Instructables
Picture of Fix a keyboard key
I found a great keyboard in our junk pile, a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard. It has a comfy layout, but there was just one problem. The N key wasn't too responsive. You had to really bang on it to get it to register.

Naturally, this wasn't going to work for regular typing, but the fix for it was easy. Here's how to do it.



Step 1: Pop out the key

Picture of Pop out the key
Use a flathead screwdriver to get the key out. Just get the tip of the screwdriver under the key and push down on the other side. With a bit of leverage, the key will pop right out.

Step 2: Get a piece of a straw

Picture of Get a piece of a straw
Cut off a little more than an inch of a clean plastic straw.

Step 3: Fold and insert

Picture of Fold and insert
key5.jpg
Fold the straw in half lengthwise and insert it into the bottom of the key. It should now be sticking out quite a bit.

Step 4: Trim to fit

Picture of Trim to fit
key7.jpg
Cut off the straw so that a few millimeters are sticking out. You now have an enhanced key that sticks out more and will be better at engaging the button inside the keyboard.

Step 5: Put key back in the keyboard

Picture of Put key back in the keyboard
On most keyboards, this is just a matter of placing the key in the right place and pushing down. You'll know when you get it right.

Test out the button and see if it's responsive now. If it's working, but it feels a little stiff, then pop the key back out, trim a tiny bit more of the straw off, and put it back in.

Done!

 
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lj.sy210 days ago

my keybo9ard i8s bro9ken so9me keys seem to9 be bro9ken.. every ti8me I* type letters u,i,o numbers co9me o9u7t

lj.sy2 lj.sy210 days ago

I* spi8ll my mi8lk, that mi8ght be the cau7se.

sovereignpath2 months ago

I have the same keyboard. The C key died and no amount of prodding with a screwdriver or a straw could get it working again. It's a shame that I will have to write off the entire keyboard for one malfunctioning key, but I don't know what else to do.

Stck936 months ago

Thanks! I saved a keyboard!

devinnov289 months ago
Thank you
rosswald1 year ago
I wouldn't recommend using the flathead screwdriver, but instead use some plastic tool. Or wrap duct tape around the screwdriver tip, because you could damage edges of the keys. Now I had 3 of those, It's a great keyboard while it lasts... The first one died within its warranty so it was replaced. On the second one I had C and Enter keys stopped working just couple of days ago, but strangely it's not mechanical, even pressing directly on the foil yields no reaction (that's how I got to this instructable btw).
In order to remove the top cover, you need to remove around 30 screws (!). It can be disassembled completely just takes patience.
And I recommend full cleaning of the keyboard (with removing all the keycaps and washing them) every six months at least. It's a tedious job but when you see the junk below the keys, it's worth it. And that junk can't be removed by vacuum cleaner.
Win Guy3 years ago
Thanks, fungusamungus, for showing how to remove a key from the board! I'm making the "SteamPunk Keyboard" and this helps tremendously!
Win Guy
Screamo4 years ago
My dad has that same keyboard
cturnr4 years ago
 i have this SAME keyboard and the I key SUX!!!!! half the time it does not think i press it. and the I key is not like the Q key, you use it all the time. 

thanks for this, I am going to try it when i get home
cturnr cturnr4 years ago
 THANK YOU!!! the I key works 100% better now!

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii i i i i i (i could do this all day now!) 
I will do it for you iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
fungus amungus (author)  cturnr4 years ago
Awesome!
zchampine4 years ago
 I'm using that exact keyboard right now lol
Golem1004 years ago
Great solution & instructable.

I have three of these keyboards and all but one of them work great.  The one with the problem is the one I spilled coffee on and cleaned.  All went well until I tried it out after reassembling it.  The d@#n space bar almost has to be hit with a hammer to get it to work.  I tried everything I could think of with no good results.  I'll see if this trick will work for it.


Keyboards just get gross over time.  The PC term is "organic."

I replace mine every 15 years or so, whether they need it or not ;<)

Of course, the computers and monitors have been replaced 3-4 times in between, so I simply hoard the keyboards and mice (mouses?)  that come with them, by crickey. 

Then I stick chewing gum on the underside of the "N" key and sell 'em at garage sales.

Seriously, a new keyboard is cheaper than a pizza, and a friend probably has spares.  Recycling works,  you feel good about it, and you've put time to better uses.

LkArio4 years ago
This damn keyboard...
Some of the keys died (Enter, some of the F# keys), they just stopped working. I tried to open it, removed ALL the screws, but there is something near the spacebar that doesn't let me open it. I removed the silicon things (bad idea), and well, I won't be able to do anything until I open it. It's about 5 years old, so the warranty wasn't an option.
lol  thank you for the tip. got the same keyboard from a yard sale for 5 bucks. same key sticking.was getting aggravated with it ,but 5 minute fix (took a few minutes to find a straw lol) and working like a charm  .nnnnnnnnnnnnn rofl thank you
fungus amungus (author)  carbonbiskit4 years ago
Glad to hear it! It must be an issue since that key is the biggest letter key on the keyboard.
racastro624 years ago
I got a keyboard with the problem exactly in the same key! But it's the German langauge version. Just luck?
ths4 years ago
just call microsoft and tell them that there is key that doesnt work anymore, they will ask you to do some other step to try it (like trying on another pc, or another usb port) tell them you did it, if you still under the 3 years warranty they will send you a brand new one for free without asking you to return the old one ;p
fungus amungus (author)  ths4 years ago
So you'd rather call up Microsoft, spend half an hour on the phone, follow their steps for testing, print up a shipping label, ship it out, and wait for a week or so to get a new keyboard?

This fix takes about 2 minutes, including gathering up materials. I don't want a brand new keyboard, I just want to type right away.
Lol id fix it and get the Keyboard
getbusy214 years ago
I like the video!
tim_n4 years ago

I've always had trouble with that Fn key... maybe I'll replace it with something else...

 

Sorry.  I'll get my coat.

=SMART=4 years ago
wonder why it was in the pile
Lindie4 years ago
I can do that!  Nice and  easy!