Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Can You Replace a Laptop Keyboard? Troubleshooting Keyboard Messes

We've all been there. You go to use your laptop and realize that your keyboard is filthy and the keys are sticky. You may have walked away for 5 minutes only to realize that your toddler has pulled your F5 key off, or that mysterious pink goo has magically been smeared all over! So when accidents happen, can you replace a laptop keyboard? Do you even need to?

First things first, do you need to replace the keyboard, or can you salvage the mess without needing to install a replacement? When trying any of the methods below, make certain to TURN OFF THE POWER TO YOUR LAPTOP AND UNPLUG IT. You do not want to electrocute yourself while performing maintenance!

Clean it up: If you've got a grunge problem or a sticky mess, try cleaning the keyboard first. First gently tilt the laptop forward at an angle and gently shake the computer. This should dislodge most material stuck in the keyboard. Next use a can of compressed air to get out any dust and stubborn material still in there. Use a wet wipe to gently scrub off the keyboard. Wrapping the wipe around an item such as a popsicle stick or the handle of a tablespoon can help you get in between the keys.

Replace what is missing: If one of your keys has popped off the keyboard it is fairly straightforward to repair. First- find the missing key (if possible). If you have the key, check underneath the cap. Are all the connectors still present and undamaged? What about the retainer clip (the piece of plastic that sits on the keyboard and holds onto the key) If both pieces are undamaged, it's easy to pop the key back in place, after carefully aligning the connectors with the retaining clip. If one or both pieces are damaged or missing, you will need to order a new key. Most online vendors offer them for around $5.00. Once you have the necessary pieces, gently pry off a neighbor key, so you can compare the retainer installation to its neighbor. Gently slide the clip in place, and once it is settled, pop the key back on.

What happens if the methods above don't solve your keyboard woes, or if you have permanently damaged the keyboard somehow? Can you replace a laptop keyboard? Absolutely! Make sure you have a replacement keyboard on hand. Depending on the model a replacement will cost between 20-50$ (USD). Some models may be more expensive. Gently remove the bezel surrounding the keyboard, then using an appropriately sized screwdriver, remove the screws holding the keyboard down. Most models will require you to gently tilt the keyboard up and remove the locking pin. Voila! The keyboard has been removed. Now just reverse the process to secure the new keyboard in place.

So can you replace a laptop keyboard? YES YOU CAN!

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