Keyboard and mouse failures are not uncommon, especially with regular use. If your keyboard or mouse has stopped working on your Windows 10 PC, here are some steps you can take to resolve the issue.
Check your hardware
It goes without saying that you should check your hardware thoroughly before doing anything else.
Start by carefully checking all your device connections. If your keyboard or mouse is connected properly, try switching them to another USB port. If you’re on a laptop, make sure you haven’t accidentally disabled your keyboard or mouse using the function keys at the top.
If you have a wireless keyboard or mouse, check that the batteries have enough charge to function properly. Switch to a wired alternative to verify that the problem is not with the hardware itself.
Finally, test your keyboard or mouse on a different PC, or try an alternative keyboard or mouse. In any case, if your keyboard or mouse works (or the alternatives work instead), then you can assume that the problem is with your PC.
Check Windows for Malware
Malicious software can sometimes prevent you from using your keyboard or mouse in Windows 10. A malicious software infection that disables these devices will affect your ability to use your PC.
If that’s the case, you’ll need to force Windows to search for malware. You can use your own antivirus software to do this, using an antivirus boot disk or a bootable scan to do the verification.
You can schedule a boot scan with Windows Defender. This will scan your drives and remove any malware it detects. You may need to start Windows Safe Mode to do this first if the infection is preventing you from controlling your PC.
RELATED: How to boot into safe mode in Windows 10 or 8 (the easy way)
To get started, access the Windows settings menu by right-clicking the Windows Start menu button and clicking the “Settings” button.
From here, click Update & Security> Windows Security> Virus & Threat Protection.
Tap “Scan Options” under the middle “Quick Scan” button.
In the “Scan Options” menu, select the “Windows Defender Offline Scan” option.
Click “Scan Now” to begin the process.
Windows will restart and the deep scan of your PC will begin. This process may take some time to complete. Once this is done, any malware infection detected on your PC should be removed automatically.
You can check your scan history later by clicking “Protection history” in the “Virus and threat protection” menu.
Forcibly reinstall your keyboard and mouse drivers
Windows automatically handles the drivers for your keyboard and mouse, but forcing Windows to reinstall these drivers can sometimes resolve any issues that are preventing them from working properly.
To reinstall the keyboard and mouse drivers, right-click the Windows Start menu button and select the “Device Manager” option.
Windows Device Manager lists all the devices connected to your PC, both internal and external. Your keyboard will appear in the “Keyboards” category, while your mouse will appear in the “Mice and other pointing devices” category.
To force Windows to reinstall the drivers for these devices, click the arrow next to each of these categories to expand them. Right click on your device and then click on the “Uninstall device” option.
It’s probably best to do this with the keyboard first and the mouse second, as you will lose access to the device until you reboot.
Confirm that you want to uninstall the device by clicking the “Uninstall” button in the pop-up confirmation dialog.
As we mentioned, once the installation process begins, these devices will likely stop working until you reboot.
Press the power button to begin the shutdown or restart process. Once restarted, your keyboard and mouse drivers should automatically reinstall.
In an emergency, use Windows accessibility options
If you can’t immediately resolve a problem with your keyboard or mouse, you can switch to using Windows’ built-in accessibility options. These will work only if you have a working mouse or working keyboard at your disposal.
With a working keyboard but a broken mouse, you can switch to MouseKeys. This accessibility feature allows you to move the mouse cursor using the number keys on your keyboard.
To enable it, go to Windows settings by right-clicking on the Start menu and then clicking “Settings.” From here, click Accessibility> Mouse and then click the slider to the “On” position to enable MouseKeys.
You can now use the number keys to move the cursor. For example, the number “8” will move the mouse cursor up, the “2” will move it down, and so on.
Enabling the on-screen keyboard
Another useful accessibility feature in Windows 10 is the on-screen keyboard. If your keyboard is working, but you have access to a mouse (or your screen is touch), you can use this feature as a short-term solution.
RELATED: How to use the on-screen keyboard in Windows 7, 8, and 10
For easy access to the on-screen keyboard, right-click on the Windows taskbar and click “Show Touch Keyboard Button.”
This will display an icon in the notification area of the taskbar that you can press to easily show or hide the on-screen keyboard.
With this option enabled, clicking on it will bring up the on-screen keyboard to fill the lower half of the screen.
It will be easier to use on touchscreen devices, but if you have a working mouse, just click each key to make it respond like your typical keyboard would.
To close the keyboard, click the “X” button in the upper right.