Suddenly being unable to type on your keyboard can be a massive pain, especially when you’re not sure what caused the problem in the first place. In this guide, we’ll go over the different ways how to unlock keyboards and the various reasons that could’ve gotten them locked up. We’ll also answer some common questions pertaining to computer keyboards in general.
What Causes a Keyboard to Lock Up?
There are quite a few things that prevent a keyboard from typing properly. You could have inadvertently turned on a particular feature in your operating system or entered a key combination that stops your keyboard from functioning or puts it to sleep.
The device driver could also be busted, or there simply may be an issue with the connection. Whatever the case, a keyboard that doesn’t type is all but useless, so let’s try to get it up and running as soon as possible.
How To Unlock Keyboards In Different Ways
The method you’ll need to use to unlock a keyboard depends primarily on what caused it to become unresponsive. Another thing to consider is whether the entire keyboard is locked or if it’s just a specific section, like the Numpad.
Related: How to Fix a Broken Surface Pro Keyboard
We’ve listed some common ways people end up with locked keys on a keyboard and how you can fix them.
Undo Filter Keys
Filter Keys is a Windows accessibility feature meant for people with disabilities – specifically those who have problems with hand/finger dexterity. What it does is force your keyboard to bypass rapid or repeated keystrokes that may occur due to slow typing movements. This feature can usually be enabled by holding down your right Shift key for 8 seconds and is accompanied by a beep sound.
To disable it, simply follow the steps below:
- To get started, search for Settings in your Start menu search bar and select the top option that appears.
- Next, click Accessibility from the panel on the left, then select the Keyboard option under the Interaction header.
- After that, you should find the Filter keys toggle near the top of this section. Make sure that it’s set to Off.
Give Your Computer A Restart
You’d be surprised how many seemingly inexplicable computer issues can be resolved with a simple restart. There may be a program or some aspect of the operating system interfering with the keyboard inputs. Whatever the cause, go ahead and reboot your machine to see if takes care of the problem.
Depending on whether you’re using a full-sized keyboard or a more compact one, the Numlock key can change the function of different keys on your typing device. When it’s enabled on full-sized keyboards, it usually lets you use the keys on the far-right side of the peripheral as numbers.
Compact and laptop keyboards may also include a Numlock key which turns a certain set of letters into numbers instead once enabled. Either way, it could be the reason you feel like part of your compact or laptop keyboard is locked. To resolve this, just hit the Numlock key one more time to see if fixes your dilemma.
Double-Check Your Keyboard Connection
Whether you’re using a wireless or wired keyboard, a faulty or loose connection could give you the impression that your keyboard is locked. Check the USB cable or dongle to see if it’s properly connected and isn’t damaged in a visible way.
You can also try disconnecting it and reconnecting it in a different port, then pairing it once more if necessary. Furthermore, it’s worth connecting the keyboard to another laptop or PC to check if the problem is with the keyboard itself or the machine it’s being connected to.
Perform A Drive Update Or Reinstall
A bad or outdated driver is another common reason that makes it seem like your keyboard is locked. To update or reinstall your drivers, here’s what you can do:
- First, right-click the Start button on your taskbar and choose the Device Manager option.
- Next, click the Keyboards category to expand it, then select find your affected keyboard in the list.
- Then, right-click your keyboard, then select Update driver followed by Search automatically for drivers, and your OS will look for and install the latest drivers for your device. Alternatively, you can choose the Uninstall device option to remove your existing keyboard drivers from your computer. After that, you can download the latest drivers from your keyboard manufacturer’s website and install those, or you can restart your PC, which usually causes your OS to automatically install the available drivers for your device.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I fix sticky keys on a keyboard?
Sticky Keys is a Windows feature that allows you to input key combinations through individual key presses instead of requiring you to press down on multiple keys simultaneously. To turn off this feature, head to Settings > Accessibility > Keyboard, then make sure the Sticky Keys option is untoggled.
How do I fix keyboard keys typing the wrong character?
The are a few things that may be causing your keyboard to type out the wrong characters. First off, make sure that the Numpad key is not enabled accidentally. Next, check your keyboard layouts if you have more than one. Finally, check your language settings to see if you’re not set to the wrong region by mistake.
How do I fix keyboard keys that aren’t working?
If some of the keys on your keyboard aren’t functioning, start by double-checking whether or not the Numpad button is enabled. From there, give your keyboard a good clean, followed by a quick restart. If that doesn’t work, perform a driver reinstall or update as outlined above. Additionally, you can also perform a virus/malware scan in case that’s the issue. Should the problem persist, you might need to consider replacing the device or taking it to an authorized service center.
Is there a keyboard lock button?
Keyboard manufacturers often have key combinations/shortcuts that allow you to lock the device from making any inputs. These combinations vary from brand to brand. For example, Apple’s Magic Keyboard comes with an individual lock/Touch ID key, though that locks your entire computer. Laptops also sometimes come with designated keys that let you lock their typing device – often with the use of the function key.
Wrapping it Up
A locked keyboard certainly is a pesky problem, but fixing the issue is often a straightforward matter except if the device itself is damaged. In those cases, you’re better off checking with an authorized service center or perhaps replacing the peripheral altogether. Otherwise, the steps outlined above can hopefully help you figure out how to unlock keyboards.
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Emma Collins is a tech writer for Productivity Spot. She's been writing tech tutorials & how-to guides on Windows, Android, iOS, Social Media, Data Recovery, Cybersecurity, Gaming, and more as a tech writer for over 6 years. You can find her work on many established tech websites, including Hackr.io, MakeUseOf, Help Desk Geek, Online Tech Tips, Switching To Mac, HandyRecovery, Cleverfiles, and more.