Plains
Illustration
Beyond the Basics:

Key Tips to Fix Keyboard Problems

Stuck keys? Worn letters? Malfunctioning keyboard? Try these troubleshooting tips!

Computer keyboards are a bit like knees. You don't think much about them until they're giving you problems. And when they're giving you problems, it seems to impede many of your daily activities.

When your keyboard isn't working correctly, it's a frustrating experience that slows you down. Luckily, many issues can be solved quickly and easily. Before you run out and buy a new keyboard or take your computer into the shop, try the following troubleshooting tips.

Replug, Refresh, or Reboot
These steps may seem overly simple, but they'll solve the problem more often than not.

Check Your Settings
Sometimes the culprit in a keyboard problem is a setting that accidentally got changed.

Unstick Keys With a Good Cleaning
You know you need to clean off your desk from time to time, and you dust your monitor when it starts looking a bit fuzzy. But you might not realize that your keyboard needs a regular cleaning, too. Crumbs, dust, and debris build up beneath the keys, and over time, they can cause keys to get stuck or become unresponsive.

Tips for Rescuing a Wet Keyboard
You don't have to be a computer genius to know that liquids and electronics don't mix. If you spill a drink on your keyboard, however, all may not be lost.

Unfortunately, liquid spills sometimes permanently damage keyboards — especially laptop keyboards because there are even more electrical components affected under the keys. If you follow these steps and the keyboard still doesn't work, it's time to call in the professionals or buy a new keyboard.

Important note: Make sure your keyboard is completely dry before you try to use it again. Never plug in a wet keyboard!

Give Your Keyboard a Fresh Look With Stickers
Your keyboard issues may be more aesthetic than functional. If you've got a heavy hand (perhaps caused by years of typing on typewriters), the most frequently used letters on your keyboard may be starting to wear off. You don't need to replace your keyboard. There's a simple, low-cost solution that will get it looking almost new again. Do a web search for "replacement keyboard stickers," and you'll have your choice of high-quality stickers in different colors and styles to place over your worn-down keys.

Consider Keeping a Backup Keyboard On Hand
Troubleshooting keyboard issues can be a Catch-22. You can't navigate your computer to troubleshoot without a keyboard, but to troubleshoot the keyboard you need to navigate your computer. Basic USB keyboards are inexpensive today, and it might be worthwhile keeping an extra one around just in case. You can find them at your local office supply store or online.