How do I fix a broken laptop key or put it back on?

Note: This document is meant as a general reference and may not apply to your laptop. If you're trying to remove or put a key back on a desktop keyboard see the desktop keyboard steps.

Notice: Before removing any of the keyboard keys make sure the computer is turned off or at the very least locked so nothing is mistakenly typed that causes other problems.

Laptop keycap, key pad, and key retainerA laptop keyboard is designed differently than a traditional desktop keyboard. Unlike a desktop keyboard each of the keys on a laptop keyboard will often have three components: the keycap, key pad, and the key retainer as shown in the picture.

The keycap is the actual key that has two slots in the top of the key and two clips in the bottom or middle of the key. Each of these is what hold the key in place and is what helps the key from falling off the keyboard.

Fixing a loose keycap

If the keycap is loose but still attached to the laptop computer it can often be fixed by pressing down on the keycap. If it's able to re-attach you should hear a snap while pressing the key down. If this does not fix the issue we suggest removing the key so it can be re-attached.

Fixing a broken keycap

Note: If a key, keycap, key pad, or retainer is physically broken or missing you will need a replacement.

If you're just having difficulty putting the key back onto the laptop follow the steps below. If you're trying to put the spacebar key back on skip to spacebar steps.

1. Start first by inserting the key retainer into the laptop. If you have a key pad like that shown in the above picture we suggest putting it in after the retainer is in place to make things easier. Once the pad is inserted it should lie flat and be able to bend like shown in the picture below.

Laptop keyboard key retainer

Tip: If you're not sure what direction the laptop key retainer goes remove one of the other keys that surrounds it and examine how the retainer is positioned and copy it for the key you're fixing.

2. Insert the pad into the retainer.

3. Once the above two steps have been completed position the key over the retainer in the proper orientation and press down on the key. The key should snap onto the retainer and work. If the key does not look right try pressing down on all corners of the key to make sure all clips are snapped into place.

Spacebar key steps

Unlike the other keys on the keyboard the spacebar requires some additional steps in order to get it back on properly. Below is a picture of the spacebar removed from a laptop. As can be seen the bottom of the spacebar has a small bar. Before the spacebar keycap can be placed back onto the laptop this bar must be removed. To remove the bar insert your flathead screwdriver or knife under the bar and pull it off.

Laptop spacebar key

Once this bar has been removed place it on the laptop, which should have slots that hold the bar in place. Finally, once the bar is in place position the spacebar over the retainers and push down to snap it back into place.

Additional information