Keyboard Stops Working on Windows 8.1 System

This morning I came into my office to find myself with a lovely little surprise. I sat down and logged in as usual, however, once at my Windows 8.1 Update desktop, the keyboard stopped working. Windows Key, all individual characters function keys, etc. Nothing worked. Not exactly what I wanted to deal with on a Monday morning.

Ok, no worries, I have other systems I can use to troubleshoot with. I grabbed my Surface Pro 2 (also running Windows 8.1 Update)… Same issue. Again, not what I wanted to deal with on a Monday morning. So, I grabbed my Windows 8.1 laptop (yes, I have many many devices to test with). Logged in and…. Thank The Lord! The keyboard works!

Ok, on to Bing to search out for possible solutions since all of these systems were working last Friday. I found a number of entries from last year with the initial release of Windows 8.1 however many of them suggested changing a BIOS setting related to UEFI. Considering the fact that my desktop wasn’t running in UEFI mode, I quickly ruled that out as a possible solution.

At last after a few minutes of searching (and countless attempts at reinstalling drivers), I came across this Microsoft Community entry:


Ok, so I wasn’t running Windows 7, but I decided to check it out anyways. I went to the Charms menu > Change PC Settings> Ease of Access > Keyboard on each of my Windows 8.1 (Update) systems. Sure enough, the Filter Keys setting was enabled on the two systems that working.

Side Note, on the systems with this setting enabled, they were also emmiting a “clicking” sound each time I pressed a key”

Disabled that setting and BAM!, keyboard started working again. I was able to reproduce this issue on multiple devices as well so it’s not an isolated incident.

Author: dhedges

I'm a Senior Client Systems Engineer specializing in OS Deployments and Automation using VBScript, PowerShell, MDT and SCCM. I enjoy working with technology and bending it to my will.

14 thoughts on “Keyboard Stops Working on Windows 8.1 System”

  1. Thanks! That is a really ridiculous setting to completely disable the keyboard. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for this client until I stumbled upon this answer.

  2. You sir are a saint for posting this, I was laughing when my client told me no keyboards work on his notebook (typical moaning user), I didn’t believe it until he said he upgraded to 8.1 on his own without consulting me. Upon him dropping the notebook off I was ready to reload it when I thought what the hell and used my Google-Fu powers to come across this. THANKS!

  3. Thank you Thank you Thank you! I don’t know how this setting got enabled but I turned it off and now my keyboard’s back.

    Of course, Microsoft’s suggestion was to simply restore my system – pretty much the only solution they ever have for any problem.

  4. Hello. My wife’s Acer laptop on Win8.1 had a similar issue after she was cleaning the keyboard with a duster. After using a combination of the OSK and touchpad, I managed to navigate to the ‘Useful Keys’ menu, but everything here is switched-off, so unfortunately for me, your solution does not apply.

    It’s definitely not a hardware issue, as the keyboard responds normally in BIOS and Recovery mode. Tried plugging in a USB keyboard, which was recognised but only the power key registered a change on the laptop. There must be something else at play here, but I’m stumped.

    Spent hours online trying to find an answer, but to no avail. I’m loathed to have to perform a Refresh from the Recovery menu, as I’ll have to reinstall dozens of applications.

    Is there some other setting I can check to see why the laptop keyboard (and USB keyboard) do not respond to inputs only when Win8.1 has reached the login screen and beyond?

  5. when I try to enable onscreen soft keyboard today, I have this same issue. Take me 10-20 minutes to figure out that Filter Keys actually disable the hardware keyboard completely.

    Microsoft is not incapable of deliver a reasonable product design, I really hope this company bankrupt.

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