How to disable a keyboard on a laptop

Written by michael hintz
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Sometimes, laptop keys go bad. There can be nothing more frustrating than having a key that is damaged so that it repeats itself, or a liquid spill that renders a portion of the keyboard unusable. Simple writing tasks become nigh unto impossible. Still wanting to use the laptop, you've connected an external keyboard, but the problem hasn't gone away because the laptop's keyboard is still malfunctioning. Unfortunately, most laptop keyboards cannot be directly disabled through Windows Device Manager. Sometimes it seems that the only alternative is to physically remove the keyboard--a task most people are not up for. Another alternative is available: a simple program that alters your laptop's registry to remap or disable the entire keyboard.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Administrator rights to a Windows laptop
  • External keyboard
  • MapKeyboard software
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or later

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  1. 1

    Connect an external USB or PS/2 keyboard to your laptop. Newer laptops probably won't have PS/2 ports, but most should have USB. Windows should automatically recognise the new keyboard.

  2. 2

    Download a keyboard remapping program, such as MapKeyboard from InchWest, and unzip it.

  3. 3

    Run the executable file named MapKeyboard (no installation is necessary) to start a very small program that provides a keyboard layout on your screen.

  4. 4

    Use the program's layout to disable every problematic key on the keyboard.

  5. 5

    Remap the disabled keys to other locations as necessary. For example, if the 'R' button was damaged you will need to remap it to be able to use it while typing on the external keyboard. Typing like this will take some getting used to, but it will be a temporary fix if the laptop's physical 'R' button repeats without being pressed. Some keys giving problems, such as the Ctrl, Alt, and Shift keys, can safely be disabled without worry since an identical key already exists, as can other keys not vital to typing tasks.

  6. 6

    Save your changes and allow the program to access your computer's registry to make the necessary changes. You will need administrator rights and Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or later (downloadable for free from Microsoft's website) to do this.

Tips and warnings

  • If you need more functionality than MapKeyboard provides, try doing an Internet search for "disable keyboard program." You'll find several shareware programs that may do the task better.
  • Although Windows supports most USB keyboards by default, you may need to install drivers in order for your computer's BIOS to recognise the keyboard.
  • You can even save multiple layouts using MapKeyboard and switch between them as necessary.
  • Remapping will affect both keyboards, so in cases of serious laptop keyboard malfunction, this is a temporary fix only.
  • If too many keys are damaged for the MapKeyboard method to work for you, the alternative will be to physically remove the laptop keyboard. It is advisable to consult the laptop's manual and/or manufacturer's website or user-created YouTube videos for additional information.

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