How to Fix a Dell Laptop Keyboard That’s Not Working

If you have connected a Bluetooth or wired external keyboard to your Dell laptop, disconnect it, and see if it fixes the problem.

Some keys or all the keys on your Dell laptop keyboard may stop working due to corrupt files in Windows, faulty programs, viruses, or in rare cases, keyboard hardware malfunction.

If only a specific keyboard key is not working, check for any debris underneath that key. Cleaning it with compressed air will resolve this issue.

The instructions in this guide applies to all Dell laptop models, such as Dell Inspiron, Dell Latitude, or XPS 13/15.

The first thing to do is to restart your Dell laptop, as this is known to fix temporary glitches in the Windows OS.

Since your keyboard is not working, you must force restart your Dell laptop using power button. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Press and hold the power button on your Dell laptop for 7 seconds or until you it turns off.
  2. Wait for 3 minutes.
  3. After 3 minutes, turn it on again using the power button.

Still not working? Restore your Dell laptop BIOS to factory defaults.

Still Having Issues? Restore BIOS to Factory Defaults

Since the keyboard is not working, and you cannot use On-Screen Keyboard before Windows boots, you will need to connect an external keyboard to your Dell laptop to restore its BIOS to defauts.

To boot into Dell BIOS, turn off your laptop. Wait for 1-2 minutes and then turn it On again.

On the boot or Dell logo screen, press F2 key.

In BIOS, select Settings. Next, click on Restore Settings button.

On some laptops, instead of Restore Settings button, you will see Load Defaults button. Both are same.

A new window will open. Select BIOS Defaults options and then click on OK button. See the screenshot below:

If the force restarting your Dell laptop or restoring its BIOS doesn’t fix the keyboard, update keyboard drivers, scan your laptop for viruses, run Windows hardware troubleshooter, and power drain your laptop.

On-Screen Keyboard

Some steps require a keyboard, so you must use the Windows on-screen keyboard feature that lets you use keyboard using the mouse.

To open on-screen keyboard (OSK) on the login screen, click on the Ease of Access button at the bottom right corner of screen. Select On-Screen Keyboard option from the menu.

When logged in, you can open on-screen keyboard from Settings -> Accessibility -> Keyboard.

Update Keyboard Drivers

If you haven’t updated your Windows in a while, the problem could be caused by outdated or corrupted keyboard drivers.

So, updating the keyboard driver can resolve this problem. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Keyboard section.
  3. Right-click on your keyboard and select Update driver from the menu.

Scan your Laptop

Did you recently install any new software or download any 3rd party applications? It could have been a virus that resulted in a keyboard problem.

You need to run a full virus scan on your laptop to remove the virus. Both Windows 10 and Windows 11 have an integrated Antivirus feature.

To run a full PC scan, type Windows Security in the search menu and open it.

In the right pane, under Virus & threat protection, click on Scan options. See the screenshot below:

Choose Full Scan, and then click on Scan Now button.

Depending upon the data on your computer, it might take Windows a few hours to complete the scan.

If a virus or malware is detected during the scan, Windows will provide options for removal. Click on the Start Actions button to remove the viruses.

Run Windows Hardware Troubleshooter

To confirm if this keyboard issue is due to hardware malfunction, run the Windows built-in hardware troubleshooter.

This tool will scan your Dell laptop and report any hardware malfunctions related to the keyboard.

  1. Open Windows run dialog box by pressing the Windows + R key combination.
  2. Type the below command and hit Enter:
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic
  1. This will open Hardware and Device Troubleshooter. Click on the Next button to proceed.

After the troubleshooter finishes scanning your laptop, it will provide a list of any issues found.

Power Drain your Dell laptop

If the previous methods did not work, the last thing you can try is power-draining your Dell laptop.

Power drain is a helpful practice that clears the laptop cache memory. Here’s how to do that:

  • Shut down your laptop and unplug it from the charger.

If your Dell laptop comes with a removable battery, remove the battery and hold the power button for 15 seconds.

If your Dell laptop has a non-removable battery, do not shut it down from the settings. Instead, press and hold the power button while the computer is on and hold it for 15 seconds.


About the Author

Muhammad Qasim

Muhammad Qasim

Muhammad Qasim is an Electrical Engineer, Solo Entrepreneur, and Web Developer who loves troubleshooting gadgets and making cool things for the internet.

You can contact him on Email, LinkedIn, Twitter, or GitHub.

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