Replacing Laptop Keyboard Key - How To Reattach Laptop Keys

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The Laptop Repair Workbook

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Copyright 2010 by Morris Rosenthal

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2010 by Morris Rosenthal -All Rights Reserved contact info

The printable eBook version of The Laptop Repair Workbook is now available for download anywhere in the world.

The first time I had to replace a laptop key, it took me several hours. I struggled and struggled with the thing, trying to get the clip ends back into the little holder on the laptop keyboard membrane, using tweezers and jewelers tools. When the clip fell apart, I thought I was doomed. I put it back together and went right on trying to install the whole thing in one shot. I think I imagined that laptop keyboards were put together by extremely talented people with very small fingers, which may be the case, but it sure isn't required. The picture to the right shows the standard arrangement of the four retention points on the keyboard. They can vary a little, some require more snapping in than sliding in. Missing "J" key from laptop showing hold-downs
Keyboard retention clip attached to the key The picture to the left shows your basic detached key with the assembled retaining clip still attached. I removed it from the keyboard for the sake of doing this illustration by prying up the top of the key a little and pushing the clip at the top inwards towards the center of the key on one side. Once one side is free, pulling towards that side releases the opposite side, and then the whole key can be slid down, towards the space bar, which releases it from the two little brackets that are closer together. Assuming you aren't pulling your keyboard apart for fun, you may be starting with half the clip still attached to the keyboard (as below) with all the clip attached to the key, as to the left, or with all of clip mechanism attached to the keyboard, though that's pretty rare.

So the first trick is to realize that it's nearly impossible to reinstall the key with the whole clip attached to it, because the larger half of the clip needs to be squeezed in to get under the holders. The retention holders at the top are essentially a closed "U" shape. It's much easier to take two halves of the clip apart (they are simply snapped together) and install the larger piece that pivots at the top first. I'm showing that to the right, and you can do it with your fingers instead of a screwdriver, but I used the screwdriver so you can see something other than fingers. The next step (below) is to slide the smaller clip, with one end attached to the key, into the bottom two retention points. If you choose to do this without the key attached, or if it came apart on you, make sure the concave part of the smaller clip is facing down. It doesn't take any force or squeezing, just place it inside the larger clip near the bottom and slid it towards the top. Once that's done, you reassemble the two halves of the clip by just pressing the little pivot points into place, as at the lower right. Attaching lower half of key retaining clip
Attaching upper half of key retention spring SNapping together two halves of key holder
Assembled laptop key mechanism Now the whole mechanism is assembled and clipped to the keyboard and the top half of the key, shown to the left. All that's left is to attach the bottom half of the key, which you do by just pressing on the key, shown below to the left. To review, the really critical part of the process is to detach the larger half of the clip from the key and install that on the keyboard first. After that, the smaller clip only goes with the concave part down and the beefier plastic end attaching to the top of the key, or pointed towards the top of the keyboard if the key isn't attached. The fastest way to do the job is to install the two clip halves without the key attached and then just press the key onto them, starting it at the top since it's a form of open retainer, and then the bottom just stretches into place when you push down. Whole thing takes a few seconds when you're in practice and doesn't even require a screwdriver.
Repaired keyboard
The printable eBook version of The Laptop Repair Workbook is now available for download anywhere in the world.