Laptops come with an integrated keyboard since it aims to provide a full system on a single device. It can be a real problem if one or more of your keys suddenly stop working. Sometimes, the problem is with your software, especially if more than one keys experience this issue.
However, it is also possible that the physical key is at fault. If you don’t get the proper click while pressing a key, some internal parts may be broken, or dust may have built up inside the key, preventing you from pressing it down properly.
In such cases, you need to remove the key, check and repair any faults, and reinsert it. In this article, we have mentioned the full process along with everything you need to be careful about while following the process.
How to Fix Broken Keys on Laptop?
Most laptops come with membrane keyboards. So, we have listed the steps to fix broken keys while considering membrane laptop keyboards. They consist of a key cap, retainer clips to hold that key cap in place, and a rubber membrane that actually presses the switch below the key.
However, mechanical keyboards on the laptop also include the retainer clip. Here, a spring replaces the rubber membrane. So, the majority of the steps you use to fix the keys are the same. Just make sure the spring is properly in place while reinserting the key.
If there are any issues with the components of the keys, you might be able to replace only those components. However, some manufacturers do not sell individual components and instead opt to sell the whole keyboard. So, you need to replace your entire keyboard in such a scenario.
Regardless, here is the step-by-step guide on how you can fix your broken keys on a laptop:
Remove the Key Cap
The first thing you need to do is to remove the key cap to be able to observe the inside of the key. Here’s how you can do so:
- Shut down the laptop and remove the AC power supply.
- Get a small flathead screwdriver or any small prying tool ready. Here, we use the screwdriver. Also, keep an earbud or Q-tip close to clean the key.
- First, you need to pry out the broken key. To do so for a small key, insert the flat head end of the screwdriver at the side of the key.
- Make sure it is underneath the cap but on top of the retainer clip (just don’t go in too deep).
- Push out the key a little bit from the sides using the screwdriver.
- Hold the key up with your other hand and push in the screwdriver almost horizontally while contacting the top surface to pop out the key.
- If your space bar is broken, you need to insert the screwdriver at the top or bottom on the two sides of the key and pop it out. This key has two or more retainer clips along with two metal bars for stability.
- The stability bars may be attached to the key cap or the key base depending on your laptop.
- If it is attached to the base, you also need to unhook the cap from the bars.
- Larger keys like Shift may have two retainer clips. However, the process is the same as that for a small key. You just need to unhook the key from both clips.
- The large keys may also have the stability metal bars, so be careful.
Check the Key’s Components
After you take the key cap off, follow the steps below to check and troubleshoot issues with the cap or the retainer clip:
- You should be able to see the white or black retainer clip with a rubber membrane in the middle.
- The membrane is usually held down to the keyboard using glue, so you need to be careful not to pull it out or rip it off.
- The retainer clip consists of two parts and has four metal pins to attach it to the keyboard.
- Then, observe the key and see if any of the notches are broken. To do so, you can compare all the notches together or compare the key with other keys on the keyboard.
- For unique keys like the space bar, you can compare them with the same keys from another laptop.
- If any of the notches or hooks are broken, you need to replace the key. If not, look at the clip.
- If the retainer clip is not broken or loose, center the key to the clip and push it down to snap it back in.
- If the two recliner clips are not connected, you need to place one above the other from the opposite side so that the hooks on the side are directly above the notches and then press them together.
- If the retainer clip is broken (you can compare it with another key), you need to replace it.
- And if the clip is loose, you need to put it in place properly.
- Try pushing it down gently on the corners or the sides until all metal pins firmly hold the clip and you hear a click sound.
Remove and Reinsert or Replace Retainer Clip
If you can’t push the clip down, you need to take it out and then put it back in. You also need to take it out before replacing it with a new one in case it’s broken. So, here are the steps you can apply to both take it out and put it back in as safely as possible:
- Look for the metal pins on the clip’s edge (either top or bottom).
- Push the retainer clip from the opposite end and use the screwdriver to gently pry out the retainer clip near the closer edge, one side (right or left) at a time. Be careful not to break it while doing so.
- Clean off any dust or dirt inside using the earbud.
- Now, you need to put it back inside in reverse order. First, make sure the pins furthest away from the edge firmly hold the retainer clip in place.
- Then, push in the top corners on the opposite side until you hear a click sound each time.
Reinsert the Key
After troubleshooting the key, you can finish up by reinserting the key cap. If there were any issues with your cap, you could buy a new one and insert it in the same way.
- For keys without metal bars, place your key in position above the retainer clip and push it down to snap it to the clip.
- You can also do the same if the metal bars are on the keyboard base. You must press on all sides and corners to properly snap the key.
- If you can’t press it in, you may have placed the key upside down, so check carefully.
- For keys with metal bars on the cap, align the ends of the top bar to the locks on the bottom and push it in slightly.
- Then do the same for the other bar and push the key slightly a few times to make sure it is in place.