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. Additionally, if you're trying to remove or put a key back on a desktop keyboard, see the desktop keyboard steps.

Fixing a loose keycap

Laptop keycap, key pad, and key retainerUnlike those on a desktop, each of the keys on a laptop keyboard have three components: the keycap, key pad, and the key retainer as shown in the picture.

If the keycap is loose but still attached to the laptop, it can often be fixed by pressing down on the keycap. If the keycap re-attaches, 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. The re-attachment process is shown below.

Fixing a broken keycap

Note: If a key, keycap, key pad, or retainer is physically broken or missing, it must be replaced.

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

1. Start by first inserting the key pad into the laptop. If you have a key pad like the one shown in picture at the top of the page, we suggest putting installing it after the retainer is set in place to make things easier. Once the pad is inserted, it should lie flat and be able to bend (shown in the image below).

Laptop keyboard key retainer

Tip: If you're not sure what direction the laptop key retainer goes, check the orientation of the metal hooks on the base of the keyboard; they will dictate the orientation of plastic components laid into them.

2. Insert the pad into the retainer.

3. Once the above two steps have been completed, position the key cap over the retainer in the proper orientation and press down lightly. 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 additional steps in order to get it back on properly. The image below shows the spacebar removed from a laptop. Before the spacebar keycap can be placed back onto the laptop, there is a bar (shown below) must be removed by inserting your flathead screwdriver beneath it and gently pulling upward.

Laptop spacebar key

Once this bar has been removed, place the new spacebar on the laptop, being mindful that it is properly oriented over the retainers, and push down to snap it back into place.

Additional information