Replace Keys on Your Laptop With These Simple Steps

April 23, 2015 • Devin Partida


Many of us spend hours each day pounding the keys on our laptop, typing away as we do work, surf the Web and compose emails. As with any object prone to wear and tear, it’s hardly surprising that many actively used laptop keyboards begin to suffer after extended use. That doesn’t mean you can’t replace keys yourself, however.

Perhaps the most common issue with a laptop keyboard are loose or fallen-off keys. Whether it’s just one key or many, don’t worry. A self-fix is quite productive, saving you the time and money of bringing it to someone else. Let’s get started:

If Your Laptop Key Cap and Key Retainer Both Fell Off

A key cap is the actual key, with the lettering/number/symbol on it. The key retainer is the white fixture underneath it, attached to the keyboard at four different points. Don’t worry, you can still replace keys.

If these both fell off, turn your laptop completely off and remove the cap from another nearby working key to examine how your keyboard’s keyboard retainer is connected, whether it’s at four corners or sides. Then, assemble your disconnected key retainer in identical form to how the functioning key retainer alongside it looks. Once this is complete, just snap the key cap back on the retainer and into place.

If Your Laptop Key Cap Fell Off, but You Lost the Key Retainer

If you lost your key retainer, don’t worry. You won’t be able to fix the key immediately, but there are plenty of sources where you can purchase the correct key retainer for cheap. Simply Google ‘”keyboard key” + “your laptop name”‘ to view available options. Once the replacement arrives, use the aforementioned strategy, fitting the key retainer into place in identical form to a functioning key on the keyboard.

replace laptop keys

If You Lost Both and Don’t Want to Order New Parts

If you don’t want to wait for a new laptop key to arrive – or simply want to keep the keyboard operable until it arrives if, for instance, the A or U key fell off – a productive tip is to detach a less-used key that’s the same shape and use it instead. For example, many laptop keyboards have very infrequently used keys – like a second Alt key or function key – that can be used temporarily as the cap/retainer for another key. At the very least you can still type as usual until the new key cap/retainer arrives.

If a key’s silicon membrane is broken or removed, you can carefully use a knife to extract it and then use the other key’s silicon membrane as a replacement. Superglue the bottom edge of the membrane and carefully place it in the broken key’s center, before the retainer and cap are installed.

If Your Spacebar Fell Off

The spacebar key is different than any other key beyond its appearance. Instead of a plastic key retainer, the space bar key is connected by a metal retainer, which you must separate from the space bar key with a flathead screwdriver. It’s rather unlikely that a spacebar key will fall off on its own or break considering its more durable construction, but if it stops operating then remove the retainer, investigate and then install it back into place by pressing it with your fingers until it snaps back in.

These methods may vary depending on your laptop model, but keyboard repair is uniform for the most part and can be done at home by anyone. This is a lot more productive and cost-savvy than bringing it to a repair shop.

Didn’t think you could replace keys before? Now you can.