Keyboard and Typing Problems

Fixing Issues on a Laptop and Desktop

Having Trouble Typing the Essay?
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There's nothing like typing away on a paper, only to find that you're not actually typing what you thought you were typing! There are several problems you can encounter with a keyboard that can drive you nuts, especially if you're on a deadline. Don't panic! The solution is probably painless.

Common Typing Problems and Solutions

Some letters won’t type: Sometimes a tiny piece of debris can get stuck under a few of your keys. If you find that a certain letter won’t type, you may be able to fix the problem by using a compressed air duster and gently blowing off your keys.

My buttons are sticking: Keyboards get very dirty sometimes, especially if you have a tendency to snack and type. You can clean a keyboard yourself (laptop or desktop), but it may be safer to have it cleaned by a professional.

Numbers won’t type: There is a "numbers lock" button near your keypad that turns the pad on and off. If your numbers won’t type, you’ve probably pressed this button by mistake.

My letters are typing numbers! It can be scary to type words and see nothing but numbers appearing! This is probably an easy fix, but the solution is different for every type of laptop. The problem is you have "numlock" turned on, so you need to turn it off. This is sometimes done by pressing the FN key and the NUMLOCK key at the same time.

Typing over my letters: If you are editing a document and are surprised to find that you are suddenly typing over words instead of inserting between words, you have accidentally pressed the "Insert" button. Just press it again. That key is an either/or function, so depressing it once causes it to insert text, and pressing it again causes it to replace text.

My cursor is jumping: This is one of the most frustrating problems of all, and it seems to be related to using a laptop with Vista or Windows XP. One possible solution is adjusting your touchpad settings. Secondly, you could "disable tapping during input." To find this option with XP, go to:

  • Control panel
  • Mouse
  • Advanced
  • Advanced feature settings
  • Tapping and feature settings
  • Tapping settings
  • Disable tapping

If this doesn’t work, you can try installing Touchfreeze, a utility developed to disable your touchpad while you are typing text.

A bunch of text disappears mysteriously: If you accidentally highlight a block of text and type any letter, you replace all the selected when you type. This can happen in an instant, often without even noticing it. If you find that a lot of your text has disappeared, try hitting the "undo" function several times to see if your text reappears. If not, you can always hit redo to get back to where you started.

Keyboard keys aren't functioning: This isn't a common issue, but when it happens, either some or all keys stop working or certain features of the keyboard such as backlighting may stop working. This can result from a low battery, so try plugging the computer in. It can also result form liquid in the keyboard, causing the keys to short out. Use compressed air between the keys and let the keyboard sit to dry for a while. Try using it again after it has dried completely.