A key fell off the keyboard. Fixing the problem.

posted in: Keyboard | 1,692

One or more keys fell off the laptop keyboard and you are not sure how to put them back? Don’t worry, most likely you can fix the keyboard and it’s not necessary to buy a new one. There is no universal repair guide because all keyboards are different. Here’s what I usually do in this case.

Situation 1. The key cap and key retainer fell off the keyboard and you cannot figure out how to assemble them back.

Laptop key fell off

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Carefully remove the cap from any other working key so the key retainer stays connected to the keyboard.

Remove key cap

Take a closer look at the key retainer, it’s connected to the keyboard at four different points.

Assemble the key

Assemble the disconnected retainer the same way as one on the keyboard and put it back in place.

Install the key

Put the key cap on the retainer and snap the cap back in place.

Snap key cap

Situation 2. The key fell off the keyboard and you lost the cap or the retainer. In this case you can purchase a single key on the internet, just search for it. (Search examples: “Dell keyboard key”, “Toshiba keyboard key”, “HP keyboard key”, etc… )
After you found a new key, put it back in place the same way as I described in the situation 1.

Installing the space bar key.

The space bar key is connected to the keyboard a little bit differently then any other key.

Space bar key fell off

There is a metal retainer connected to the space bar key (on some keyboard models). Separate the retainer from the space bar key with a flat head screwdriver.

Remove metal retainer

Install the retainer back in place as it shown on the picture. You have to engage the retainer with the small hooks on the keyboard.

Connect retainer to keyboard

Put the space bar key back in place and gently press on it with fingers until it snaps back in place.

Connect space bar

That’s it. The space bar key is installed back in place and should work as before.

Here’s another technique you can use to fix a broken keyboard key.

As you see on the picture below the keyboard is missing the U key. The key cap, retainer and even silicone membrane were lost. Let’s see if it’s possible to temporarily fix the U key without buying any spare parts.

Personally, I cannot use keyboard without U key but I can live without a key located on the side from the right ALT – the “Right clicker” key. In the following guide I will remove one key I never use and install it in the place of missing U.

Keyboard missing one key

Carefully remove the key cap with your fingers.

Remove key cap

Remove the retainer. The retainer has two pieces connected to each other. If one piece got disconnected from the other, connect them back together.

Remove key retainer

The silicon membrane is glued to the keyboard. Very very slowly separate the membrane from the keyboard with a sharp knife. While creating this disassembly guide I damaged one membrane because I wasn’t careful enough.
Again, you have to be very careful removing the membrane.
If you damage the membrane you’ll end up with two broken keys instead of just one.

Key membrane

The silicon membrane has been removed.

Key membrane removed

Now apply some superglue on the bottom edge of the membrane, just enough to keep the membrane in the place.

Apply super glue

Carefully place the membrane in the center of the U. Make sure the membrane is positioned correctly. Wait until the glue cures.

Install key membrane

Install the retainer.

Install key retainer

Position the key cap above the retainer. Gently press on the key cap until it clips in and connects to the retainer.

Position key cap

Now you can use the U key again.

Keyboard is fixed

Troubleshooting. Why the key will not clip on.


Turn the key upside down and take a closer look at the locking clips. It’s possible that one of the clips is damaged and because of that the key will not clip on the retainer. If that’s the case, you’ll have to purchase a new key.

On the next picture you can see that one of the clips is missing, it’s broken. This key will not stay connected to the retainer either. If that’s the case, you’ll have to purchase a new key.

It’s possible that the key is fine, but the retainer itself is broken. On the next picture you can see that one of the tips is missing on the retainer. The left tip is OK, but the right one is missing. If that’s the case, you’ll have to purchase a new retainer.

Here’s one more picture. In this case two parts of the retainer will not stay connected to each other. It happens because one of the tips is broken. The left tip is OK, but the right one is missing. If that’s the case, you’ll have to purchase a new retainer.

1,692 Responses

  1. Wonderful!

    I also had a dog use my laptop to jump off and get his ball. The down arrow key popped off my 1 mth old laptop. These instructions really helped a non-techie person fix the issue.

  2. Oh…. mate! The clasp on my “M” key is broken and it has been driving e crazy for a onth as I keep issing the M key…
    Your solution to replace it with another unused key is BRILLIANT mate!!!!

  3. thankyou

    Thank you so much. I now have an “I” key instead of a |\ key, which I think I’ve never used. – untill I get a new retaining clip. Thank you so much!

  4. Locksley

    An arrow key popped off my 7 month old laptop in the middle a dungeon. Thanks to your site I was able to fix it and go back to the game.
    Thank you

  5. this site is a godsend. I had some mystery liquid spilled due to a 3 yr old and I popped off the keys and the first one was the space bar. It cracked in half. I have to hit it dead center or it won’t work. Then some of the retainers cracked and the O won’t work unless I push it super hard. I am glad to see I can fix the membrane and get replacement retainers. I was looking at a huge relacement just for a keyboard. This just made my day!! thank you times 100!!!

  6. Adam Robinson


    Fixed a broken “R” button in under ten minutes !!

  7. Thank you so much for the great pictures and explanation!

  8. Toby Jones

    Thanks to your excellent guide, I now have a fully assembled keyboard! THANKS A BUNCH!

  9. Great guide, fixed my space bar:D thumbs up

  10. Robert Velasquez

    Wow, wonderful tutorial here.
    Took me a few minutes, because it was my SPACE key.. :| but with your help I conquered the challenge quite quickly..

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