Laptop keys do get broken or start being less responsive when you press them. In some occasions, the damage is permanent and there is nothing you can do, but you can at least try as fixing a broken key on your laptop can really save your day.
This is what we’re going to talk about in today’s article, actually: how to fix a broken key on your laptop’s keyboard.
This goes for keys that get stuck, are no longer responsive or nothing happens when you press them. We’ll also learn how to protect the laptop’s keyboard in order to prevent similar issues from happening in the future.
Guide: How to fix broken keys on your laptop
No matter if you’re having problems with one or more keys on your laptop’s keyboard, the solutions will be the same. But first, you should understand the basic key structure in order to easily identify where your problem lays.
Basic laptop keyboard key structure
A laptop key is made of three main parts: the keycap, the keypad and the key retainer. Let’s see what each of these mean and do:
- Keycap: it is the outer layer, the one that you tap. It is the top of the keys and one that takes the most “damage”.
- Keypad: a small rubber, usually ball-shaped, which is found under the keycap. This is what helps the keys transmit the information (key that we tap) as well as keep the key pressing smooth and nice.
- Key retainer: It is attached with mini metal hooks to hold the keys in position.
Now that we know what the parts of a laptop’s key are, we can further investigate where the problem is and act accordingly. And let’s get to that part now!
How to fix a broken key on a laptop: step by step guide
Before getting to the step by step instructions, we’ll start with the conclusion: when any part of the key is broken, it should be replaced first. If it has actual physical damage that is preventing it from working as it should, replacing it is your only option.
Here is how to do it (with your laptop off and the power cable removed):
1. First, place the key retainer in the vacant keyspace. Make sure that it is in a perfect position and able to flex, otherwise your key won’t work. The retainer should be in alignment with the hooks.
2. Insert the keypad into the retainer. Make sure that it is in a perfect position, and not to the sides. Usually, there won’t be a lot of wiggle room anyway.
3. Finally, put the keycap on top, making sure that you have the proper orientation. Press the cap gently on all corners so that it’s properly fixed.
4. Before turning your laptop on, press the key to make sure that it feels right and works as intended. It will do the same when you restart your device.
How to fix a sticky key on your laptop?
Even a sticky key can actually need replacement. But if you spilled something on your laptop and are 100% sure that’s the cause, you can simply wash the key.
Just turn off the laptop and remove the power cord, then take out the key or keys that you must clean (remove them with a screwdriver, for example) and just was them with water and let them dry out completely before putting them back in.
Related reading: Best gaming keyboards for small hands.
How to fix Spacebar Key on a Laptop
The space bar on a laptop is built differently than the rest of the keys since it is larger. It will usually have two or three retainers and the large bar that is connecting one end to the other will tend to slip away on one side after some time.
With the laptop turned off, remove the spacebar key and check for the problem. If it’s just dust accumulation, clean it gently. Otherwise, if the metal bar fell off one side (or both), you will need to put it back in place, as see in my image below:
This will generally not be enough, as it will fall again soon after. To fix it better, you can use a small wire that is easy to bend (or a piece of a paperclip if you don’t have a wire). Bend them in a V shape and place them on the plastic caps that hold the bar in place.
This will offer increased stability to the bar and prevent it from falling again, which will fix your problems, even though in most cases it’s enough to simply insert the fallen metal bar back in its place.
And this is it! You know now how to fix the keys on your laptop. If it’s too complicated, you can always connect an external USB keyboard to your laptop and use it without problems.