Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets


Update:  If you’re having touchpad issues on your Surface touch or type cover, check out our new post on Troubleshooting Touch Pad Issues.

Update:  Please read this review for an affordable alternative keyboard.

While the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 tablets are great little devices, like any other computer, they will occasionally have issues. A common problem that seems to come up is difficulty with the Type Cover keyboards from Microsoft.

So, in this post, I’m going to go over how to (hopefully) avoid keyboard problems with Surface tablets and then fix them if they happen to you.

I’m not going to cover issues with Bluetooth or USB keyboards specifically, but a lot of these techniques could help you troubleshoot problems with them as well.

In this post, you’ll find the following help avoiding or fixing Keyboard Problems with Surface tablets:

  1. Avoiding Keyboard Problems
  2. Fixing Keyboard Problems
    1. The Basics: Detach and reattach, restart, two-button shut down
    2. Look for updates
    3. Check Ease of Access Functions
    4. Clean the Keyboard Connections
    5. Remove your Surface From its Case
  3. Run System File Checker and Check Disk
  4. Reset your Surface
  5. Testing your keyboard
  6. Microsoft’s suggestions
  7. Contact Microsoft for Service

OK, now that you know what to expect, let’s get started…

1. Avoiding Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets

For the most part, there are two things you can do to avoid keyboard issues with your Surface tablet.

  • Check for Issues Before Updates/Upgrades: Before you do allow your Surface to do a firmware or system update, take a look at the following websites to see if someone else is having problems with their keyboard after updating:

Keep in mind, there will ALWAYS be someone who had problems. The question you need to ask yourself is; “are a lot of people having problems after the upgrade?” If there are, look to see if there’s a response from Microsoft or a posted fix before going ahead with the upgrade. Otherwise, you might want to put it off for a while to see if a fix or another update is issued.

  • Be Careful with Your Keyboard Cover: This is not to say that you have to treat your touch or type cover with kid gloves. It is designed to be quite durable but, that doesn’t mean that you can be constantly bending it or stepping on it or running over it with your car.

2. Fixing Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets

So, you took my advice and checked before applying upgrades and you’ve been gentle on your keyboard but your touch or type keyboard isn’t working anymore. Or your keyboard started acting up out of the blue and there were no updates applied.

Now, what?

Well, I’ll go over the steps, in order, that you take to try to resolve keyboard problems with Surface tablets and the touch/type covers. I’ve had a good success rate with them and so far, have not had an instance where I haven’t been able to get the keyboard working again. Though I must admit, sometimes the issues will come back.

A. The Basics

Detach and Reattach your Keyboard: Simple and surprisingly effective. Sometimes, all you need to do is detach and reattach your keyboard cover. Make sure you leave it detached for at least, 10 seconds and I always do something to cause the on-screen keyboard to appear (like bring up IE and do a Google search) just to make sure the Surface recognizes that the keyboard is no longer attached.

Restart your Surface: I know it’s almost cliche to say it but, Windows 8.1/10 is like every other version of Windows since 3.1. It just needs to be kicked in the head sometimes to work properly. So, the first thing you should try is to restart your Surface. To do so, follow these instructions:

  • Make sure your keyboard cover is connected properly.
  • Swipe in from the right side of the screen to bring up the charms menu.
  • Tap on Settings.
  • Tap on Power.
  • Select Shut Down.
  • Wait 60 seconds and press the power button at the top of your Surface to turn it back on.

Two Button Shutdown: if you have a Surface 3 or Surface Pro 1/2/3 you can try a two-button shutdown. This is sometimes called a hard shutdown as it, essentially, pulls the plug on the Surface hardware.


  • Shutdown your Surface 3 or Surface Pro 1/2/3 as above
  • Press and hold the Volume Up and Power buttons for, at least, 15 seconds.
  • The screen may flash the Surface logo or other things but keep the buttons held for the 15 seconds.
  • When you release them, your Surface 3 or Surface Pro 1/2/3 should be powered off. Wait at least 10 seconds and then turn it on normally.

Hopefully, this fix will do the trick. If not, let’s try the next thing.

B. Look for Updates:

This might sound ironic considering the advice in the first section but assuming the problems didn’t start because of an update, one of the first things you should do is to check for updates from Microsoft. It is possible that there is a known problem and they have provided a fix.

Note: Microsoft says to always have your keyboard plugged in when running an update, otherwise it will not apply the keyboard updates.

To do so, follow these steps:

  • Bring up the Search and look for “Updates” (screenshots are from Windows 8.1 but, the same steps apply to Windows 10).

keyboard problems with surface

  • Choose Check for Updates from the options shown.

keyboard problems with surface

  • Tap the Check Now button.
  • If there are any updates, go ahead and install them.

After the updates install, you might want to do a restart (the normal kind, not the hard shutdown). If that fixes your problem then great! If not, let’s try the next thing.

C. Check the Ease of Access Functions:

Ironically, features designed to help people with disabilities may actually be causing or contributing to your keyboard problems with Surface tablets. It’s possible that a couple features dealing with the keyboard were accidentally turned on and that could be what’s causing your problems.

To check if that’s the case do the following:

  • Bring up the Search charm and look for “Ease of Access”.

keyboard problems with surface

  • Choose Ease of Access Keyboard Settings.
  • Under the Useful Keys section (at the bottom) make sure Sticky Keys and Filter Keys are both set to Off.

keyboard problems with surface

D. Clean the Keyboard Connections:

This one is often overlooked. Your keyboard connects to your Surface via a series of six brass colored contacts at the bottom of the tablet. Problems with surface

They will occasionally become tarnished or maybe even have dirt/food/dried coffee/etc. on them. This is normal as they often spend time shoved in a computer bag (when’s the last time you cleaned it out?) or on your desk where you might be eating or drinking.

You can clean them (both on the Surface and on the keyboard) by taking a pencil eraser and gently scrubbing the contacts until they are shiny again. Alternatively, you can use some rubbing alcohol and Q-tips to clean the contacts. Better yet, do both if you can.

IMPORTANT: Make sure your Surface is powered completely off and not plugged in when you’re cleaning your connections. Especially if you’re using the rubbing alcohol technique.

E. Remove your Surface from its Case:

If you have a protective sleeve or case for your Surface that still allows for the keyboard cover to be attached, remove it and see if the problem persists. It could be as simple as the case is interfering with a solid connection between the cover keyboard and the tablet.

Things to Look for:

  • Make sure your Surface fits snugly in the case. It could be that the Surface is simply slipping out of position preventing a good connection with the keyboard cover.
  • Loose connections between the keyboard and Surface because some piece of the case is in the way or being pinched.
  • Wear on the case that might result in flakes or loose threads getting into the keyboard connector on your Surface.
  • Check your case for Magnets. Some cases have a magnetic clasp or plate to hold the cover shut. These magnets can interfere with the magnets used to make the keyboard connection between the Surface and its type or touch cover.

3. System File Checker and Check Disk:

It’s possible that you have a corrupted driver or system file causing your keyboard problems. The good news is that it might be fixable. Just follow the steps we outlined in our post titled Issues with Surface Tablet? Try these fixes… and see if your problems go away.

4. Reset your Surface:

If you’re here, I have some bad news. We’re to the point that there’s a good possibility that something is corrupt in Windows that the System File Checker and Check Disk couldn’t fix.

This occasionally happens, especially if you’re adding and removing a lot of software. The way to deal with this is to do a reset or restore of your Surface tablet. I’ve provided links below to Microsoft‘s pages on how to do a reset or restore for both Surface RT/2 and Surface 3 or Pro 1/2/3 tablets.

I recommend you try a refresh first and a reset only if a refresh fails. Don’t forget to backup your data to OneDrive or a USB drive before doing the reset as the drive will be wiped as part of the procedure.

5. Test Your Keyboard:

Your keyboard could be the problem. Don’t forget, it’s flexible and not quite as rugged as your Surface. So it’s not out of the question that your keyboard simply broke.

The easiest way to test that it’s not your keyboard is to simply try it on another Surface. If you have a friend that has a Surface, see if he/she will allow you to swap keyboards for a while. If the problem moves with the keyboard, it’s probably the keyboard that’s at fault.

If you don’t have a friend to swap with, try disconnecting your keyboard and opening notepad – start typing something. Then reconnect your keyboard and see if the onscreen keyboard goes away. If it does, then your external keyboard is at least being recognized. If it doesn’t, well then there is a problem.

You can also, always take your keyboard into your local Microsoft Store (if you have one nearby) or Best Buy to try it out on one of their demo machines. It’s probably a good idea to let the sales people know what you’re doing so they don’t think you’re up to no good.

If your keyboard is bad, you’ll probably have to bite the bullet and buy a new keyboard as they’re not really designed to be serviced. Although complaining to Microsoft might get you a replacement.

6. Microsoft’s suggestions:

We’ve had reports from our readers of Microsoft suggesting weird stuff. For example, one person reported that Microsoft support had her detach and reattach her keyboard 10 times in a row. Reportedly that fixed her problem. Microsoft support also suggested she to do the following:

  • Go to your Desktop
  • Open Device Manager (in Control Panel)
  • Click Keyboards 
  • Press and hold on your keyboard item
  • Select Update Driver Software (Surface Touch Cover Filter Device) from the menu
  • Select Browse my computer for driver software
  • Select Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
  • If there are two versions presented, pick version 141 for Pro or 101 for RT to install. If there is only one version shown, pick and install it

7. Contact Microsoft for Service:

If you’ve made it to here then it’s possible that your Surface has suffered some sort of hardware fault. If that’s the case, hopefully, you’re still in the warranty period or you’ve bought an extended service plan. See our post on Getting Support for Your Surface.

You can register your Surface and check on the warranty status from the Microsoft Online Service Center page. Alternatively, you can stop by a Microsoft Store and talk to them about your service options.

Hopefully, this post helps you avoid and fix touch or type keyboard problems with your Surface tablet.

As usual, if you have questions, hop on over to our forum and let us know. Someone will get you an answer.

Popular Microsoft Surface Keyboards

Last update on 2018-08-13 at 18:22 / Affiliate links / Images / Prices / from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Help! I see you mentioned that keyboard problems could be the result of a software upgrade gone wrong, but I didn’t read the part about checking things out before I accepted the upgrade. In fact, I’ve always accepted them. I believe the latest one introduced a bug or configuration that is driving me crazy: my Home, End, PgUp, PgDn keys are no longer working. They work if I hold the Fn key at the same time, but this is Microsoft, so I don’t want to hold down multiple keys like I had to with my old Mac.

    I’ve checked the keyboard and the functionality swapping things with my wife’s Surface, and she seems to have the same problem. Previously, these keys were working correctly. Any suggestions or news about this?


    • Jerry,

      I haven’t heard anything exactly like you’re reporting. I think you’re right and the update went wrong. I know in December some of the updates were keyboard firmware updates (to support the new type keyboards) so, I’d imagine that’s what went bad for you.

      As far as fixing it, I’d try the following since it sounds like you already eliminated the keyboard hardware as the issue by swapping it out…

      – Attach your keyboard
      – Go to Control Panel/Device Manager
      – Find the Surface Touch/Type Cover Filter device
      – Click on it
      – Try rolling back the driver
      – If rollback isn’t an option, try updating it
      – If neither is an option, try uninstalling it then disconnecting the cover, restarting the device, and reconnecting the cover

      Hope this helps,

      • It could be that the fn key was toggled to have the keys work like the normal f keys.
        You can toggle the way the f keys work by pressing the Fn key and capslock at the same time. Try that and see if it fixes your problem.

        • I just jumped on here to post an update. My wife discovered the same thing, and it worked: hold Fn and Caps at the same time for a few seconds. The takeaway lesson is to keep the cats off the keyboard (good luck with that one). Thanks as always to everyone on here.

          • Jerry, I had the same exact problem this week. It was driving me crazy. When I touched the mute key it would send me to a microsoft web site! And the other top row keys did nothing. I don’t know how it happened, but after reading your fix just now I was able to get it back to normal. None of the other suggestions worked.

            Thank you.

          • Ahhh! I was having this exact problem and it was driving me crazy. Thank you so much for the fix! I was about to drive an hour down to the Microsoft store to have them replace my power cover — nothing else was working to fix this issue.

      • I just bought this surface but not familiar with the keyboard.
        Try to type @ on place top up no 2 same button. I press shift and press that button but @ not appear.
        Kindly advise

  • How about if your keyboard isn’t working but the backlight still comes on? If the light is coming on that must mean the keyboard is connecting to the tablet right? It just stopped working out of no where one day so I have no idea what happened to cause this.


    • Hi Madeline,
      Does the Surface recognize that the keyboard is plugged in? or does it still pop up with the onscreen keyboard. This is something from Microsoft they suggest with keyboard problems:
      “1. Go to your Desktop
      2. Right-swipe for Charms, select the gear for Settings
      3. Control Panel
      4. Device Manager
      5. Keyboards node
      6. Press and hold on the banged out item, select Update Driver Software (Surface Touch Cover Filter Device)
      7. Browse my computer for driver software
      8. Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
      9. If there are two versions presented, pick version 141 for Pro or 101 for RT to install. If there is only one version presented (typically without a version number listed), pick that one and install it.”


      • Hi Joanna,
        I guess the Surface isn’t recognizing that the keyboard is plugged in. I could find any of the updates you mentioned. I’ve also recently noticed that the volume buttons on the left side of the tablet aren’t working and the windows home button at the bottom center that brings you to the start screen isn’t working. I’m at a loss, what should I do next?

        • I contacted Microsoft and they told me to do something I thought was very strange. They said I should disconnect and reconnect the keyboard ten times. While I was doing it I thought it was ridiculous but It actually worked! Everything is working fine now. Strange but effective I guess 🙂


  • Hi Tim,
    No they didn’t give any explanation. I was surprised by the request and I’m sure he heard my shock since he just said that he was being serious and that it usually works.


  • my surface rt cannot recognize my surface type cover 2. there’s not even a backlight. i read all the suggestions and do it but still the surface cannot recognize the cover. one thing i noticed on the device manager when i click the keyboard, it only shows HID Keyboard device and no other version showing. if i go to update driver software and search or browse my computer, it will show that “the best driver software for your device is already installed” and windows has determined the driver software is up to date but still showing HID Keyboard Device. Can somebody assist me what is wrong? Thanks.

    • Hi Danny,
      I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you may have a defective type cover. When you plug in your cover, in Device Manager you should see both the HID keyboad device and the Surface Type Cover device. If you’re only seeing the HID keyboard than it means that it is not detecting the cover at all. Have you tried all the suggestions in our post? Have you taken it to Best Buy to see if the cover works with their display surfaces? I would definitely try that.
      Only other suggestion I would have for you is to uninstall the HID driver, power down your surface completely, attach the type cover and restart, go to device manager and reinstall keyboard driver. That seems to work for some folks.
      Good luck!

  • […] Clean hands mean a clean Surface – Avoid using your tablet, particularly the Type Cover when you have dirty or oily hands, or if you’re eating. The Type Cover picks up oil and grime from your fingers very easily. […]

  • I’m on my 2nd Type 2 keyboard. And it’s happening again. Every once in a while the keys will “stick” and I’ll get a string of the same letter that goes on forever. It’s not actually stuck down or anything. Randomly hitting the Esc or Delete or pulling up the on screen keyboard and hitting delete it the only way I can get it to stop. I checked the keyboard settings and everything is off. When I reboot it’s ok for awhile then it starts again. Quite frustrating. Will keep at it to see what can resolve.

    • Lezlig,

      I had a similar problem. That’s where I came up with the tip about cleaning the keyboard and Surface contacts with an eraser. Did you try that yet? Since it’s your 2nd keyboard, I’m wondering if the contacts on the Surface are tarnished a bit.

      Just a guess, hope it helps.

  • Hi there, I have tried all of the above things but my touch cover just won’t work, I know it is connected because the mouse pad and volume buttons work but nothing else, this is now my 2nd cover as this happened to the last one. They both only worked for less than 24 hours!!! Help, I have only had the surface for two weeks…

    • Larna,

      Without seeing your Surface, it’s difficult to say especially since you tried everything we listed. Do you have a Microsoft store nearby? Your best bet might be to have them take a look at it, you might have a bad Surface.

  • Hi everyone! My problem is that the volume buttons on my keyboard aren’t working? I have turned off the filter and sticky keys, yet when I press the volume up button, it finds words on the browser page. (Like when you do ctrl + f on normal laptops and computers) My side buttons are just fine, though I would like the get the keyboard ones functioning properly.

    • Monica,

      That’s a new one on me. What keyboard are you using? Also does it only happen if you’re in the browser and work normally otherwise?


    • That’s the same problem as the poster above, I believe, where you have to hold Caps Lock and FN down together for about 10 seconds to return the top row to their normal functions. There was an update a while back that allowed you to make the top row function as normal function keys (i.e., the F1 through F12 on a regular keyboard) by default. F3 is the function key that starts a find in Internet Explorer. You can confirm by pressing FN+Volume Up and see if it increases your volume. If it does, the default mode of your top row has been changed (probably by accident) and you can do the Caps Lock+FN trick to get it back how you want.

  • Hi I have a Surface Pro 2, I have updated it fully in Windows update and now find myself having a very annoying issue, that being that the touch keyboard will not pop up when I want to use the Search function in the charms bar… My type cover 2 works perfectly but if I have it folded back or even fully detached I am unable to use the search function as no keyboard pop up. When I press the touch keyboard sign in the taskbar it works fine it just doesn’t seem to work with the charms bar. In OneNote it works as well so I am very confused… Please help.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Seamus,
      I do not have this problem on my Surface 2. The onscreen keyboard comes up every time I search via the Charms menu. So, it must be a configuration problem on your device.
      I’ve seen other threads on this issue but haven’t come across any useful explanation on why this happens. I assume you’ve already double-checked your Services and verified that the Touch Keyboard and Handwriting service is set to automatic. Otherwise, you may want to contact Microsoft service to get help. I’d love to hear back from you, if you figure this out because others would benefit from an answer.
      Good luck!

      • Hi I had not done so but did check it now and it was on Automatic and then I also tried restarting it but didn’t help. It just doesn’t make sense as it automatically comes up in Chrome and OneNote as well as Mail,etc but just not in the search function…? Do you have a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2? As I know I got a firmware update a few weeks ago which I think is the cause of this problem…

        Many thanks
        Seamus Hennessy

        • Hi Seamus,
          We have all versions of the Surfaces: RT, 2, Pro, and Pro 2. None of them have this problem. If you’ve tried everything else in we suggested in the post, then I think you should contact Microsoft. There is probably some little setting that isn’t quite right and it’s causing this issues but you never know.
          Good luck!

          • Hi I really just don’t understand technology sometimes I was in the queue to speak to a Microsoft technician and then I tried it again and now it works no problems… I didn’t restart, or do anything but it just works now…? Thanks for you help, I really appreciate it.

  • […] Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets | LoveMySurfaceLoveMySurface Hope it helps… Reply With Quote […]

  • Hi, I have Surface Rt and surface type 2 as the keyboard. Im so frustrated in getting the keyboard done. So, I pressed the top button and volume up button at the same time. I saw the warning. Now my windows is off and wouldn’t turn on. Any siggestion how to fix this?

    • Hi Mustika,
      Sorry you’re having trouble. Does the Surface boot without the keyboard?
      Which buttons did you press exactly? Not sure what top button is, do you me up arrow?


    • Hmmm…..

      I would hold the power button for at least 30 seconds to see if it comes back on. If it doesn’t, try plugging it in overnight before trying again. If that doesnt do it, you might want to visit a Microsoft store or contact Microsoft support.

      Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this problem so, I don’t have a ready answr.


  • I also have been told by MS about “connecting it 10 times” trick and found that doing it just a few times has the same result. I am writing because, at the time I began to have problems with my surface failing to recognize my keyboard (which leads me to disconnect it every so often), my device manager began to act up . . . When I open device manager now, it continues to refresh every few seconds. It will not stop. I have called MS on this one and they are perplexed and want me to do an entire renew/refresh of the whole surface. Because I have so many programs installed, I would rather try anything I can to avoid a system refresh. Any ideas? No, nothing is plugged in, no devices, nothing on start up . . . help?

      • Thanks, Joanna. Tried the fixes listed there and still having the issue. I open Device Manager. Wait a few moments. Then it begins . . . the DM starts to refresh. It begins to blink and just constantly refreshes itself so that, if I were to need to do something where I needed to use it, it would not be possible. I have tried calling MS but they are suggesting a reset. I would prefer not to do so because of all of the reinstalls, new set-ups, and fixes I would have to do to get back to my current condition. If I must, I will but I am trying to avoid that or a new machine.

        I am also having recurrent keyboard issues with the power cover where it forgets it is connected but, for that one, I just disconnect and reconnect a few times and it remembers ;o))

          • Joanna, you are very kind to help. I’ll take a look. I was trying to avoid the reset / refresh options because I have quite a few additional programs loaded and setups that I would really prefer to avoid reloading and re-installing. The whole thing took forever to get just the way I want and I use it as my primary computer now ;o(. So, I’ll head to your links first! Thanks.

          • Laura,
            One other suggestion. You may want to create another user account on your Surface, log in as that user and see if the problem still exists. It is likely that it’s just your user account that has some corruption in it and the Surface itself doesn’t need a restore. It may be worth a try.


  • I thought I might share my own EXTREME experience with the Surface Pro (I have both the 1 and 2). I am now on my 3rd Type Keyboard (version 1), as they seem to be very sensitive to minor abuse, but fortunately are rather easy to resurrect if you’re patient. I drink a lot of coffee; thus, I SPILL a lot of coffee…and usually directly into my keyboard. In fact, it happened to me today for the 10th time; I am now using this coffee-scented keyboard to type this message. The keys are also sensitive to grit. I like to grab a beer or 6 and head to the local beach to make a bonfire. Since I’m always on my Surface, I pull it out whilst there, and sand invariably ends up under the keys. Between sticky, sweet coffee residue and granulated rocks, the keys eventually start complaining. You can easily pry the keys off with a jeweler’s screwdriver (from the bottom) to clear out impediments from keys; I suggest trying some compressed-air on ’em first though. So, for REALLY bad spills of goo-inducing sugary drinks, I recommend completely irrigating the keyboard with 90%+ rubbing alcohol. I mean really douse it…you’ll need to get that syrupy mess out of the delicate components. I’d tried standard electronics-cleaner, but it’s too volatile and ends up vaporizing away before really washing out the crap. Once you’ve thoroughly irrigated the keyboard, shake it out and let it finish drying. Depending on the water-percentage in the rubbing alcohol, you’ll need to wait ’til it evaporates. You could probably help it along with a hair-dryer ON LOW, but I wouldn’t…I had something similar happen to me with another laptop. I used a hairdryer on HIGH…got distracted on the phone…and ended up melting some keys…they came off like little curly potato-chips. Now, for one final issue to look out for when you gunk the keyboard up: the 5-electrical connectors. These are meant to be springy and one or more can easily get stuck down without being readily evident. Make sure that area is well irrigated with either rubbing alcohol or electronic cleaner.

  • I have a surface rt and use a type keyboard
    The letters zxcv and the enter button have stopped working.
    From time to tome they may work though :/ have tried everything. Resetting, cleaning etc.
    Can anyone help before I take it back too the store.??

    • Hi Jamie,
      If you’ve tried everything in this post, you likely have a bad keyboard. So, I’d suggest getting a replacement.
      Good luck!

  • Often find that my ALT key is stuck, even though it’s not physically stuck. If I’m typing and nothing is coming up on the screen, I press either ALT key, and it functions normally for a bit longer. Something programatically changes the keyboard behavior.

    • Happens to me, too, all the time (with alt, ctrl and shift keys . . . ). Honestly, I just tap (heavily ;o) the three keys until they unstick and move along. No idea what causes it but, of course, would prefer to know a better, long-term fix.

      • The better fix is:
        1) make sure the surface keyboard is attached to the computer
        2) to go to Device Manager > Human Interface Devices
        3) for every “USB Input Device”, go to Properties. then go to the Power Management tab and uncheck the “Allow computer to turn off this device…” option

  • Please help!
    I have a Surface RT that did not come with a keyboard. A friend of mine decided she did not want her keyboard, so she gave it me….
    After trying to install the keyboard to my Surface, it would not work. The mouse pad and volume keys worked on it, but nothing else…
    Can someone please help, I am getting very frustrated! Thanks so much!

  • hi all I have thins problem about my surface pro keyboard it won’t work under my main account on the surface but when I made a new account it works just fine.

    By the way I can use the keyboard when I login to my main account but as soon as I am in…I can’t seem to make it work. I can’t type with it neither the touchpad won’t work.

    So there is no problem with the keyboard since it works with the new account or with my surface. So I am thinking that this has something to do with my account

  • Hi Tim, I have a weird problem with my keyboard: it types without me. If I unplug it or close the surface, no problem, but when I leave it open and plugged it, I can hear the typing. It’s about 5 months old, and I bought both new and use very infrequently (maybe it just feels neglected). I’m afraid my keyboard is going to buy something online while I’m away :-/ Any suggestions?

    • Kimberly,

      Is it a touch keyboard cover or type keyboard cover? Also, does it type the same thing over and over or, does it type seemingly random things?


      • Hi Tim,
        It’s a touch cover, and I think it’s random because unless the cursor is in a text box, I can’t see the typing–I can only hear it. I need to leave it in an input mode to determine that…I usually leave it open on a blog or something that I’ve been reading.

        • OK,

          Did you try the eraser trick for cleaning the contacts? A bad connection might do what your describing.

          Something else to try would be to go to the Microsoft Store or Best Buy and try connecting a different keyboard to see if the problem follows. If you have a choice, try the Microsoft Store. There’s no gaurantee but, a lot of folks have had the Microsoft Store exchange defective parts.


          • Thanks Tim. I have tried the eraser to clean the contacts, but that doesn’t seem to help. I will take it to a Microsoft store though. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • OK. None of them worked to me, and I was about to face the re-installation or service.
    Then tried a last chance, one that made me be typing this message here (i.e. worked!!)

    1 – remove the type cover.
    2 – charm -> SEARCH -> type CONTROL PANEL, choose CONTROL PANEL
    3 in the control panel window, click HARDWARE & SOUND
    4 in this new window, click DEVICES and Printers
    5 select the device Surface Type Cover that is shown at the first block (Devices) and RIGHT click on it
    (long press, if you are without the mouse)
    6 select REMOVE DEVICE

    Ok.. the last pass is to wait some seconds, and reconnect the type cover. At that moment, WINDOWS will sstart to reinstall the driver for the device.

    In my case, it just came back to live like new.

  • Okay may seem like a strange one to call a problem but here it goes. I have the type cover 2.
    1. Backlight will fade out after non use like its supposed to.
    2. Here is issue…….Backlight will randomly come back on with no contact or near contact from me.
    Litterally i can be five feet away and notice the backlight come on and then fade back out as if i touched it.
    3. Is this normal?
    4. Is there some setting i am missing?


  • Can anyone help with a power cover keyboard for Surface Pro? Works great as a keyboard but will not charge completely (past 20%). What am I doing wrong? Love the idea of having an external battery to support poor battery life. Please help

    • Jay,

      Make sure you have all of the latest updates installed. There were one or two recently that were specifically to address battery cover issues and may help.

      Also, has the cover been damaged in any way? If you have a Microsoft Store nearby, you might want to stop in there and see if they can check your power cover against another Surface. Alternatively, if you know someone else with a Surface Pro/Pro2 or Surface 2, you could do the same thing.

      Hope this helps,

  • Hi all, new issue here with my power keyboard. When I am using the battery in my surface, and it drains to 0%, so one would assume it should switch to the 100% available through the power keyboard, my surface turns off! I get no warning (even though it is set to warn me). The whole unit simply goes dark. I can plug it in and restart (it starts from scratch and all of my programs are closed), and then can unplug and it begins to drain from the keyboard’s battery. But, evidently, it refuses to switch on its own . . . Any ideas as to why it won’t go find the supplemental power on its own?

  • […] did a post on Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets a while back but we were focused on the type and touch keyboards as a whole. However, lately, some […]

  • I have a Windows Surface RT Tablet and one day my tablet went wrong somewhere and the keyboard and start button at the bottom of the screen did not work at all! I had a look at your tips and advice and turns out i just had to take off the case. Looks like the case was in the way of the connectors and they weren’t being connected properly. Well that’s solved, thanks for the help! I am soooooo happy now! What a great website!

  • I have a surface pro, my ctrl button shift button and caps button get stuck, mostly ctrl. It interferes with my work progress and routine, and is driving me nuts. Sometimes i restart, which is irritating shutting down lots of programs, remembering which files to open again.
    Is it physically stuck or is it a program error? I use all three key buttons much, are they worn out? This was a problem almost from the start.
    I will not replace it if it is a common error, then I will rather switch to another computer.
    Want my money back though, this is too annoying.

  • I have a problem that I haven’t seen anywhere else yet. When I detach my cover from my surface (which sometimes happens by accident when I fold it back) the surface (pro 2) turns off! I lose anything I was working on and I have to manually power it back on and wait for it to boot before I can continue what I was doing. It’s very annoying and I was wondering if anyone has had a similar problem. I’ve only had the surface for a few months and have taken good care of it

    • Josh,

      Go into your power settings (the desktop version) and make sure the “Choose what closing the lid does” option is set to nothing. I’m wondering if it’s set to turn off the tablet and it’s mistaking a keyboard disconnect for a lid close.


      • Great idea! I checked and it was set to Sleep. However the tablet isn’t sleeping, it’s actually powering off. Also, I’ve done some testing and it doesn’t happen every time. Thanks for the help though, if you think of anything else please let me know.

        • Well, it was worth a shot. One more thought came to me; do you, by chance, have a power cover?

          If so, I’m wondering if there’s something wrong with the battery switching mechanism in your Surface and it’s failing to switch to internal battery if the power cover detaches.

          Just a shot in the proverbial dark.


  • Please help, I have a Surface Tablet and something is wrong with my keyboard. When I push certain buttons on the keyboard, other letters appear as well. For example my ‘O’ key when pushed, puts ‘yo’ same with the ‘Y’ key and the A E and D keys all make ‘ead’ when pushed.

    • Kenzie,

      First thinks first. Disconnect the keyboard and use the onscreen version to see if it does the same thing. It’s possible that your keyboard is having a problem and needs replaced but, it’s also possible that you accidentally set the default language to something weird.

      If the onscreen keyboard does the same thing, look at the keyboard layout button (bottom right side, it should look like a small keyboard with 3 letters on top of it) and make sure they keyboard layout is correct.

      Hope this helps,

    • I have an RT with Type cover been having the exact same issue. I get some multiple, random characters coming out with each keystroke. It will start randomly and sometimes continue for a while, where I cannot get it to stop. Other times it will stop just as suddenly, even mid-sentence.
      The characters that come out will be fairly consistent depending on the key – ex: a space will also have a / and perhaps another character with it, the s will have a – before it. Crazy, but clearly there is some manner to the madness.

      (sample: Nowk/ t.hi-s/ i-s/ gelGlitching again. It seems that there is a cross keyboard relat.ion-ship/ t.o/ t.hel/

      I worked with MS Support and they had me update/restart everything to the point of refreshing the whole tablet (pain!). They also asked me to check to see if the same thing happened with the on-screen keyboard or if it was just with the cover keyboard – it was just the cover.

      I asked fairly early on if it was not just a hardware issue (since it was so random starting and stopping, as if a connection was physically getting crossed) and they kept troubleshooting for software and driver issues.

      Finally, they have now suggested replacing the keyboard. :\
      So if you see this happening, I am guessing it is a keyboard failure. (sorry!)


  • Question – very often when I am typing my screen resolution jumps to larger and smaller. Also, whole emails will delete and/or indent automatically. Sometimes I am able to hit the undo button to get it back to normal, but more often than not, I have to start over again with my email. It doesn’t just happen in email, it does happen in all programs. I feel like I must be hitting something on the keyboard as I am typing, but haven’t figured out what I am touching to cause the problem.

    • I’m guessing It’s the touchpad sensitivity. I’ve had this issue too. Just make sure the keyboard is attached and bring up the Search charm.

      Look for “mouse and touchpad” and bring it up (it should take you to PC and devices under settings).

      At the bottom of the configuration screen, it should say “To help the prevent the cursor from accidentally moving while you type; change the delay before the touchpad turns on”

      Set it to “Long delay” and your problem should get better.

      If you don’t like the touchpad at all, you can just turn it off from this screen as well.

      Hope this helps,

  • I am playing a game (Minecraft) and it uses WASD for movement. Something in the keyboard, Surface, Windows, Java, Minecraft continues repeating the key after I release it. In order to stop the auto-repeat, I have to press the key again (whichever one is stuck, commonly W, S or CTRL).

    Surface Pro 2, Type keyboard.
    Bluetooth mouse

    Touchpad is set to disable when a mouse is present. This helps typing, immensely, since my thumbs land on the touchpad all the time.

    I have tried to repeat the problem, but this is the only program where it happens. Minecraft is the only WASD movement game I have installed.

    • I’ve also seen this with Borderlands, the Pre-Sequel.

      Try this…

      – Make sure your keyboard cover attached
      – Open Device Manager
      – Drill down the Human Interface Devices tree until you find “Microsoft Input Configuration Device”
      – Right-click on “Microsoft Input Configuration Device” and select Disable.
      – Disconnect and reconnect your type or touch cover.

      See if that fixes it.


  • Haven’t tested it in depth yet, but it seems to work. However, it brings back the old touchpad issue. I had touchpad set to ‘disabled’ when a mouse is detected in the Win 8.1 PC Settings section. It is still set that way, however the touchpad is now working again after the Microsoft Input Configuration Device is disabled. The mouse still works, and the PC settings sees it and thinks the touchpad is disabled. It is not. I am willing to go into device manager and disable the entire touchpad, however I do not know how to tell which USB input device it is…

  • Update. Through trial and error I found it. One of the HID compliant mouse devices. With it disabled, I can use the keyboard, mouse, touch screen and pen.

    Why even have a touchpad when the you have a touch screen?

    • Hi Scott,

      Thanks for the tip, I’m glad it worked out. I think the touchpad was added for the folks that like to use a mouse/keyboard setup. It sort of puts it all in one but for those that don’t like the touchpad it can be a pain.


  • hi all, I have a surface pro 3 and its working fine. the only problem I have is that the backlight of the keyboard is not coming on. all the keys are working but the backlight is still not working. I have cleaned the terminals, refreshed the keyboard from the device manager interface, shut down and restart several times but not has worked. this is making it difficult for me to use in the dark. any suggestion will be immensely appreciated. thanks

    • Let’s start simple. Try hitting control and the F2 key repeatedly key to turn up the brigtness. It might just be that the lights are turned off.

      If that doesn’t work, you might have a bad led in the keyboard. If that’s the case, Microsoft will *probably* replace it for you if you visit a MS Store or contact support.

      A way to test it is to go to a MS store/Best Buy/etc… where you can see a working display model. Take your surface with you and try swapping (temporarily) the keyboards to see if the problem moves. If it does, it’s the keyboard.

      Hope this helps,

  • Olaniyl,

    The simplest explanation is that there’s something wrong with the backlight. Do you happen to be near a retail store that sells Surface tablets?

    If you are, I’d suggest taking your cover in there and trying it against one of the display machines. If you can also try their (verified working) cover on your machine as well it would be best.

    If the problem moves, your cover is bad. If the problem stays (i.e. your cover works on their machine) your Surface probably has a weird issue that will require getting Microsoft Support involved.

    Hope this helps,

  • Hi Guys
    Great to find this site with lots of tips for SP users. Just had an issue over the weekend and really needing your help, my daughter was drinking Sprite and accidentally spilled it on my SP 3 inside my bag so the keyboard is fine but the liquid somehow went inside the screen, I was able to see bubbles under the touchscreen. I shut the SP down and managed to use gravity to let the liquid come off gradually, after that I put it under the sun heat to get it dry but as you would imagine under the touch screen there is still traces and all sort of shapes created by the liquid moving underneath the screen.
    Here goes the question, any chance to clean this up, what can I do?
    Appreciate very much your help.

  • Hi, I don’t know if I am having keyboard problems or not. The type cover keyboard seems to work perfectly when attached but it also disables the touch screen when attached. Is that normal? Thanks

    • Sheryl,

      Do you mean one of the keys? You should only have one connector for your Surface cover keyboard and it’s magnetic, not springy.


      • No..the little connector prongs that connect when the magnets attach. One was stuck in. I ended up trying to dig it out so it would pop up with the other ones and finally threw it out. Frustrating thing is I bought it off a used site the day before. Worked one flippin’ day.

        • OK,

          I know what you mean now….

          I’m sorry you had that problem. Whomever sold it to you probably spilled something sticky on the cover (probably soda).

          For what it’s worth, It *might* have been salvageable if you used some isopropyl alcohol on the connector it might have cleaned it out.

          That said, it could have also been physically damaged instead and the alcohol wouldn’t have helped in that case.


  • Hi all! I have a surface RT and surface type cover 2, the keyboard connects and the mouse and backlights on the cover work but I can’t use the keyboard to type.
    I’ve tried the trouble shooting suggested and no luck!

    • Sian,

      Did it ever work or is this a new keyboard cover? If it is a new cover, did it replace an original type cover?


  • Never knew about the 2 button shutdown – that fixed my keyboard problem and also my miniport issue on my docking station – Thank you

    • Pls help.
      My type cover Pro3 now can not use trackpad (mouse) after update yesterday. Typing still working as nomal. Extend mouse also working.
      I tried most of guide except reset and can not fix problem.
      Anyone got same problem and have any experience to fix it

      • Dear all,
        Happy to sharing touch pad issue fixed on my pro 3 type cover issue.
        Problem: Dec. 2014 type cover work good with both typing and mouse.
        after update, type cover got problem. Typing is ok but touch pad (mouse) not work. Extend mouse work ok.
        Date got problem: 5 Jan. 2015.
        How I fixed problem:
        1. Open search box. Find device manager.
        2. Open Human Interface Devices
        3. Right click on Surface type cover firmware update.
        4. Choose Update Driver Software
        5. Choose Browse my computer …
        6. Choose Let me pick …
        7. Unchecked on Show compatible hardware check box
        8. Find Microsoft on Manufacturer column.
        9. Choose Surface type cover 2 firmware update.
        10. Next.
        11. Restart.

        Note: check touch pad is on from Mouse and touch pad setting in PC and devices setting.

        Hope can help whose got same problem with me for this case.

        • Thakn youThuyLX! That was the perfect fix for me. My mouse was the only issue causing my screen to black out and then on and off if i hovered anywhere near the mouse. Your step by step instructions above were perfect. Thanks again!

  • Hi Guys,
    One of the button on my type cover has fell off. Can you tell me how to re-attach that?
    I have tried to push it back but it didn’t work.


    • Usro,

      It should go back on, just make sure you align the metal clip first into the grooves otherwise you might have problems.

      Hope this helps,

  • Whats the best way to clean Surface Pro 3 keypad? I spilt coffee on it and now some of the keys are sticking and not working. HELP!!!!

    • Isopropyl alcohol. You should be able to carefully remove the keys (make sure you don’t mess up the little metal tabs) and clean it out with q-tips or cotton balls.

      Make sure they keyboard is disconnected when you do it.

      You’ll want to make sure you let everything dry out before reattaching the keyboard.

      Also, be aware that it could mess your keyboard up worse so be careful and proceed at your own risk.

      Hope this helps and good luck,

  • I have a surface (original version) and I decided that I finally should get a type cover, so I have bought it, got it home and only the touch pad and function keys are working, the actual letter/number keys are not. I have tried, shitting down, checking for updates etc…..any suggestions as the store is 40 minutes away

    • Sorry for the delay Sharon, Been trying to get a car registered in a different place and it’s been time-consuming.

      Anyway, if this is still an issue, you might have a bad keyboard. Before schlepping to the Microsoft Store, try going to a nearby Walmart, Costco, or Best Buy and see if your keyboard works with their display unit.

      If it does, then you might have a issue with your Surface and will need to go to the MS Store anyway.


  • I have a 3 week old surface pro 3 that when its charging either on Dock or power cord, the keyboard will just stop working, I check in devices & its not showing, I take power out & 30 secs – 1 min later the keyboard is recognised, reconnect power & it happens again but there is no set time frame

  • I have a major problem with my keyboard, everytime it type certain keys like a it appears with other letters it shouldnt have, a appears with qa caps lock produces a B and delete makes a 7

    • Check your language settings and keyboard layout settings. It sounds like they might have gotten changed.

  • I have just bought a SP3, and am just wondering if the connectors for my keyboard will start to wear out with being connected and disconnected often?

    • We haven’t had any problems with it and we have some pretty old keyboard covers.

      However, we have had issues where the material along the edges will start to separate. So far, nothing has caused a keyboard to break though.

  • I have the same problem. Keys pad doesn’t work! It drives me nuts! To fix it, I turned off the Sticky Key and Filter Key.

    Thank you so much for the tips!

  • I was setting up a brand new laptop for a user with brand new keyboard cover when i had the problem where it did not pick up the keypad at all!! After trying the disk check and multiple updates there was no joy. Then i tried a solution from Microsoft article (

    Solution 4: Two-button shutdown
    Use this two-button shutdown process to ensure that your Surface is turned off completely. Here’s how:

    Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo > Power >Shut down. After your Surface turns off, press and hold the volume-up button and the power button at the same time for at least 15 seconds, then release both. The screen may flash the Surface logo, but continue holding the buttons down for at least 15 seconds.
    Step 2: After you release the buttons, wait 10 seconds
    Step 3: Press and release the power button to turn your Surface back on

    AND somehow this worked. have done multiple restarts and all good!!

    All the best!

  • Ok — I went through everything that you mentioned, in order, diligently. Not until I got desperate and tried the “detaching it 10 times in a row” did the keyboard finally bounce back. Hmm…how about that?!

  • I wish I could take mine to these ff idiots who say hold speaker volume and power and it will fix it, what a load of KAKA! idiots

  • Rubbing an eraser against the keyboard contacts did the trick for me. Cleaning it with Isopropyl alcohol and Q-tips before hand didn’t work by itself. But doing both maybe was the key. Thanks.

  • hey, I tried the Microsoft Suggestions (through device manager) and two versions are presented: HID keyboard device and HID-compliant device. which should I try? Just dont want to mess it up mpre. thanks

  • just to share my experience – since end of February I couldn´t work with the keyboard, as soon as I put it onto my surface the screen got black. Through various tests and information from the net I came to the conclusion that there is something switches the screen off. eventually I deleted an Adobe Flash Player update from the time when it first happened and that did the trick.

  • surface pro 2/ about 2.5 years old. the sound stopped working and one fix said connect/disconnect cover 5x. that fixed the sound issue. but now i camt connect the cover. its like its not magnetitized.
    any ideas?

  • Tim!

    You are awesome!!! I tried everything I could find or think of!! The only thing that helped was the chkdsk and scannow. I did it twice and it worked. So, Thank you!!!! Thank you!!! Tim! (deep sigh of relief) 🙂


  • Totally agree. The Surface cover keyboard is a total piece of crap. I like the Surface, but the keyboard is a major problem. It is very slow. If you are doing a lot of Word processing the keyboard speed lags way behind what you are typing and you are sitting there waiting for it to catch up. Particularly true with any cut and paste operation. The keyboard layout is also terrible. Only one control key on the left side. A totally unusable mouse pad, which means you must tie up your single USB port with an external mouse dongle.
    The keyboard is also very fragile. I bought my Surface in April. By June, the number 6 key had cracked and fallen off. I have finally given up and bought new Surface keyboard. It is basically a standard PC keyboard, battery powered, and can pair with the Surface using blue tooth. It is completely overpriced, but solves all the problems listed above. It is lightweight, although it does compromise the portability of the Surface. I am now only using the cover keyboard as just that: A cover for the surface. My two cents.

  • My Surface pro 3 keyboard was not working at all, I tried everything from restarting to hard shutdown as suggested but did not go all the way to reset/refresh as I was relunctant to do it. I read all your post above Tim and and as a last resort and to check whether it was the keyboard or not which was the problem I detached the keyboard opened up Notepad and typed something with the onscreen keyboard. I finally re-attached the keyboard and althought it took 2 seconds to disappear the onscreen keyboard went and the keyboard started working again.
    Thank you so much Tim for spending the time to write it all, when ever this was.

  • Hi team,

    I have surface Pro 3 with type cover.
    No type cover operation or recognition at all, type cover works on other surfaces but other type covers do not work on my surface.
    Have carried out all restarts including factory reboot but still no operation.
    Type cover not showing on any drivers.

    HELP PLEASE, I love the machine but sick of the issues. Same thing happened in warranty and microsoft replaced surface but its out of warranty now.


Leave a Comment