How To Unlock A Keyboard That Won’t Type

It can be difficult to find the exact reason of why your keyboard won’t type. This is due to several factors (such as an incompatible driver or Windows/Mac settings) that prevent the keyboard from working. Nevertheless, the on-screen keyboard can be a temporary fix.

In most cases, changing the keyboard may fix the issue. If it doesn’t, here are a few causes and fixes you can try to fix the problem.

Why is Your Keyboard Not Typing?

  • Windows filter keys are enabled.
  • A faulty wire.
  • Damaged I/O ports.
  • Incompatible Driver and OS.
  • Wireless keyboard power switch.
  • Dust settled under the keys.

What to Do When My Keyboard Is Not Typing?

Before we start, you will need to enable on-screen keyboard or voice commands so that you can navigate through the computer. 

Enable On-Screen Keyboard

To enable an on-screen keyboard on Windows, you can follow these steps.

  1. Go to Start Menu, and go to Settings > Accessibility.
  2. Under Interaction, click on Keyboard.onscreen-keyboard
  3. Turn on the On-screen keyboard.on-screen keyboard

To turn on this feature on MacOS, follow these steps.

  1. On the Apple Menu, select System Preferences > Keyboard.system-preference-keyboard
  2. Tick the box that says Show keyboard and character viewers in menu
  3. In the Menu Bar, click on the Command symbol.
  4. Click on Show Keyboard

If you are on a newer version of MacOS, then the steps are a little different.

On the Apple Menu, select System Preference > Accessibility > Keyboard > Accessibility Keyboard . Now, check the Enable Accessibility Keyboard


Enable Voice Command

You can also install Cortana for Windows. Using voice commands, you can easily navigate through Windows. Follow these steps to enable Cortana.

  1. Go to Start Menu and click on All apps.
  2. Scroll to search for Cortana, then click Yes to Enable speech.

To pin Cortana, right-click on the taskbar and click on Show Cortana Button.

In Windows 11, by default, Cortana is not enabled. To enable Cortana, follow these steps. Search for Cortana in the search bar using the on-screen keyboard. Now, sign in to Cortana.

To enable voice control on MacOS, follow these steps.

  1. From the Apple Menu, go to System Preference > Accessibility.
  2. Click on Voice Control, check Enable Voice Control, and Play sound when command is

If you are running a ChromeOS on your laptop, the Google Assistant feature can also help you navigate through the OS. 

  1. On the bottom-right of the screen click, click on the Time.
  2. Click on the Setting icon.
  3. On the left sidebar, click on Search and Assistant.Search-and-assistant
  4. Under Search and Assistant, Enable the Google Assistant.Enable-google-assistant

Now, to activate this feature, just say “Ok Google”.

You can also use the Search by Voice feature that most search engines offer.

How to Unlock A Keyboard?

If some keys, such as num keys, are not working, it is possible that you have accidentally enabled num lock. Otherwise, there could be issues with the software or hardware.

To follow these fixes, you can either use the on-screen keyboard or voice commands to navigate.

Disable Filter Keys

Filter keys are a feature in Windows which, if enabled, ignore repeated keystrokes. The filter keys are specially designed for people with tremors. The computer will not detect multiple keystrokes simultaneously when we enable this setting.

To disable this feature, you can follow these steps.

For Windows 10

  1. Open the Start Menu and go to Settings > Ease of Access (Accessibility for Windows 11)
  2. Scroll down, under Interaction click on Keyboard.
  3. Disable Use Filter keys.filter-keys

Note: This fix is only not available for Mac users.

Opening in Safe Mode

The keyboard may not function if another driver interferes with the keyboard driver. You can check this by booting your computer in safe mode. When in safe mode, the computer only enables a few basic drivers (like mouse and keyboard drivers).

Safe mode is like an error detection tool. So, if your keyboard functions in safe mode, it means that some driver is stopping your keyboard from functioning. If this is the case, try updating your drivers. Please scroll down to Update Keyboard and USB Driver to update your driver.

For Windows

  1. Open Start Menu, go to Settings.
  2. Then select Update and Security (there is no Update and Security option in windows 11, directly search for Recovery) > Recovery > Advanced startup > Restart NowAdvanced-startup-restart-now
  3. After your computer turns on, go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Option > Startup Setting > Restart.startup-settings--restart
  4. Now the computer will restart, and Startup Settings will open. Choose 5 or F5 to boot Safe Mode with Network.

To get out of safe mode, restart your computer.

If you cannot boot out of safe mode, follow these steps: 

  1. Go to C:\Windows\System32 and open msconfig.exe 
  2. Navigate to the Boot tab
  3. Under Boot option, uncheck Safebootuncheck-safe-boot
  4. Press Apply and OK

Now, restart to get out of sleep mode.

For MacOS

  1. Hold the power button until you see the startup options appear.
  2. Click on the startup disk.
  3. Hold the Shift and click Continue in Safe Mode.continue-in-safe-mode
  4. Release the Shift key.

If the keyboard still doesn’t function in safe mode, the issue maybe something else. 

Reset NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory)

In MacOS, the Non-Volatile RAM stores frequently used settings so that the processor can instantly access them. Because of some unknown reason, the OS may not access this data/settings. Resetting the NVRAM can fix the issue. To reset the NVRAM, follow these steps.

  1. Press Option + Command + P + R key for about 20 seconds
  2. Release the keys after you hear the startup sound
  3. If you have the Apple T2 Security Chip, release the keys after the Apple logo appears and disappears for the second time.

Disable Slow Keys 

There is a feature called Slow Keys in MacOS. If your Mac has this feature enabled, you need to hold the keys longer for the OS to register. To disable the Slow Keys, follow these steps.

On the Apple menu, System Preferences > Accessibility > Keyboard. On the hardware tab, Uncheck Enable Slow Keys. 


Update / Reinstall Keyboard Driver

For any device to communicate with the Operating System (OS), you will need a driver to control said device. An outdated keyboard driver cannot send data to the OS, which stops the keyboard from working. To update your keyboard drivers, follow these steps.

For Windows

Right-click the Start Menu and click on Device Manager. Expand Keyboards and Right-click on the driver. Click on Update, then select Search automatically for a driver.


Note: If you are on a desktop computer, you can also update your USB driver. This driver should be up-to-date since the data needs to flow through the USB cable.

For MacOS

On MacOS, the drivers will automatically update with the software update. To update your MacOS, follow these steps.

On the Apple menu, go to System Preferences > Software Update > Update Now (or Check for Updates).


Restart your computer after the update is complete. If updating your driver doesn’t work, you can fresh install it.

First, you need to uninstall your keyboard driver. Follow these steps to uninstall. 

Go to Device Manager > Keyboards and Right-click on the keyboard driver. Then, click on Uninstall.


To reinstall, right-click on Keyboard. Then, select Scan for hardware changes. Your driver will automatically install to the latest version.


Create a New Admin

For some MacOS users, creating a new admin account fixes the problem with the keyboard. To create a new admin account, follow these steps.

Note: you should know the username and password of an existing admin account to make these changes.

Note: you should know the username and password of an existing admin account to make these changes.

  1. Go to the Apple Menu and select System Preferences.
  2. Click on Users & Group.users-and-groups
  3. Click on the lock icon at the bottom of the dialog box. 
  4. Type the username and the password of an existing admin account.
  5. To create a new account, click the “+” icon. You will see a form-type dialog box.
  6. Fill in all the account details and click on Create User.create-user
  7. Restart your Mac to log in to your new admin account

However, there is no report of this solution working on any Windows OS. 

Wireless Keyboard Power Switch


Some wireless keyboards will have an on/off switch on their back. If there is a switch turned off, this is probably why the wireless keyboard has stopped working.

Clean Your Keyboard


Dust under the keys may stop certain keys from sending data to the OS. This can be the case if we do not use the keyboard for a long period. If you have a mechanical keyboard, you can easily clean them by removing the keys. For normal keyboards, you can use a vacuum cleaner.

Note: If you have any loose keys, vacuuming the keyboard may not be the best solution.

Check For Physical Damages


If the keyboard you are using is a wired keyboard, try using the keyboard through a different USB port. You can also try inserting the keyboard into another computer to check if the keyboard is faulty. 

Uninstall Recent Applications

For unknown reasons, some applications can stop your keyboard from functioning. If your keyboard suddenly stops working after installing some software, try uninstalling them to see if the keyboard works.

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