July 27, 2010 11:38 AM   Subscribe

The spacebar on my laptop is messed up. My question is similar to this question. Only different.

Several weeks ago I was cleaning my keyboard - not removing keys, just getting dust out from inbetween them with the corner of a piece of paper. I assume that was what damaged my spacebar. Whatever it was, the thing just stopped working. So I removed it, and found that nothing appeared broken, but the little rubber nubby thing in the center had moved off to one side, away from its corresponding circle. I placed it back on the circle and put the little metal rods back into their slots to reattach the key. Now it works, but only when I hit it right in the middle. So I can type, but I have to do it very...very...slowly.

Should I glue (or attach in some other way) the little nubby thing to the circle? Is there anything else I can do to fix it myself? If not, is this a simple thing for someone more knowledgeable about this stuff to fix? Or is the spacebar the first thing to go on a 5 year old computer, indicating that the whole thing is about to die? (I really hope it's not that.)

It's a Dell Inspiron 700m.
posted by DestinationUnknown to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Does the spacebar depress evenly if you hit the ends, or does it seem to pivot on the center? If I recall correctly, my wife's laptop keyboard did something like this, and I had re-attached the spacebar incorrectly. Sorry for the vagueness, it's been a while since I worked on it and it's not near me at the moment.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:47 AM on July 27, 2010

I'm not about to take my space bar off I'm afraid, as all the dell manuals have dire warnings about them being fiddly to replace.
There's a how to replace keycaps article on the dell support site: - This includes a link to a video showing how to replace the space bar.

Changing the keyboard on a dell laptop is very easy if you can find a replacement, usually involving 3 screws and a ribbon cable - always read the dell service manual as it will tell you exactly which screws to take out (In the past when fixing laptops, I have thought "how hard can it be" and then found I have done things the hard way).
posted by samj at 12:06 PM on July 27, 2010

I'm with filthy light thief - it may be that you reattached it incorrectly. The metal bits serve to force the key to remain parallel to the plane of the keyboard no matter where you press it. Thus, if you press on the edge, the middle will go down equally as far. If it isn't connected to the metal things correctly, only the part you press will go down, and the rubber guy won't depress and make the electrical contact that signals the key is pressed.

The rubber thing doesn't need to be glued down. If the key is registering at all, then the rubber thing is in the right place and it's fine. If you have to press the key harder than usual, even in the middle, to make it work, then you may need to readjust or clean underneath the rubber thing.

The long keys on laptops are hard to get right. I spent half an hour putting a shift key back on my laptop keyboard once, and it's still a bit off (have to press harder than before).
posted by whatnotever at 2:24 PM on July 27, 2010

Response by poster: Does the spacebar depress evenly if you hit the ends

Yes, it does, and I hadn't noticed until now but it works when I hit the left side, but not the right. So based on that and the other answers I'm guessing maybe I just didn't reattach the right side metal thing correctly. I'll try again.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 3:01 PM on July 27, 2010

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