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How to fix a laptop keyboard that shorted out from spill

Updated December 15, 2016

There are few things that are worse for your laptop than water and other liquids. A liquid spill can short out many of the working parts of your laptop or kill it altogether. If you are lucky, a liquid spill will only short out your laptop keyboard. There's not much you can do with a laptop keyboard that shorted out. The only way to fix it is to install a replacement keyboard in your laptop.

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  1. Take your laptop to a clean, well lit workspace with a level working surface. Be sure that there's plenty of room to set aside tools and laptop parts until you are ready to use them. Turn off your laptop and remove any power sources from it. That includes the battery and the AC adaptor.

  2. Open your laptop display as far as it will go to expose the hinge cover. Keep in mind that some laptop models are not meant to open completely. Stop opening the display as soon as you meet resistance.

  3. Use the flathead screw driver to pry open the laptop hinge from right to left. Most models will have a small indentation to insert the screwdriver into. Work carefully because the hinge cover may still be attached to your laptop chassis with pieces of wire. If the hinge cover comes completely off, you can set it aside. If it doesn't come completely off, just move it out of the way without damaging any of the wires.

  4. Use the Phillips-head screw driver to unscrew the screws that hold the laptop keyboard in place. In some models, the keyboard will be attached to a ribbon cable with a connector at the end and in some models, it the keyboard will be attached directly to the connector. If there is a ribbon connector, carefully lift the laptop keyboard out, making sure not to damage the connector. Lift open the fastener and carefully pull the ribbon connector out. If the laptop keyboard is attached directly to the connector, you have to slide it up and out of the connector before you lift the laptop keyboard out of the chassis.

  5. Replace the old keyboard with the replacement keyboard by connecting it to your laptop motherboard. Screw it back into the laptop chassis using the screws you originally removed. Snap the hinge cover in place from left to right. Power on your laptop to test the keyboard and make sure the laptop keyboard is functioning properly.

  6. Tip

    While you have your laptop keyboard disconnected from the chassis, it would be a great time to clean out any dust or debris that might have fallen into your laptop base with an electronics duster spray.


    With so many manufacturers and models of laptops on the market, the instructions for your laptop may vary slightly from these. Please read the service manual for the particular make and model of your laptop for instructions tailored specifically for your laptop keyboard.

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Things You'll Need

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Replacement keyboard

About the Author

Michaele Curtis began writing professionally in 2001. As a freelance writer for the Centers for Disease Control, Nationwide Insurance and AT&T Interactive, her work has appeared in "Insurance Today," "Mobiles and PDAs" and "Curve Magazine." Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Louisiana State University.

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