Windows 8 Troubleshooting: Keyboards

I have various problems when using the keys on my keyboard.

Some of keys do not work when I press them

  • Try cleaning your keyboard. For information about cleaning your keyboard, see How do I clean my device?
  • Install the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center software. Some keys require this software.
  • If a key requires software, install it. Some key commands require that you have a specific program installed, such as a supported e-mail program, Web browser, media player, instant messenger program, or graphics editing program.
  • Hot Keys may not function as expected if a modifier key (such as SHIFT, CONTROL, ALT, or WINDOWS) is pressed at the same time.

Tip
If you do not have the appropriate supported program installed, you can still use the key by reassigning it.

When I type certain keys on my wireless keyboard, double characters appear on the screen

If you have two wireless receivers connected to your computer, and you type a single key on your wireless keyboard, double characters may appear on your screen. For example, when you type a single "a," you may see "aa" on your screen. If you have been using an older Microsoft keyboard with a wireless receiver, and have purchased a new one, disconnect the old receiver.

When I hold down some keys, they repeat until I release them

Some keys are designed to repeat when pressed and held down. On some keyboard models, these keys only repeat when the keyboard is connected to the computer using a universal serial bus (USB) plug. The following keys may be designed to repeat: Back, Forward, Next, Prev Track, Next Track, Volume-, Volume+, Zoom-, and Zoom+.

Where are the regular function keys? (F1-F12)

  • These keys are on the top row of the keyboard. On some keyboard models, these keys are touch-sensitive.
  • If your keyboard has an F Lock key, press it to toggle between Function key modes.
  • Alternate function keys have two possible commands depending on if the function lock (F Lock) key is turned on or off. Depending on your keyboard model, the light (F) indicating that the F Lock key is turned on is located either on the keyboard or on the wireless receiver. If the key command is printed on the front of the key (such as F5) instead of on top of the key (such as OPEN), then F Lock must be on for the key command to work.

Scroll Lock, Break, Insert or Alternate function keys (Help, Undo, Redo, New, Open, Close, Reply, Fwd, Send, Spell, Save, Print) do not work when I press them

  • If your keyboard has an F Lock key, press it to toggle between Function key modes.
  • Alternate function keys have two possible commands depending on if the function lock (F Lock) key is turned on or off. Depending on your keyboard model, the light (F) indicating that the F Lock key is turned on is located either on the keyboard or on the wireless receiver. If the key command is printed on the front of the key (such as F5) instead of on top of the key (such as OPEN), then F Lock must be on for the key command to work.
  • If your keyboard has an Fn key, press and hold Fn while pressing the key to access the alternate commands.

The Print Screen key does not work

  • The Print Screen key copies an image of the screen to the clipboard (not the printer). To use the image, start an application that uses graphics, such as Microsoft Paint, and use the Paste function.
  • If your keyboard has an F Lock key, press it to toggle between Function key modes. On some keyboards, the Print Screen key only works if F Lock is on.

The Windows Media Center key does not work

The Windows Media Center key only works with Windows Media Center. It cannot be reassigned.

The Gadgets key does not open the Windows Sidebar

  • The Gadgets key opens the Windows Sidebar only in Windows Vista. It can be reassigned.
  • In some versions or themes of Windows 7, pressing the Gadgets key displays the gadgets on your desktop. Holding down the Gadgets key makes all open windows transparent so that you can see the gadgets on the desktop. In other versions or themes, either pressing or holding the Gadgets key displays the desktop.

I cannot assign My Favorites keys by pressing and holding the key

  • Hidden extensions in Windows Explorer may interfere with the process of assigning a file or Web page to My Favorites keys. For information about turning off hidden file name extensions, see Windows Help.
  • On some keyboards, My Favorites keys are alternate keys. To use these keys, press and hold the Fn key while pressing the My Favorites key.

I cannot put my computer to sleep using the Sleep key

The Sleep key puts the computer into power management mode (such as standby, suspend, or hibernation) only if the computer supports power management and has it enabled. If power management is not enabled, this key will not work. It cannot be reassigned.

For information about Windows power management settings, see Windows Help.

I cannot wake up my computer after pressing the Sleep key

Typically, you can resume operation by trying one of the following:

  • Press the Sleep key.
  • Press a standard key on the keyboard.
  • Move the mouse.
  • Quickly press the power button on the computer.

If you cannot resume computer operation from any of these methods, you may have encountered a system problem. For more information about how your computer resumes operation, see the documentation that came with your computer or contact the computer manufacturer.

If you are using a Bluetooth® keyboard, the wireless transceiver might not receive key commands during hibernation. You may be able to resume from hibernation by pressing the power button on the computer.

For information about Windows power management settings, see Windows Help.

I installed a new Web browser, but pressing the Home key does not start it

The Home key is automatically assigned to the default Internet browser on your computer, if this browser is supported. Most browsers let you make them the default browser during installation.

If the browser you installed is supported by the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center software and it does not start when you press the Home key, try the following:

  • Press the Home key once and wait a few minutes. Then, press it again. When you install a new browser, the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center software may need a few minutes to recognize it.
  • Restart the computer, and then press the Home key.
  • You may have to manually reassign the Home key to the browser you installed.
    (On the Basic settings page, click Home, and then select Open a program, webpage, or file, and type the path to a program, Web page, or file. Click Back to save the change.)
  • For some e-mail programs, you may have to update your settings so your e-mail password is saved. For more information, see your e-mail program documentation.

I installed a new media player, but pressing the Media key does not start it

The Media key is automatically assigned to the default media player on your computer, if the media player is supported. Most media players let you make them the default media player during installation.

The Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center software automatically assigns the Media key to the default media player on your computer, if this media player is supported.

If the media player you installed is supported by the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center software and it does not start when you press the Media key, try the following:

  • Press the Media key once and wait a few minutes. Then, press it again. When you install a new media player, the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center software may need a few minutes to recognize it.
  • Restart the computer, and then press the Media key.
  • You may have to manually reassign the Media key to the media player you installed.
    (On the Basic settings page, click Media, and then select Open a program, webpage, or file, and type the path to a program, Web page, or file. Click Back to save the change.)

When I press the Display key on my portable computer it causes zooming

On some portable computers, pressing the Display key may cause zooming instead. When this happens, press Ctrl and the minus key (-) to zoom out. You can also disable zooming in the Keyboard Properties dialog box.

My Favorites Hot Keys do not assign a file or Web page correctly when held down

Hidden extensions in Windows Explorer may interfere with assigning a file or Web page to My Favorites Hot Keys. For information about turning off hidden file name extensions, see Windows Help.

When I press the PhotoCenter Edit key, it does not open my picture

The PhotoCenter Edit key cannot be used to open a picture in Microsoft Digital Image Standard 2006 if the picture is stored on the desktop. To open a picture in Microsoft Digital Image Standard 2006, first move the file to a folder on your computer, such as My Pictures, and then press the PhotoCenter Edit key.

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