The Keyboard and Mouse icons in Windows 10

Keyboard and mouse failures aren’t uncommon, especially with regular usage. If your keyboard or mouse has stopped working on your Windows 10 PC, here are a few steps you can follow to resolve the issue.

Check Your Hardware

It goes without saying that you should check your hardware thoroughly before doing anything else.

Start by carefully checking all of your device connections. If your keyboard or mouse is plugged in correctly, try switching them to another USB port. If you’re on a laptop, make sure you haven’t accidentally disabled your keyboard or mouse using the function keys at the top.

If you have a wireless keyboard or mouse, check that the batteries have enough charge to work correctly. Switch to a wired alternative to double-check the problem isn’t with the hardware itself.

Finally, try your keyboard or mouse on a different PC, or try an alternative keyboard or mouse. In either case, if your keyboard or mouse do work (or the alternatives work instead), then you can assume the problem is with your PC.

Check Windows for Malware

Malware can sometimes play a part in preventing you from using your keyboard or mouse in Windows 10. A malware infection that disables these devices will cripple your ability to use your PC.

If that’s the case, you’ll need to force Windows to scan for malware. You can use your own antivirus software to do this, using an antivirus boot disc or a boot scan to conduct the check.

You can schedule a boot scan using Windows Defender. This will scan your drives and remove any malware it detects. You might need to boot into Windows Safe Mode to do this first if the infection is stopping you from controlling your PC.

RELATED: How to Boot Into Safe Mode on Windows 10 or 8 (The Easy Way)

To begin, access your Windows settings menu by right-clicking the Windows Start menu button and clicking the “Settings” button.

Right-click the Start Menu button, then click Settings

From here, click Update & Security > Windows Security > Virus & Threat Protection.

Tap “Scan Options” underneath the central “Quick Scan” button.

In the Virus and Threat Protection menu, click Scan Options

In the “Scan Options” menu, select the “Windows Defender Offline Scan” option.

Click “Scan Now” to begin the process.

Choose Windows Defender Offline scan, then click Scan Now

Windows will reboot and begin the deep scan of your PC. This process might take some time to complete. Once it’s done, any malware infection detected on your PC should be automatically removed.

You can check your scan history afterward by clicking “Protection History” in the “Virus & Threat Protection” menu.

Forcefully Reinstall Your Keyboard and Mouse Drivers

Windows automatically handles the drivers for your keyboard and mouse but forcing Windows to reinstall these drivers can sometimes resolve any issues preventing them from working correctly.

To reinstall your keyboard and mouse drivers, right-click the Windows Start menu button and select the “Device Manager” option.

Right-click the Start Menu, then click Device Manager

The Windows Device Manager lists all of the devices attached to your PC, both internal and external. Your keyboard will be listed under the “Keyboards” category, while your mouse will be listed under the “Mice and Other Pointing Devices” category.

To force Windows to reinstall the drivers for these devices, click on the arrow next to each of these categories to expand them. Right-click on your device and then click the “Uninstall Device” option.

It’s probably best to do this with your keyboard first and your mouse second, as you’ll lose access to the device until you restart.

Right-click your keyboard or mouse in the Windows Device Manager, then click Uninstall Device

Confirm you want to uninstall the device by clicking the “Uninstall” button in the confirmation pop-up dialog box.

Click Uninstall to begin the device removal

As we’ve mentioned, once the installation process begins, these devices will likely stop working until you reboot.

Press your power button to begin the shutdown or reboot process. Once rebooted, your keyboard and mouse drivers should reinstall automatically.

In an Emergency, Use Windows Accessibility Options

If you can’t immediately solve a problem with your keyboard or mouse, you can switch to using the built-in Windows accessibility options. These will work only if you have a working mouse or a working keyboard available to you.

Enabling MouseKeys

With a working keyboard but a broken mouse, you can switch to using MouseKeys. This accessibility feature allows you to move your mouse cursor using the number keys on your keyboard.

To enable it, access your Windows settings by right-clicking the Start Menu and clicking “Settings.” From here, click Ease of Access > Mouse and then click the slider to the “On” position to enable MouseKeys.

In the Mouse section of the Windows Ease of Access menu, click the slider to enable MouseKeys

You’ll now be able to use your number keys to move your cursor.  For example, the number “8” will move your mouse cursor up, “2” will move it down, etc.

Enabling the Onscreen Keyboard

Another useful accessibility feature in Windows 10 is the onscreen keyboard. If your keyboard is working, but you have access to a mouse (or your screen is touch-enabled), you can use this feature instead as a short-term solution.

RELATED: How to Use the On-Screen Keyboard on Windows 7, 8, and 10

For easy access to the onscreen keyboard, right-click your Windows taskbar and click “Show Touch Keyboard Button.”

Right-click the taskbar, then click the show touch keyboard button

This will display an icon in your taskbar notifications area that you can press to easily show or hide the onscreen keyboard.

Click the on-screen keyboard icon in the Windows taskbar notifications area

With this option enabled, clicking it will bring up the onscreen keyboard to fill the lower half of your screen.

The Windows on-screen keyboard, activated for use

It’ll be easier to use on touchscreen devices, but if you have a working mouse, simply click on each key for it to respond as your typical keyboard would.

To close the keyboard, click the “X” button in the top right.

Ben Stockton Ben Stockton
Ben Stockton is a freelance tech writer from the United Kingdom. In a past life, he was a UK college lecturer, training teens and adults. Since leaving the classroom, he's been a tech writer, writing how-to articles and tutorials for MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Cloudwards.net. He has a degree in History and a postgraduate qualification in Computing.
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