Keys not working
July 29, 2007 7:15 AM   Subscribe

How do I get my Dell Inspiron 2650 laptop keyboard to work again?

Keyboard was working fine on Friday when I shut down. Saturday morning when I turned it on, no part of the keyboard would work. There was no water (or other) spills, no loud noises, no falls. I tried a system restore, no luck. I also allowed the automatic updates for Windows install. Nothing changed. The computer seems to think the keyboard is working fine; that is what it says under the keyboards hardware window. The USB keyboard I am using now works fine. Any ideas?
posted by sulaine to Technology (5 answers total)
The first thing to try when a Dell has keyboard problems is tightening the screws on the bottom of the laptop. Seriously.
posted by majick at 7:53 AM on July 29, 2007

Is it possible you've engaged your numeric keypad function? If you see the numlock indicator illuminated, you might do the F11 toggle, to shut it off. If that doesn't fix it, you might need to shut down, and remove the battery for a while, according to this thread. If you haven't pulled the keyboard, it's a low probability that the cheap keyboard ribbon cable connector on these models has fallen off, but it is not impossible. The screws majick mentioned are the icing on the cake for this, as the connector can come undone internally, with the screws still relatively tight, but you'll have to remove those screws to lift the keyboard to check/replace the connector, and tighten them thereafter.
posted by paulsc at 8:02 AM on July 29, 2007

Are you under warranty? If so, call Dell. A friend of mine just made a warranty claim for a damaged keyboard and had a new one shipped to her next-day, free. This was for damage she'd very obviously done herself, although I'm not sure if she made that clear to Dell. Point is, they're pretty permissive regarding warranty claims for stuff like this.

If you're out of warranty, you can buy a replacement keyboard for $20 or so on ebay and if you're even minimally technically competent (we're talking removing/replacing a few screws and plugging in a ribbon cable here) install it yourself. I worked in field tech support for laptops for a while (not for Dell, but the principle is the same) and whenever a customer reported a keyboard problem, we'd just replace the whole keyboard rather than trying to diagnose/repair it -- it's cheaper, labor-hours-wise considering how inexpensive the keyboards are.
posted by Alterscape at 9:07 AM on July 29, 2007

I had the same problem on the same laptop a few months back. Worked fine on Friday, didn't work on Monday....

Reinstalling Windows worked, though I don't know why. One possibility is that the drivers in an Windows update got munged up.
posted by JMOZ at 9:36 AM on July 29, 2007

Well, I shut down and removed the battery and the keyboard is now working. Which is very strange, since the battery doesn't work at all anyway. But, at least the keyboard is back. Thanks!
posted by sulaine at 1:54 PM on July 29, 2007

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