4 Ways To Disable A Laptop Keyboard

If you’ve spilled your Mountain Dew on your new Lenovo laptop keyboard, you’re probably looking for a fix.

One thing you can do, if your computer isn’t actually fried, you can disable the laptop keyboard and consider using an external USB-powered keyboard to work with your laptop.

We’ve collected several possible ways to do that below- the first 4 are for your ordinary Windows computers. But we also compiled fixes for Macintosh, Ubuntu and Linux.

Scroll through and let us know how the fixes worked out! And remember to always perform a backup so you can undo any (disastrous) changes.

4 Ways To Disable Your Laptop Keyboard

First Solution

The first comes from Tom’s Guide.

One of their users advised the following process, which actually removes, instead of disabling, the laptop keyboard:

  1. Go to your laptop’s start menu
  2. Type “device manager” and press enter
  3. Click on device manager
  4. Locate the keyboard in Device Manager
  5. Click on the “+” sign to access a drop-down menu to disable keyboard driver
  6. A restart is usually required to make this permanent or uninstall it

How To Use The Device Manager In Windows

Second Solution

The best-voted solution in that same Tom’s Guide thread suggested installing a third-party device manager from CNET.

Some users had success installing a third-party device manager that allowed them to disable, rather than remove, their laptop keyboard driver.

It’s important that you create a restore save point on your Windows, Macintosh or Linux operating system so you can roll the changes back if you screw something up.

A restore disk for your PC is also advised.

If you’re having computer trouble, it could be worth trying out Advanced SystemCare (click to learn more). CNET describes it as a “Swiss Army Knife of a PC utility“. Once you download it, you get a suite of optimization tools, including an uninstaller, one-click registry fixes, defragmenters, and more.

Third Solution

Over at SuperUser.com, a user was wondering how he could disable a Windows 7 laptop keyboard, but not a third-party wireless keyboard.

The best-voted option comes from d3vid, who said that there was no “Disable” option available on his laptop. And whenever he tried to uninstall it, he was forced to restart, at which point the driver was reinstalled. His solution was to intentionally employ an incompatible driver.

The solution goes as follows:

  1. Open Device Manager
  2. Select “Update Driver”
  3. If/when prompted to “check online or use existing drivers”, select “existing drivers only”
  4. Display incompatible drivers (or de-select “Only use compatible drivers”)
  5. Choose one
  6. Restart
  7. Your laptop keyboard (and touchpad) should now be disabled

If you want to restore the keyboard:

  1. Select the compatible driver
  2. Restart

Fourth Solution

Over at Rick’s Daily Tips, a blog post details a verified solution for Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 users.

It follows the same basic format as the above solutions, with a caveat that if there is no Disable option available, the default laptop keyboard will be automatically detected and re-installed if the Device Manager scans for new hardware.

In that instance, you’ll have to repeat the removal process again.

Specialty Solutions

Macintosh Laptops

One solution for Mac users is to connect a mouse, keyboard and external monitor and then run it in closed-display mode.

Over in Apple.StackExchange, a user was wondering if it was possible to entirely disable a MacBook’s built-in keyboard. They wanted to make sure that no input is received from that keyboard when they connected an external keyboard.

A particularly technical solution was suggested that involved unloading AppleUSBTCKeyboard.kext to disable the keyboard.

Another user said that they employed a utility called Keyboard Cleaner that would disable the keyboard.

Ubuntu Laptops

Over in the Ubuntu forums, one 64 bit Ubuntu Lucid Lynx user who relies on an external USB keyboard, wanted to disable his laptop’s internal keyboard using software.

While it’s possible to just disconnect the internal keyboard’s wiring physically, he wanted to be able to easily reconnect it via software by merely executing a terminal command. One solution was to run a command at startup.

  1. This can be accomplished by adding the command at the end of the /home/user/.bashrc file.
  2. Forum users say you can also just add the command in System > Preferences > Startup Applications (this only works if you’re working with Ubuntu and not something like Kubuntu or Xubuntu, etc.)

Read the full thread for more detailed instructions.

Linux Laptops

Over in AskUbuntu, one techie accidentally fried his keyboard with a cup of water. He was looking for a way to disable his HP Pavilion dv9000, Linux laptop’s internal keyboard using xmodmap.

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The most upvoted response included some detailed coding- so make sure you reference the support thread for complete details.

In a nutshell, the AskUbuntu users suggested the following a fix using xinput to float the input device under X.

How to Disable or Turn off Laptop’s Built-in Keyboard

In this video, a tech blogger walks you through how to disable or turn off your laptop keyboard. Sometimes laptop keyboards, he says, malfunction for various reasons like liquid is spilled over or excessive moisture accumulation.

So this can permanently impair the factory keyboard- meaning you’ll want to set up an external keyboard.

The tech says that you’ll have to replace your built-in keyboard driver with another manufacturer’s driver software.

Summary

There you go- several strategies for your Windows, Mac, Linux & Ubuntu laptops. Let us know how it went!

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