In all honesty, Microsoft Surfaces are delicate devices. The surface itself is notoriously known for just switching off for good. On top of that, users constantly face issues, where the keyboard, or certain keys stop working.
These issues can imply both hardware and software problems. Now, if the keyboard faces water or physical damage, the only option is repair or replacement.
But other than the damage aspect, we can troubleshoot the keyboard to have it working again.
There are a lot of possible causes of this problem, so honestly, the alternatives suggested are a hit-or-miss approach. Try each one till the keyboard starts working properly again.
Common Causes of Surface Keyboard Not Working
- Connectivity issues with Keyboard & Surface
- Problems with Keyboard Driver/ Operating System
- Hardware problem with the keyboard itself
- Bluetooth disabled (for wireless keyboards)/ Problems with Bluetooth Pairing
- Low battery for Wireless Surface Keyboards
- Physical or Water Damage incurred on surface or keyboard.
Surface Keyboard Not Working? Here’s how to fix it
We have compiled a list of alternatives for you to try out. Try each one serially till the keyboard starts working again.
Disconnect/ Reconnect Keyboard
Surface keyboards can easily be detached from the surface devices. They are connected through connector pins in the keyboard that connects to the Surface device’s port.
We recommend disconnecting the device and reconnecting the keyboard as the first step to troubleshooting surface keyboards.
We also recommend visually scanning the keyboard for any physical damage during this process. Try to check if the connector pins or ports are bent or broken. Remember to watch the ports in the surface device for any dust or grime accumulation.
Another important thing to check is connecting the keyboard to another surface device. If the keyboard works, the problem most likely is with the surface device. If it doesn’t work, the keyboard might be at fault.
Clean Connector Pins
As Surface Keyboards are detachable, there is a good chance the problem is with the connector pins of the surface keyboard. Scan the area visually and clean it with a soft cloth/ Q-tip.
Blow out any dust accumulated and clean off any grime on the connector pins or the connection point in the surface device. A little dab of isopropyl alcohol on a Q-tip can do wonders for the cleaning process.
Do not worry about the alcohol; it won’t stay long and evaporate in a little while.
Pair & Unpair Bluetooth (Only for Wireless Surface Keyboards)
A clean Bluetooth connection will help eliminate errors with the previous connection between the keyboard and surface device.
- Click on the search icon in the taskbar and search/select Bluetooth & devices.
- Find the connected surface keyboard and click on the three-dotted button on its side.
- Select the option Remove Device.
- Toggle Bluetooth option off on the top and turn it back on.
- Reconnect the Surface Keyboard. In the events it does not connect automatically, click on add devices and choose the name of the surface keyboard.
Ensure Keyboard Batteries Are Charged
This option applies to wireless keyboards that need an independent power source. Please make sure that these keyboards are fully charged as low power might cause the keyboard not to work.
Run Keyboard/ Bluetooth Troubleshooter
Windows troubleshooter helps eliminate errors with specific components in the device. Windows has a list of troubleshooters to make this an easier process for users. We recommend using them.
- Search/ Find settings options using the search bar from the taskbar.
- In Windows 10, Find Update & Security and find/select the option troubleshoot. In Windows 11, the same option will be there under system > troubleshoot.
- Under troubleshoot, go to other troubleshooters.
- Please select Run on the side of the Keyboard option to troubleshoot it.
- If you are using a Bluetooth keyboard, we recommend troubleshooting both Bluetooth and the keyboard. Both options will be listed under the option Other troubleshooters.
Check the Drivers
Drivers are what run the hardware, in this case, the keyboard. If there are any issues with the drivers, a clean uninstall and reinstall should fix the keyboard.
- Go to the search icon on the search bar and search/ select device manager.
- Go to the Keyboard section and expand it. Uninstall all Keyboards drivers listed there.
- Restart the device.
- Additionally, do check the Human Interface Controllers section in the device manager. If any driver has a caution sign, please uninstall the specific driver, and restart the surface device to re-install it.
- The drivers installed should be the updated driver version, but as a precaution, after re-installing the driver, right-click on it and select update.
Run DISM / SFC Scan
A simple DISM and SFC can help fix any errors with the system files and repair windows images.
- Click on the search icon on the taskbar and search/select Command prompt.
- Right-click on the command prompt and select run as administrator.
- Run the following commands
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
- Once the DISM scan is done, execute the following command.
If it’s a bug causing the issue & is recognized by Microsoft, they will have a fix sent through the update. On top of that, updating windows also help in updating drivers, which may help fix the issue.
- Click on the search icon on the taskbar and type check for updates.
- Update windows by pressing the check for updates button or download now option or download & install (Whichever shows up).
Get the Device to Surface UEFI
This alternative has worked for a niche group of users. It’s more of a check rather than a solution, but users have found the keyboard to work while bringing the device to its UEFI settings.
- Make sure the surface is shut down.
- Press & hold the volume up button while simultaneously doing a press & release of the power button.
- Keep holding the volume up button and once the Surface logo appears, release the volume up button.
- Once you are on the UEFI screen, check if the keyboard works. Some users report getting to BIOS is enough to get it working.
- Additionally, go to the devices option from the left panel and check two things are turned on, Bluetooth (for wireless keyboards) or the Surface Type cover option.
- Exit the UEFI screen by selecting exit on the left panel.
Force Reboot Device
For Surface Laptops, Go, Studio, book 2-3, and Pro 5 or later versions, press & hold the power button till the device restarts. Once the Windows logo pops up again, you are free to let go of the buttons.
For Surface Pro 1-4, Book 1, RT, press & hold the power button until the screen goes black, roughly around 30 seconds, and then let go.
- Now press and hold the volume up button and power button simultaneously for about 15 seconds and release both buttons; the screen should flash the Surface logo.
- Release the buttons and wait roughly 10 seconds. Press the power button to turn it back on.
Reset the Surface Device
Resetting the device will bring the device to its factory settings. A reset should fix the issue if the issues were caused by a new update, new software, or malware.
- Click on the search icon and search/select Settings.
- In windows 11, Under the System section, find and select Recovery. In windows 10, you will see the Recovery section under Update & Security.
- Select the Reset this PC option in Windows 11. For Windows 10, click on Get Started option under the Reset this PC section.
- A pop-up will open asking you to confirm resetting the PC by Keeping my files or Removing everything. We recommend first trying to reset by keeping files. If it still doesn’t work, back up important files and try the remove everything option reset.
Contact Microsoft Support
If your device is under warranty, we recommend contacting Microsoft support as they can help you get a resolution either with repairs or replacement. You can submit a repair request via their official website.
Take the Keyboard & Surface Tablet to a Repair Center
If none of the above-stated alternatives work, the only option is repair or replacement. Microsoft after service has been questionable for many years. This gap has caused the third-party repairers to specialize in Microsoft Surfaces repairs.
We recommend taking the keyboard to such repair centers as a last resort. If the boards need to be changed or the bent connector pins need to be aligned, Microsoft is not going to do it, but third-party repairers will. However, be mentally prepared to replace the keyboard.
If you have money to spend, you can get the surface keyboard sold by Microsoft, but many users seem to use Bluetooth keyboards that are far cheaper.
There are also a lot of third-party keyboards that are compatible with surfaces. So, we recommend looking at Bluetooth keyboard options as a viable alternative.