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

 Damick -

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!

System Configuration: Windows Vista / Firefox 3.6.10

2 replies

Registration date
Monday February 1, 2010
Last seen
September 19, 2020

However all of the above, some people have tried the following 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, remove battery and cable for a moment, press and hold the start button for 60 seconds. After it, replace the battery, start the laptop. If that does not work a technician is a must.
Thank you

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CCM 2932 users have said thank you to us this month

thank you it really works :-)
Thanks alot, it worked on my Acer Aspire E1-572G
Thanks alot. this solution worked for dell inspiron 15 3000 series
Registration date
Friday April 27, 2018
Last seen
April 27, 2018

yeah, that sorted it - mystery solved. thank you :-)
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 :)