How to Unlock a Frozen Keyboard

Image Credit: Manuel Breva Colmeiro/Moment/GettyImages

Computers are fairly straightforward. When you type on the keyboard, the corresponding letters are supposed to appear on the screen in front of you. But at some point, all that typing will produce nothing. That means you likely have a frozen keyboard.

Unlock Keyboard on Desktop

In troubleshooting, it's best to start simple and work from there. If you're using a desktop, check to make sure the keyboard is plugged in. If so, unplugging it and plugging it back in could do the trick. If that doesn't work, use your mouse to restart the computer.

Unlock a Wireless Keyboard

If your keyboard is frozen and is a wireless device, your issue may be battery-related. Replace the batteries with a fresh set and check to see if it fixes the problem. If you have a multi-device keyboard, you may also find it has a power switch. Make sure that hasn't been toggled to "off." If this isn't the case, the drivers your computer is using could be out of date. Update the drivers and see if the problem is resolved.

Check Your Bluetooth Settings

If you're using a wireless keyboard connected by Bluetooth, you have a limited range, so it may simply be a matter of moving your keyboard closer to your computer. However, it could also be that you've lost your connection. If your USB receiver has a reset button, pressing it should resolve the issue. If not, search for instructions for resetting specific to your keyboard model.

Unlock a Windows Keyboard

If you have a laptop or unplugging your keyboard doesn't work, the problem is likely within the computer. If you have a Windows computer, instructions on how to unlock a keyboard will start with rebooting the computer. If that doesn't work, restart and press the "Escape" key to see if the Startup menu displays. If it doesn't, you'll need to replace your keyboard. If it does, you'll need to press F10, which will get you into the BIOS settings. You'll then press F5 to reload and F10 to accept the changes. Restart and see if this allows you to work as usual.

If not, open the Control Panel, click "Hardware and Sound" and choose "Device Manager." Here you should see a keyboard listed that you can uninstall and reinstall. After this process, reboot to see if your keyboard works.

Unlock a Mac Keyboard

If your frozen keyboard is on a Mac computer, first unplug the keyboard and plug it back in. If that doesn't work, connect your Mac to an outlet. Your computer may also have accidentally turned on a setting. Choose "Apple Menu," then "System Preferences," then "Keyboard" and finally "Input Sources." Choose "Show input menu in menu bar" and look in the input menu to make sure your preferred keyboard layout is selected.

Verify It’s the Keyboard

If you're typing and your computer isn't responding, it may not be the keyboard. When a computer locks up, nothing works, including the mouse. If that's the case, you'll have to do a hard reset, which involves holding the power button down until your device powers off. Wait several seconds and press the power button again.