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19Jan/18

Fix Sticky Keyboard Keys

Step 1:Cleaning the Keys

Before you begin, unplug the keyboard or remove the batteries. If using a laptop, shut it down and unplug it. Pick a can up from an office supply store and spray around the base of each stuck key to dislodge dust and debris. If you don’t have compressed air, turn the keyboard upside down and tap the back while shaking gently. Dampen a cotton swab or clean cloth with isopropyl alcohol. Run it around the edge of each key to remove grease and dried liquid. Some people have reported success with baby oil, but it can remain in your keyboard, so use at your own risk. If you can see the debris underneath the key, use the toothpick or straightened paper clip to dislodge it.

Step 2:Cleaning Under the Keys

If you need to remove more than a few keys, take a photograph first so you remember which key goes where. Before you continue, unplug the keyboard, Most laptops have keys that are difficult or impossible to remove. In these cases, you’ll need a guide or advice specific to your laptop model, or you’ll need to have your laptop professionally repaired. On desktop keyboards, the outer key covering can usually be pried up easily with a flat-head screwdriver. Most debris is found in the letters and numbers. Other keys tend to be less dirty and more difficult to replace after removal, especially the space bar. Use compressed air to remove exposed dust and debris, and a cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol to remove stickiness and stains. For laptop keyboards and other keyboards with delicate internal parts, use gentle swabbing only. If the underside of your keys are discolored or dirty, put them in a colander and run water over them, or rub them in a bucket of soapy water. Let them air dry completely on a paper towel.Try this technique if your laptop key raises or lowers extra slowly. After removing the key, look for a square plastic object around the button. Remove this gently by pushing the corners sideways with a toothpick. Rinse this in water to clean the hinge, then let air dry. On a Macbook, the catch that holds these hinges in place are on the lower left and right.Let all the keys dry, then push them down over the buttons to reattach them. Let the keyboard dry overnight before you use it.

Step 3:Fixing Hardware and Software Issues

If you only have keyboard problems when using a single application, you’ll need to look for help fixing that software issue.Inconsistent results from keystrokes can be caused by low battery power. USB keyboards work best when plugged directly into the computer, not into a hub, keylogger, or other device.Keyboards with a circular, six-pin PS/2 plug sometimes encounter errors if they are connected while the computer is on. Shut down the computer, disconnect the keyboard, and reconnect it again.If some of your laptop keys don’t register when pressed, there could be a loose internal connection. Unless you have a guide for your model and are comfortable disassembling your laptop yourself, you should take it to a professional.

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