Common computer issues can be a funny thing. Sometimes, no matter what you try, there never seems to be a solution. In the end, the problem often turns out to be either something elementary you overlooked or something more complex you never considered.
Then, there’s always the trusty ol’ reboot, which works almost every time. Having network errors? Try a restart. Is your computer locking up for seemingly no reason? Reset. Did the audio cut out randomly? You get it, reboot.
When it comes to certain peripherals, though, the fix isn’t always so cut and dried. Bluetooth and similar wireless keyboards, for example, may incur issues of their own which prevent them from syncing with a computer properly.
Most people who cannot find a solution independently will either contact or visit a tech support business to enlist help. However, doing so is almost always a waste of time and money, at least when it comes to Bluetooth and wireless keyboards. Why?
Because just like with a computer, the keyboard issue is generally either straightforward — which you can fix through regular troubleshooting — or more complicated, which a tech support crew wouldn’t be able to help with anyway.
For instance, have you ever had your keys stick or stop working entirely? The fix may be as basic as replacing them instead of buying a whole new keyboard.
If your wireless keyboard has stopped working, you may be able to fix it yourself and avoid paying costly repair or service fees. Here are some things you can do to try and remedy the problem.
Check the power supply
Being wireless, most Bluetooth and similar keyboards require batteries, which gradually lose their charge. You’d expect the keyboard to turn off entirely with low batteries, but that’s not always the case. Low energy supply can do weird things to electronics. LED indicators might come on, for example, but the rest of the device might fail to work.
Always start with the power supply. Check to ensure the batteries are seated or installed correctly in their compartment. If they are, try installing a new set of batteries in case the old ones are close to drained. It’s always best to use lithium-ion batteries for electronics, especially those that have a higher power draw, as wireless keyboards do.
Check the USB receiver
In an ideal world, all computers would come with built-in Bluetooth or wireless connectivity. A majority of laptops, tablets, and Chromebooks do, but desktops usually do not. That’s why wireless peripherals always come bundled with something called a dongle, or receiver. You plug the dongle into a USB port of the computer, which allows the wireless keyboard and computer to communicate with one another.
The receiver can also cause problems during operation. If the USB port it’s plugged into is malfunctioning, for instance, the data won’t transmit correctly. Other devices can also cause interference, such as appliances, electronics, and even other Bluetooth units.
First, try resyncing your keyboard with the wireless receiver. Mainly, this involves connecting the two components just like you did the first time you paired the keyboard with your computer. This process differs depending on the make and model of the receiver, but usually, there’s a connect button that puts it into discovery mode.
Test with another computer
If your keyboard has power, and the receiver seems to be working correctly, it may be necessary to test the setup with another compatible computer. Doing so will tell you whether it’s the keyboard causing the problem, or something else — such as a software driver issue.
If you can successfully get the keyboard working with another machine, you have a problem with your original computer. If you cannot, it’s time to either return the keyboard and get a replacement or seek professional help for repairs.
Update or Change Software Drivers
Windows users need to install software components called drivers that allow the device to interface and communicate properly. Most plug-and-play devices like a keyboard take care of driver installation automatically, which is why you may not be familiar with the process.
Sometimes, however, the operating system will choose the wrong driver that ends up being incompatible with your device. Using the wrong driver can cause a whole host of issues, including the keyboard seemingly not working at all.
If you think the driver may be the problem, the best solution is to download the necessary information from the manufacturer’s website. If you have a Razer keyboard, for example, head to Razer’s support site for the correct software package.
Contacting Support Crews as a Last Resort
You can guarantee that when you contact a tech support team or crew, they are either going to walk you through these exact steps, or they will do it themselves. Your problem may be more severe, but if there’s any chance it isn’t, you should follow these instructions first. It would be a waste to pay for added support — which can be costly — if the problem is just that you need new batteries, or something similar.
Don’t let the simplicity of these tips fool you, because when dealing with technology, the simple solutions are often the best.
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