Keyboards are among the most reliable accessories we use daily with our laptops, tablets, and desktop computers. Still, they are not immune to software and hardware issues. Sometimes, a keyboard does not work on the Windows login screen or in the apps from the Microsoft Store. The situation is even more puzzling because a mouse connected to the same USB dongle oftentimes continues operating without problems.
What to Do If My Keyboard Does Not Work?
This article will tell you what to do when you cannot enter a password or type anything using your keyboard. It is important to note that you cannot fix a Windows 10 keyboard using a registry fix or any other software trick if it has hardware issues. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is buy a new keyboard.
The first thing you need to do to fix a non-working keyboard is to ensure it has enough battery charge. Dead batteries are probably the most popular reason keyboards do not work in Windows 10 and 11. Charge your keyboard or replace its batteries.
If you have a wired keyboard and it no longer works, try connecting it to another computer with a USB cable or PS/2 port. Alternatively, try using another cable if your keyboard has a detachable cord. Some keyboards also support various connection methods, such as Bluetooth and a proprietary connection. Try using those if possible.
If possible, find another keyboard and connect it to your computer. Thus you will ensure that the problem is not with your operating system, drivers, or software configuration.
Another simple thing you can try to fix a non-working keyboard in Windows 10 is to connect it to another USB port. Also, avoid using USB splitters and dongles – make sure you plug the keyboard directly into your motherboard.
Check If Your Keyboard Works in BIOS/UEFI
Restart your computer and try accessing BIOS/UEFI by pressing the corresponding key (usually, to access BIOS, you need to press the F1, F2, F11, Esc, or Del key). If the problem hides inside the software, you will manage to get into BIOS and navigate it.
Use On-screen Keyboard if nothing helps
Do not give up if the tips above do not help fix your broken keyboard. Windows 10 and 11 will not let you stay locked out of the operating system just because the keyboard bit the dust. You can use the on-screen keyboard available everywhere in the OS, including the login screen. The only note is that you need a properly working mouse to invoke the on-screen keyboard.
Press the Ease of Access button in the bottom-right corner of the lock screen and select the “On-screen Keyboard” option.
Now you can use the on-screen keyboard to log in.
The Keyboard Does Not Work Only in Windows Apps and On the Login Screen
A typical case is when a keyboard works properly in BIOS and classic Win32 applications (Notepad, Word, etc.), but does not work on the Windows 10 Login Screen and in apps downloaded from the Microsoft Store.
The problem happens when the ctfmon.exe process is not running. You can check it by opening the Task Manager and switching to the Details tab.
Run the process if you cannot find it in Task Manager. To do so, press the Win + R keys and enter ctfmon.exe. Press Enter, and then your keyboard should start working everywhere inside Windows.
After that, ensure the process starts with Windows 10 and 11. We will use a keyboard registry fix to ensure the process we need runs whenever we turn on the computer.
Note. You cannot use a keyboard registry fix to solve the issue of a non-working keyboard if your Windows account has no Administrator access and you do not know the Administrator password.
- Press Win + R and enter regedit to launch Registry Editor.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
- On the right side of the window, right-click empty space and select New > String Value.
- Rename the new value to ctfmon and open it. Change its value data to C:\Windows\System32\ctfmon.exe.
- Restart your computer to apply the changes.
Now your keyboard should work on the Windows login screen and elsewhere.
Also Worth Trying
Another thing you can try is reinstalling the keyboard driver manually. Right-click the Start menu button and select Device Manager.
Expand the Keyboards section and find your keyboard. Right-click it and select Uninstall/Remove. Unplug your keyboard (or its connector) and restart the computer. Connect the keyboard again and check whether it works.
It is also worth mentioning that some keyboards have tricky third-party drivers that are needed for all features to work (such as multimedia keys, RGB lighting, and additional capabilities). Always check your keyboard’s manufacturer website and download available software/drivers in such a case.