My Keyboard Won't Work. Now What?

Troubleshooting a Broken Keyboard

Nothing is more frustrating in the computer peripheral world than a broken device. Sometimes you get lucky and the fix is quite simple, while other times you find yourself sweating and cursing, only to realize that the device needs to be replaced. Here's a list of simple troubleshooting advice for a keyboard that doesn't work. Try these first before you run out to get a new one. (Click here for a similar list for troubleshooting a broken mouse.)

1. Check the batteries. This sounds simple, but it's always the best place to start. Replace the batteries if you have a wireless keyboard.

2. Check the connection. If you have a wired keyboard, ensure the cable has not come loose from the USB port. If you have a USB receiver for a wireless keyboard, ensure this is plugged in correctly.

3. Re-pair the keyboard if you're using Bluetooth technology. Although most companies promise one-time pairing, a redo is occasionally needed. Click here for step-by-step instructions on pairing Bluetooth devices.

4. Clean it. If the keys are sticky from too much snacking while typing, this could be one of your issues. Click here for instructions on keyboard cleaning -- the type of cleaning you can do will depend on the robustness of your device. Waterproof keyboards can take a scrubbing while water-resistant keyboards should stick with a damp cloth.

5. If one of the specific keys are broken, how you replace it will depend on the type of keyboard you have.

Mechanical keyboards are designed differently than quiet-key devices. has a helpful video on fixing an unresponsive key on a standard and commonly found Microsoft keyboard, using just an ordinary plastic straw.

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