How to Fix Arrow keys Not Working on Dell Laptop

If you own a Dell laptop you may find yourself struggling to fix the arrow keys when they stop working. This is a common problem that has some easy solutions. You have more than one option for how to fix them. 

There are a few steps you need to take in order to be able to fix those arrow keys . With more than one method for doing so, you’ll have to determine what works best for you. Trial and error is often the best way to decide. 

Some common reasons why your arrow keys stop working are most likely the culprit. Finding the solution is easy when you know those reasons. Read on to find out what they are.

Scroll Lock

If your Dell laptop arrow keys work for everything but Microsoft Excel, it is most likely because of the scroll lock. For read-only documents, it is common to set the arrow keys so that they don’t travel between spreadsheet cells. To fix this, you’ll need to make sure the scroll lock feature has been turned off. 

Software/Hardware Issues

Issues with the software and/or hardware commonly cause the arrow keys to stop working if you have Windows 10 installed. Driver problems are often the culprit. If you suspect this may be the case, try updating your drivers and rebooting the laptop. This may fix the problem for you. 

There is always the possibility your laptop may have crashed. This happens when it is asked to process more data than it can handle at once. As a result, the keyboard may stop working all together. A simple reboot should be enough to fix this.

Performing a reset of the BIOS will allow you to test to see if your arrow keys will work.  If you can scroll through the BIOS menu with the arrow keys, they work. If you can’t, your keyboard may be locked or there may be a pressing issue with Windows.

If after trying these methods, your arrow keys still won’t work, an external keyboard can be connected to your laptop. If the arrow keys on the external keyboard work, this indicates a problem with your laptop’s hardware. You can choose to have the keyboard on your laptop removed and reinstalled. If the problem is a loose or broken cable, reinstalling the keyboard should fix it.

Loose Keys

It is normal for a key to become loose after prolonged usage. The first step in repairing one is to make sure your Dell laptop is turned off. Sometimes it is dangerous to fix a loose key while the laptop is still on. The second step is to take the cap off the key that has come loose. By lightly wiggling the cap, you can usually get it off the keyboard. There is a retaining clip that holds the cap on and this clip needs to be removed gently. If you are having trouble removing the cap on your own, try using a flat head screwdriver. 

Each key has as many as four attachment points. These attachments can become broken. If you find one that is, the key needs to be replaced. Once you have the replacement key, you’ll need to take one of the attachment points and use it to affix the key to the keyboard. Pressing gently on top of the key will cause it to snap into place. 

Nonfunctional Keys

Sometimes a key isn’t loose, but it just doesn’t work any more. This could be simply because it is stuck or because the key itself got broken. With the laptop turned off, use your flat head screwdriver to loosen all four corners of the key. It is important to perform this task lightly, because applying too much force can lead to further breakage. 

When the stuck key is removed, determine if there are small objects or dirt present. If there are, all you need is a pair of tweezers to get the debris out. If what caused the key to stick was pet hair or just loose dust, using compressed air is the best way to clean it out. You can also use the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner, keeping it on the lowest setting. 

Any liquids spilled on your keyboard need to be cleaned up immediately. You should use a damp, lint-free cloth covered lightly with rubbing alcohol. Do not replace the key cap until the rubbing alcohol has dried completely.

You may find that the key was stuck because of the retaining clip. Check to see if the parts that make up the clip are hooked together. If they aren’t, you can twist each corner to remove the clip and replace it. If you have a key that you never use, you can always borrow the retaining clip from that one to fix whichever arrow key isn’t working. When one needs replacing, it can’t hurt to check the other arrow keys and see if they also need to be replaced. 

Another reason a key may be stuck or non-functional is because of the silicone rubber membrane below the key. The membrane should stand horizontally. By gently applying pressure to it, the membrane should pop up. If it doesn’t, a replacement is needed. Before putting the replacement membrane in, clean the area the same way you would clean liquid off of it.

Keys have a tendency to stick in place if you are gentle when tapping on your laptop. You can check this by activating your computer’s on-screen keyboard, which also has arrow keys. Click on one of the arrow keys on the on-screen keyboard. If it lights up, it means the arrow keys are working again. 

It is also possible to test your arrow keys by taking off the key cap and applying moderate pressure to the switch. If the key was previously stuck, this should effectively fix it.

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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