Easy Fixes for Computer Keyboards

Even for the technology impaired, problems with your keyboard can often be repaired at home. The following tips will help you with common issues like dirty keys, network connections and even spilled drinks.

Easy Fixes for Computer Keyboards

My keyboard is not responding

Test and fix your connections

If selected keys don’t work, a quick connection check may resolve the issue.

  • If you have access to another computer, borrow its keyboard and connect it to your machine. If the new keyboard works, you know that your original keyboard, or its connection, is to blame.
  • Reconnect your original keyboard using a different USB port on your computer. Reboot the computer and try again.
  • Wireless keyboards use a lot of power. Try replacing the batteries in the keyboard before rebooting. Make sure that the wireless keyboard is “linked” to your computer via Bluetooth — your computer will prompt you to set up this link on startup.

If whole blocks of keys don’t work, the keyboard probably has an electronic fault that will need professional attention. If no keys work, check your keyboard’s connections.

My keyboard is filthy

Keep it in top condition with a few cleaning tips

Dirty keyboards and sticky keys not only affect your productivity, they’re a health hazard too, harbouring harmful bacteria.

  • Turn the keyboard upside down and give it a few taps to shake out any loose dust and dirt, then use a small vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment to suck out debris from between the keys.
  • Use a wet wipe to remove everyday grease from the keys.
  • For congealed dirt, remove the key caps by gently prying them off with a small, flat-bladed screwdriver. Take a photo of your keyboard first so that you can know where to replace them. Soak a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and wipe away any residue beneath and around the key caps before snapping them back into place.

Tools of the trade

Isopropyl alcohol, also called IPA or rubbing alcohol, is an ideal cleaning agent for electronic devices. It lifts grease and glue with ease, and evaporates quickly.You can buy it at any drugstore or computer store.

I’ve spilled coffee on my keyboard

Act quickly and rinse away the problem

  • Immediately shut down the computer and disconnect the keyboard. Run cold water from a tap over the keyboard to remove as much of the coffee (or other spilled drink) as possible.
  • Shake off the water, turn the keyboard upside down and place it on a towel.
  • If all else fails, place the keyboard on its own, facedown, in the top tray of a dishwasher. Run a short cleaning cycle with no detergent and allow the keyboard to dry thoroughly.

If the drink has spilled onto a laptop, be sure to follow your computer’s specific instructions for cleaning and repair. Consult a professional if the damage is extensive.

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