Laptop keyboards are among the most underrated aspects of portable computing devices. They have been highly optimized over time, but there are still several scenarios where you might want to disable them. Keyboards need frequent cleaning because dust and debris can quickly enter through the gaps around them. While it’s still active, cleaning your keyboard might accidentally open certain programs or perform specific functions, so disabling it before you do so is essential.
Keyboard disabling is also helpful if it’s starting to malfunction. A broken key or wiring issue might make your laptop keyboard unusable, in which case you’d need to deactivate and use an external one at least temporarily. Some users often require keys that might not be present on their laptop keyboard. For example, many laptop keyboards don’t have number pads, so if you want to use one of those, you’d need an external keyboard as well, and disabling your built-in keyboard helps you avoid unwanted keystrokes. Keyboard replacement is another area where knowing how to do this can come in handy.
Enabling or disabling your keyboard in Windows 10 is relatively simple. All you need to do is follow any of the three methods outlined below.
Method #1 – Device Manager
The easiest way to disable your keyboard in Windows 10 is through Device Manager. Here’s how you can do that:
- Tap the Windows Key and S. This will open the search bar.
- Enter “Device Manager” and click on the option that appears. Alternatively, you can open Device Manager through the Run dialog box. Press Windows+R to open that, and type devmgmt.msc. You can also open Device Manager from your Start Menu.
- Once opened, the Device Manager will show you a list of hardware. It’s arranged in alphabetical order, so scroll down until you see the Keyboard option. Click on it to open a dropdown list. This dropdown will probably only have one entry, namely Standard PS/2 Keyboard.
- Right click on Standard PS/2 Keyboard.
- Select “Disable Device” and click on Yes when you’re shown the confirmation prompt. This usually disables the keyboard immediately, but in some cases you might need to restart your computer. Once it’s finished booting, your keyboard will no longer be functional.
TIP: Some users might not see a “Disable Device” option when they right click on Standard PS/2 Keyboard. If that’s the case for you, try the second method.
Method #2 – Group Policy Editor
Some laptop manufacturers don’t give you the option to disable your laptop. You’d have to delete your driver to do so. The problem with that is that the Group Policy Editor makes your laptop automatically reinstall and update drivers every time it starts. Changing Group Policy Editor settings can stop that from happening.
- Open Device Manager and go to Keyboards like with the first method. You can try using Windows+X and selecting Device Manager from the dropdown menu if you prefer.
- If you can’t see a “Disable Device” option, click on “Properties”. Go to the Details tab in the newly opened window.
- There will be two sections in the Details tab. One is called “Property”, and the second is “Value”. Click on the dropdown menu and select “Hardware IDs”. Keep this window open in the background while you follow the next steps.
- Press Windows+R to open the Run dialog box. Type in gpedit.msc to open the Local Group Policy window.
- In the Local Group Policy window, there will be two dropdown menus. These are “Computer Configuration” and “User Configuration”. Click on “Computer Configuration”.
- Click on this sequence of options: Administrative Templates > System > Device Installation > Device Installation Restrictions.
- Once you’re in Device Installation Restrictions, you’ll notice a range of permissions and settings that you can modify. Right click on the one that says “Prevent installation of devices that match any of these device instance IDs”, then click on Edit.
- The current status should be “Not Configured”. Change it to “Enabled” by clicking on that option.
- Return to the Device Manager window and copy the text from the Values box. Be sure to copy the highest sequence on the list if you see multiple entries. This is your keyboard’s hardware ID.
- Past the hardware ID in the Value box in the policy editor. Click OK to confirm.
- Go back to the Device Manager and right click on your keyboard setting. Click on “Uninstall” and restart your computer.
Method #3 – The Last Resort
If all else fails, you can try installing the wrong driver for your keyboard. This might cause a fatal error, so you should only use it as a last resort.
- Go to Keyboards in Device manager as before. Click on “Update Driver” after clicking. Click on the second option, namely “Browse my computer for driver software”.
- While picking from the list of available drivers, uncheck the “Show Compatible Hardware” option.
- Select any manufacturer and model other than the one you own.
- Click Yes to confirm and restart your computer. If you want to reverse this, let your computer search automatically for the correct driver. Your keyboard should start working again once you do this.
Can I Enable My Keyboard After Disabling It?
Enabling your keyboard is as easy as disabling it. Follow the steps mentioned above in reverse to get the job done. If that doesn’t work, there might be an underlying issue. Most manufacturers give you easy keyboard enabling and disabling options in case a fault arises.
Why Is My Keyboard Not Working?
In the event your keyboard stops working despite you not disabling it, try to learn more about the issue. If some of the keys are working, you might be facing a hardware issue. Changing the faulty keys might help. If the whole keyboard isn’t working, check if your drivers are updated. Some laptops also have keyboard lock keys that you might have pressed by accident.
How Do I Get My Deleted Driver Back?
Deleting your keyboard driver is something that you should only do if you have exhausted all of your other options. However, don’t worry if you want to restart your keyboard after following through with these steps. Go to your manufacturer’s website to download the right drivers again. Remember to enable group policy editor if you turned that off.
We often take our keyboards for granted, which can be disastrous when they stop working. Using a laptop without understanding some of its fundamentals might make you waste time, later on, so you should know how keyboard enabling and disabling works in case you need it. You never know when your keyboard might start behaving erratically. It can get in the way of you doing your job quickly enough, something that is unacceptable in today’s frenetic work culture. Keyboard settings are easy enough to manage, and they can help you keep your workday running smoothly in the event of a malfunction.