How to connect and install a computer keyboard

Today, almost all wired keyboards use USB as the interface to the computer. Older computers may use PS/2 as an interface to the computer. If your keyboard is wireless it can be communicating over Bluetooth, radio frequency (RF), or infrared (IR).

Below are the steps on how to connect each of these types of computer keyboards.

USB keyboard
Wireless keyboard
PS/2 keyboard

USB cable and portConnecting a USB keyboard

Tip: When connecting a USB keyboard the computer can be off or on during the installation.

Connect the USB keyboard to the USB ports on the back or front of your computer. If you are using a USB hub, it can also be connect to the hub although we recommend a direct connection to the back of the computer.

If you have a laptop computer, an external keyboard can also be connected to one of the USB ports. If no USB ports are available a USB hub would be needed.

After the keyboard has been connected it should be automatically detected and installed. If the keyboard has any special features you need to install the keyboard software and drivers.

Wireless keyboard

All wireless keyboards have a receiver that is plugged into the computer (typically using USB), and the keyboard connects to that receiver wirelessly. Connect this receiver either into the back or front of your computer. Once connected make sure your wireless keyboard has batteries or is charged and is turned on.

Tip:To communicate wirelessly with the computer your mouse must have a good signal between the computer and the mouse. Make sure your mouse has a good line of sight to the receiver. If you do not have a receiver with an extension cable that can be moved try moving the USB receiver from the back to the front of the computer.

After the keyboard has been connected it should be automatically detected and installed. If the keyboard has any special features you need to install the keyboard software and drivers.

Connecting a PS/2 Keyboard

Note: The computer needs to be off when connecting or disconnecting a PS/2 keyboard.

  1. Connect the keyboard to the PS/2 port on the back of the computer.
  2. When looking at the back of the computer you'll notice two PS/2 ports next to each other. Verify you're connecting the keyboard to the purple connection as shown in the picture below. If your PS/2 ports are not color coded the keyboard will be the connection closest to the left edge of the computer (when looking at it from the back). If the connections are vertical and not horizontal as shown below the keyboard connection may be either depending on the case and motherboard. Look for a small symbol next to the port to identify what one is the keyboard.

Tip: If you are confused what PS/2 cable is what when under your desk, the PS/2 cable is often thicker than the PS/2 mouse cable.

PS/2 port diagram Pictures of computer green and purple PS/2 ports.

Install software and drivers

If your keyboard has special features like a touchpad, special buttons, or wireless functionality, model-specific drivers need to be installed for them to work properly. Install them from the disc provided with the keyboard, or download them from the support section of the manufacturer's website.

Troubleshooting

Additional information