Fix a laptop's sticky, broken keys

A laptop with a rotten keyboard is not necessarily destined for the scrap heap

As we learned last week, it's fairly easy to fix a noisy overheated laptop: Open an underside panel, (carefully) blow out the dust, then enjoy the praise your wife lavishes on you for fixing her system.

I'm expecting similar praise from my cousin, who just presented me with her Dell Inspiron 9400 laptop. It wasn't noisy or overheating, but it was missing its F5 key. And the keys that remained weren't in very good shape. Many were sticky, while others failed to register presses. A lot of the letters had worn off the keys, too.

Fortunately, a laptop with a rotten keyboard is not necessarily destined for the scrap heap (nor even Craigslist). In fact, if you're handy enough with a screwdriver to know which end drives screws, you can probably replace the entire keyboard in about five minutes.

In the case of the Inspiron, my search began and ended on eBay. A quick search for Inspiron 9400 keyboard revealed plenty of options, including a brand-new replacement for all of $12. Shipped.

Then I Googled Inspiron 9400 replace keyboard and found how-to instructions in a matter of seconds. (See, you may think I'm a soopah-genius, which I am, but many times it's just a matter of knowing how to find the information you need.)

Turns out it's crazy-easy to swap in a new keyboard: Just pry up the Inspiron's bezel, remove a pair of screws, and unplug the old keyboard. Put the new one in its place, close up the machine, and presto, you're done.

Your mileage may vary, of course, depending on your laptop model. But if you're suffering with an old, cruddy, gunked-up keyboard, it may cost you as little as $12 and five minutes to replace it. Pretty worthwhile investment, no?

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags notebooks

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?