I got a phone call on a Saturday this month about a Microsoft Windows 10 laptop.  It wouldn’t allow my new client to log in to Windows 10 because the keyboard wouldn’t respond – yet the mouse wass responsive. They tried all kinds of things to get past this like restarting the laptop, shutting it down and removing the battery and the AC. Nothing worked and they dropped it off to me Sunday. 

I won’t bore you with the details of my troubleshooting procedure as I usually do. One thing I wanted to do was determine if it was hardware or the operating system. I ran the built-in diagnostics for the laptop and nothing failed the test and this meant the hard drive, memory, CPU were ok.  I tried two external keyboards and they didn’t work either.

Using my Linux boot DVD, I let the laptop boot into Linux and I found the keyboard was fine.  Now I could focus on Windows as the problem.  Perhaps a virus was the culprit and it disabled the keyboard so it could do what it wanted behind the scenes.  My anti-virus CDs were used to scan for malware and three infections were discovered and cleaned. I restarted the laptop but the keyboards still didn’t work in Windows. It was challenging trying to log in to Windows with no keyboard.

I discovered a way to log in to Windows using my clients PIN which is only 4 characters instead of their longer password.  I used the Accessibly options on-screen keyboard to enter the PIN. Eventually Windows started and I could troubleshoot from here.  Unfortunately, the keyboards were still dead. A Windows message appeared which said a recent Windows update disabled a piece of hardware. This was probably the culprit.  A Windows update must have disabled the keyboard. I tried disabling some of the updates without any luck. I decided that a system restore is the best approach if I could run it without a keyboard.  Using just the mouse, I browsed through file explorer to find the system restore program. It was ran and I got it back to the time before the keyboard disaster.  My client was happy to get their laptop in working order again and so was I.  This was one of the most challenging service calls I’ve had in a while.

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