings. If you can, check your keyboard settings to make sure you're using the correct settings for the keyboard that's installed.

    1. Go to Start > Settings > Time & Language.
    2. Select Region & language and make sure English is selected.
    3. If it is not, choose Options and select US.
  9. Try an external keyboard. This won't fix the problem, but if you can connect and use an external keyboard, then you can narrow down the problem quickly to either the built-in keyboard's connection or the keyboard itself.

  10. Disable other input methods. The windows Collaborative Translation Framework (CtfMon.exe) is designed to allow multiple input types, including a keyboard, touch, and stylus. However, it can also interfere with your keyboard. Try disabling ctfmon.exe to see if that might make your system default back to the keyboard.

Know When to Seek Repair

If you've tried the steps above and none of them worked, then it might be time to call in the professionals, or at the very least, someone who feels more confident about digging around inside your laptop's case. If you're unsure who to turn to next, read How Do I Get My Computer Fixed? for some quick tips on what to do next.

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