How to Test a Computer Keyboard: Easy to Follow Guide!

Getting a new keyboard, or finding an old one, is always exciting. But before we can get down to business. Be it the business of business or the business of gaming, we need to make sure the tools at our disposal are working as they should. This is especially important with a new keyboard, as if it isn’t working properly you will likely need to send it back for a replacement or a refund.

You might be wondering how to test a computer keyboard. Luckily for you, It is actually pretty simple. However, most of us have never tested a keyboard before. Why would we? We just assume they work most of the time. If they don’t, we chuck them out. This article is going to cover everything you need to know about testing keyboards. Why we do it, what to look for, common solutions, and of course how to test the keyboard itself.

How to test a computer keyboard
How to test a computer keyboard

Testing your keyboard

Testing your keyboard is not very difficult, thankfully. But first, you need to differentiate between the two major areas of testing. Mechanical, and electronic. If the keyboard keys work, but the computer doesn’t register the keystrokes, then that implies an electronic problem. If the key doesn’t work, well that’s a mechanical problem. Neither are great, both are easily solvable.


We will look at mechanical testing first as that’s the easiest. This can be done with the keyboard unplugged from the computer. Making sure every key depresses properly and doesn’t stick is the first step, if the keyboard has kickstands make sure they work and aren’t damaged in any way. They are very prone to breaking.


Next, we want to look at the electrical side of things. Plug the keyboard in. Now, some keyboards have lights on them, to display certain information. Like whether or not Caps lock is on for example. If your keyboard does have these lights, make sure they work when the corresponding keys are pressed. Now, here’s how to check if the keyboard works as normal:

how to test a computer keyboard

  1. First, click start or windows (depending on your operating system).
  2. Once on the main menu, find the control panel. This can also be found by searching for the control panel in the search bar on your taskbar.
  3. The control panel has tons of helpful features, but we are looking for the system tab.
  4. The system tab will open the system menu, which is where you will find devices. Now, any device connected to your computer SHOULD show up here. If you don’t see your keyboard on there, that’s your first clue that it doesn’t work quite as it should.
  5. When you find your keyboard, you want to right-click it and scan for hardware changes. This will do a quick diagnostics check of your keyboard and report any problems. You will get a prompt warning you that it has found an error, or that it is fine. It should only take a few minutes.

Why do we need to test our keyboards?

Testing your keyboard is the only way to know for sure that it works. Or that it should be working. We have no other way of knowing whether or not your keyboard should be working. You see, sometimes you will be able to tell that your keyboard doesn’t work. You try to type, but half the letters never register. Running a diagnostics as mentioned above can help you figure out whether or not the problem is mechanical or not.

If the diagnostics tell you the keyboard is fine when it isn’t, its time to send it back to the manufacturer for repairs or a refund. If you have only just purchased the keyboard, doing these tests is important to ensure you can get repairs done or a replacement for free. Warranty for a keyboard can be anything from the moment it opened to several years after the fact. Always test a new keyboard, even if you haven’t had any problems before.

Common problems with keyboards

Some keyboards suffer from connection issues. This is often a problem with the wiring itself. USB wires are quite sturdy, compared to say our phone chargers. But they aren’t indestructible. If the cable gets frayed it might not work very reliably. Hardware problems can be a little more difficult to pinpoint.

If keys stick, don’t depress at all, or simply don’t register it can be hard to find the exact reasoning. If you arent confident making adjustments yourself, then its a good idea to take your keyboard into the shop.

The most common problem in my experience is bent pins in the USB port. Both the female and male sections of the port can be at fault here. Sometimes, the problem with your keyboard might have nothing to do with the keyboard at all. It’s simply the female USB that doesn’t quite work. Because its damaged, or perhaps because it is full of dust and dirt. Just like how sometimes we need to clean our phones charger port or it won’t charge properly.

Quick fixes for keyboards that don’t work

The best quick fix for a keyboard that isn’t working is actually doing the diagnostics themself. Sometimes, you may be able to fix the keyboard simply by running this test. If not, you might want to give restarting your PC a try. Sometimes that’s all it takes. “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” is a common IT joke. But it works.

You may also want to consider cleaning your keyboard. For two reasons. First, dirty keyboards can make them less responsive. Secondly, if there is an obvious mechanical problem you will notice it when you take the keyboard apart. There are a few great articles on this site to help you clean your keyboard. Click the hyper link and it will take you right to one of them.

Lastly, you may also want to run a scan for any virus or malware on your PC. Sometimes these viruses try to disrupt you as much as possible by blocking keyboard input.


So, now you know everything you could need about how to test that your keyboard is working properly. It truly isn’t that complicated, you will have no trouble at all.

If you really can’t get to the bottom of why your keyboard isn’t working, it’s a good idea to take it into a computer store or speak to the manufacturer directly. Online forums are also a great source of help for very niche problems. Reddit in particular. They have a very useful mechanical keyboard-based community that would be more than happy to help.

Good luck with your new keyboard!

Recent Content