Troubleshooting a Computer Keyboard That Is Not Working Properly

By Julia Fuller

Simple Solutions

Look for simple solutions first when troubleshooting a computer keyboard that is not working properly. If your keyboard is connected to your computer by cable, verify that the connector at the end of the cable is fully inserted into the correct spot. These connectors should be color-coded to help you. If your computer is connected by USB cable, try moving the cable to a different USB connector. If you are using a wireless keyboard, verify that the batteries are installed correctly. If they are in correctly, try replacing the old batteries with fresh batteries. Look for keys that are sticking and gently pry them up. Use a pressurized duster made for cleaning computer parts to blow lint, dust and other debris out of the keyboard. To remove sticky spots between keys, use a cotton ear swab dipped in quick-drying rubbing alcohol. If none of these simple solutions help, go on to the next step.

Change location, reset, or restart

Look for metal objects that may be interrupting the signal between your keyboard and your computer and move them. You may also want to relocate your keyboard so that it is between 8 and 15 inches from the CPU so the signal is received properly. Try unplugging your wireless receiver from the USB connector and waiting for about five seconds before reinserting it. After about five seconds, check to see if the keyboard is functioning. You may also want to try plugging the wireless receiver into different USB connectors on the computer. Next, try pressing the reset/connect button that is on the back of the keyboard. If all of these steps have not helped, try shutting down your computer and restarting it.

Reinstall Software and Updates

When new computer hardware such as a keyboard fails to work properly, it may be necessary to install or reinstall the original software for the device. Locate your computer's Control Panel icon or choose Control Panel after clicking on the Start button. Next, choose the Add/Remove Programs option and remove the software for the keyboard. Your computer should indicate that you must restart to complete the process. Place the original software disc into the disc drive and reinstall the keyboard software when the computer restarts. Once you reboot the computer, it should recognize the new software. You may also want to visit the Windows website to check for updates and new drivers for your computer and keyboard. Download and install any that are available.