Sunday, October 26, 2008

Notebook computer keyboards

When a key falls off of a notebook computer there's no practical way to replace just that key. The entire keyboard needs to be replaced. If you've got the key, you can try snapping it back in place. It'll probably fall off again.

Basically, every model of laptop uses a different keyboard. You can't just stroll on down to the office super store to pick up a replacement. The easiest way to get a new laptop keyboard is from the computer manufacturer -- Dell, Gateway, Lenovo, Hewlett Packard (Compaq), Apple, Sony, Toshiba, etc. You can also search at eBay for a replacement keyboard for a notebook computer. DO NOT buy a used one! Keyboards wear out. If you get a used keyboard, you're very likely going to have to replace it very soon.

Sometimes, all the keys are in place, but nothing appears when a key is depressed or the wrong character shows. This sort of damage often is due to a spill on the laptop keyboard. You probably need a new keyboard here, too. Unfortunately, the other possibility is that the motherboard is damaged. In this case, the most practical course of action is to replace the computer. Manufacturer warranties usually don't cover damage caused by liquids. If you tell the company rep that you spilled something on a computer, the repair won't be under warranty.

A stuck key can make both portable computers and desktops / towers seem crazy or possesed, exhibiting all sorts of bizarre behaviour. Gently tapping each key will often remedy the situation. If this doesn't work -- or if the problem returns -- then the keyboard must be replaced.

The price of a new keyboard is around $50. A shop might charge $50 to do the install, for a total of $100. You can do the job yourself, but you need to the correct tools and to be careful. Have the correct size Phillips screwdriver before you start. If you strip the screw, a small job becomes a big headache. Don't lose the tiny screws! It's not easy to get screws for a notebook computer. Also, do note how to remove the keyboard cable. If you break the connector at the motherboard, then for all practical purposes the laptop computer is ruined.


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