Sometimes after a little hard use keyboards get sticky, damaged or loose keys. Personally I had a whiteboard fall on my laptop and break several keys, try typing without a A, Z or X and you will soon look for alternatives. It is easy to get a replacement keyboard for a desktop PC, but if you have a laptop it might not even occur to change it. Before starting, check if your laptop is still under warranty. If yes, or if it is an Apple machine, contact wherever you purchased it from and they should be able to help. Doing it yourself could be a relatively risky process. It should be straightforward but if you make a mistake it is possible to seriously damage your laptop. Replacing the keyboard will void the warranty if you have one and we strongly recommend not tampering with a laptop still under warranty.
Disclaimer out of the way, the first thing you want to do is to find the specific model of laptop that you have. It is usually printed on the base of the laptop, around the bezel or will be on the original packaging. Once you have found the model number, now look for the correct replacement part. Go to the manufacturers website and find the specific part number. Search for the laptop name and ‘keyboard’ on eBay, Amazon and Google. Either refine your search or check the details in your results to find the part number you need. Now order your replacement keyboard and wait for it to arrive.
Some sellers offer detailed information on how to change the part. If you are lucky enough to find these on the official site, follow them. If not, the likelihood is that the process is straightforward, but it is a bit of a gamble. This is how I replaced my laptop keyboard:
- Check that the replacement part is the correct one by matching the part number of the keyboard to the part number specified on the original laptop packaging. Put the two keyboards next to each other and make sure they look identical and is the same size.
- Unplug the laptop and remove the battery (if it is removable).
- Examine the trim around the sides of the keyboard and on the opposite side of the machine. There may be some removable plastic or rubber covers or exposed screws that may be labelled with small ‘k’s or keyboard symbols. If they are remove them and keep them safe.
- Carefully remove the faulty keyboard. A delicate data cable attaches the keyboard to the laptop and it may only have a couple of inches of slack in it. Use a butter knife or similar blunt flat object to lever the keyboard out. It is likely that it will have clips at its top and bottom and once the first clip is released it should be easy to lift. Do not apply any force at any time, if it does not come out easily, you have missed a screw or you are attempting to remove it the wrong way.
- Lift gently and check the data cable. It may have a clip to hold it on the laptop or keyboard or it may just be plugged in. Carefully remove it.
- Place the old keyboard to one side and check that the new keyboard will fit and that the data cables are of the same type. The new keyboard should look like a new version of the old keyboard, just in better condition.
- Fitting the new keyboard is a reverse of removing the old one. Carefully reconnect the data cable and clip they keyboard into the main area of the computer.
- Once reconnected put any screws removed back and re-cover.
- Refit the battery and reboot. It should load up as usual and no changes in drivers or updates are required.
- Your new keyboard should now be working, check all the keys and make sure that it is.
Replacing a laptop keyboard is not a simple process but it’s not that complicated either. Doing it yourself holds some risk but at a fraction of the cost of having it done professionally or replacing the laptop, it’s an option worth considering.