Certain laptop keys don't work [Solved/Closed]

Ask a question Meg - Last answered on Aug 5, 2017 at 04:10 PM by jeff
I have a few keys on my Toshiba that have stopped working. Specifically, Z, ?/, and all 4 of the arrows. I was typing a paper yesterday and all was going well, at some point these keys stopped working. At times the space bar & enter key needed multiple hits to work. I thought it was an issue with Word, but the same keys do not work in any other applications. I removed every key from the board and tried to clean around them w/condensed air etc. But so far, nothing has worked. Please help!

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However all of the above, some people have tried the followiing and had success:

Note from agartthean : Clean the keyboard with compressed air (blow compressed air in the gaps between keys). This removes some lint and dust.

Shut down the laptop, removed battery and cable for a moment, press and hold the start button for 60 seconds... and replace the battery.. start the lap top.. if that does not work a technician is a must.
Ash- Aug 2, 2012 at 09:29 AM
OMG! I was going CRAZY thinking I had spyware! This worked! Thank you SO much!!!!!
axl- Aug 15, 2012 at 05:19 AM
hopefully it will work for me too :(
danai- Apr 19, 2017 at 04:52 PM
Thank you so much I tried the battery thing and it worked for me too.
Shazz- Jun 25, 2017 at 12:25 PM
Thank you so much...That removing batt. trick worked excellently. Mind blowing....LOL
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I had a similar issue where my laptop keys stopped working one by one after re-installing windows 7 with SP1 on my Toshiba laptop. This included all the Fn key functions. The keyboard had worked fine for a day after the reinstall. The issue started all of a sudden while working on the laptop.

Checks performed Checked typing in different programs, safe mode, using Ubuntu as Operating system. Tried all the software and driver update that everyone suggested on forums. Even thought of replacing keyboard as thought it's life is over. Spent a day trying different options. Even removed keys from laptop and cleaned underneath. But to no avail.

However, the most unlikely solution I came across was someone mentioning damaged ribbon cable that connects laptop keyboard to motherboard. I unscrewed the keyboard with cable still attached to motherboard. The cable was folded like a V from the keyboard to the motherboard, which I straighten when I pulled the keyboard towards the touchpad. All the keys that didn't work now started working including the Fn keys.

So for me the problem was the folded ribbon cable. I guess because of years of being bent (like paper) the wires inside the ribbon are giving up. (and also I have removed the keyboard countless time over the years while dismantling the laptop thus straining the cable while putting it back to the motherboard). I guess the bending of cable was causing issues with matrix of the ribbon cable. Sometimes when I pressed a key, three characters use to appear. Pressing O showed French characters. It looks like it was a coincidence that the keys stopped working just around the time of reinstalling Windows 7.

SOLUTION I folded the ribbon cable other way round without flattening the cable like paper so that the original bend straightens.

I missed the basics of troubleshooting - to look at the cable connections before looking for other solutions. Looking at the 'Fn only' issue people are having, it seems like a driver/software issue. However, for issue with some keys, it looks like it's a ribbon issue. It has fixed my issue at least for now. I am typing with the same keyboard :)
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Hello Meg,

I know what you mean. It was a good idea to remove and clean the keys. Unfortunately, you are experiencing a common problem with Toshiba laptops which no manipulation of internal software can resolve. Only a in the flesh technician can repair your keyboard.

Terribly sorry about that, I wish I could help you further.

Best regards

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