Has your laptop recently taken a bit of a fall, and now the keys don’t work quite right? Perhaps you spilled a sugary drink on your keyboard, and now all of your keys like to stick together. Whatever the problem may be, there’s a simple solution for laptops with non-functional keyboards: accessory USB keyboards (or even Bluetooth keyboards for cord-haters).
While using an accessory keyboard will solve your key problem, you might want to go a step further and disable your laptop’s onboard keyboard, especially if the damage it sustained causes it to type unpredictably. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to disable your laptop’s native keyboard so that you can use a new one without worry. We’ll go over two methods; one of them is temporary, and the other is permanent (until you change it back).
Method 1: Disable Your Laptop Keyboard Temporarily
To disable your laptop keyboard until you next restart your computer, all you need to do is uninstall its drivers in the Device Manager. Since your computer will automatically reinstall these drivers the next time you reboot it, this isn’t a permanent fix. If you’re looking for a short-term fix, though, or you don’t mind doing this each time you reboot your laptop, it’s a quick and easy method.
To begin, open the start menu on your computer, then type in “device manager.” Select the Device Manager when it appears. Navigate down to the Keyboards drop-down menu, then find the keyboard you want to disable. (It may take a bit of doing to find the keyboard you want to be turned off.)
Next, right-click on the keyboard you’re looking to disable and select Uninstall device. If Disable is an option for the device, you can choose that too.
Your computer will walk you through several prompts asking if you’re sure you want to uninstall this device. Accept all of them, but don’t restart your computer if you’re prompted to do so. Your laptop will reactivate its keyboard when you restart with this method!
Method 2: Disable Your Laptop Keyboard Permanently
This method will make it so your laptop keyboard will not function until the next time you update its drivers. It involves tricking your computer into trying to use a different driver for your keyboard instead of the correct one. With this method, your computer won’t try to reinstall the keyboard’s drivers when it restarts, but since the wrong drivers are installed, the keyboard won’t work, either.
The only downside to this method is that some laptops will also have their trackpads affected since the same driver can sometimes control both devices. Make sure you have a USB mouse or trackpad available just in case this happens with your laptop.
For this method, navigate back to the Device Manager again as we did for the last process. Then, select Update driver for the keyboard you’re looking to disable. Next, choose Browse my computer for driver software in the window that appears.
Choose the option box that says Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.
Uncheck the box next to Show compatible hardware. Finally, choose a driver that’s not the one meant to go with your laptop’s keyboard. Then, continue through the prompts until the incorrect driver is installed. This time, do restart your computer when prompted to do so. When your computer reboots, the keyboard will be non-functional.
If you ever want to restore your keyboard’s function, navigate back to the Device Manager and let Windows update the drivers automatically. Now, you’re ready to use your new, functional keyboard instead of your old one!