How to Install a Laptop Keyboard

This tutorial will illustrate how to remove a damaged or worn laptop keyboard, and replace it with a new unit. This process can be followed for many typical models, including brands such as Acer, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, HP, Sony, and Toshiba. We’ll discuss some tips and tricks that you may need with laptops of different designs.

Laptop With Warning Sign

Warning: Use of this guide is at your own risk. This is a general guide not specific to any laptop model, therefore your laptop may be different. Performing this repair may void any applicable manufacturer warranties. It is possible to cause serious damage to your machine whilst attempting a repair of this nature, and we can not be responsible in the case of any personal or property damages. If you do not feel comfortable at any point, seek out professional repair.

Working Laptop

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Here we have an HP Pavilion ZE2000 series laptop. The keyboard is fairly easy to change out on this model. We have the full keyboard available here. Sometimes if only a key or two broke off, replacing the individual key can be a good option. We have replacement key kits available for most laptop models. On Machinaelectronics.com just browse the parts for your model at the left.

Remove the battery from the laptop

Remove the Battery

First, always turn off the laptop, unplug the power cable, and remove the battery.

Remove the screws from the battery compartment

Unscrew the Keyboard Access Screws

For most models, you will need to remove the plastic panel above the keyboard to gain access for removing the keyboard. This is the panel that often has the power button on it. To do this, there are screws holding it on from the underside. HP is nice in that they usually place a little keyboard icon next to the screws that need to be removed. In this case the screws are located underneath the battery. If your laptop has no keyboard icons, you may end up removing more screws than necessary. That’s fine, just be sure to make a note of where each screw belongs. We’ve seen a few models that use no screws to hold the plastic keyboard panel on (some Acer and Toshiba models namely).

Loosen the Keyboard Cover Panel

Loosen the Keyboard Cover Panel

The plastic panel above the keyboard needs to be removed. Once the screws are removed it snaps off. Note that some models may have screws in this panel from the rear of the hinges. First, loosen part of the panel by prying up on it. A plastic spudger tool (“black stick”) is best because it won’t mar the plastic, but it can also be done with a flat screwdriver or fingernails. You may have to search for a good spot to start with.

Unsnap the Keyboard Cover Panel

Unsnap the Keyboard Cover Panel

Once you have it started, the plastic snaps underneath should allow you to continue removing the panel. Make sure to open the lid / screen of the laptop all the way so that this panel can come off, since it often covers the hinges too. If you reach a point where the panel just won’t budge, there is usually a screw remaining on the underside.

Remove the Keyboard Cover Panel

Remove the Keyboard Cover Panel

Use caution when removing the panel, some models may have buttons, speakers, or other features mounted to this panel, and their wires may need to be disconnected from the motherboard. The model we have here has no wires going to the motherboard.

How to Install a Laptop Keyboard

Access the Keyboard

Access the Keyboard
With panel completely removed, you can now see the screws at the top of the keyboard holding it in place. Some models may have screws from the underside of the laptop going into the back of the keyboard, but this model does not. You can tell by looking at the replacement keyboard to see if there are any screw posts on the back of it.

Remove the Keyboard Screws

Remove the Keyboard Screws

Remove the screws that secure the keyboard.

Remove the Old Keyboard

Begin Removing the Keyboard Unit

Tilt the keyboard up and slide the tabs at the bottom of the keyboard out from under the casing.

Access the Keyboard Connector Cable

Access the Keyboard Connector Cable

Flip the keyboard over to access the flexible ribbon connection cable underneath. This cable is connected directly to the motherboard so be mindful not to stress the cable when flipping it over.

Unlatch the Keyboard Connector

Unlatch the Keyboard Connector

Most models connect the keyboard cable to the motherboard by what is known as a ZIF connector. This plastic connector clamps down on the cable and is very fragile. This component is part of the motherboard, and is often near impossible to find for sale on its own, so be careful! Many models like this one have a connector that slides outwards a few millimeters, and some others have a hinged connector that flips up. A few models have a connector that is included with the keyboard unit and pushes onto a socket on the motherboard (some Apple, Dell, and IBM models for example). We recommend non-experts gently slide the connector out with fingers and not a tool, since the tool can slip and break the connector.

Remove the Keyboard Cable

Remove the Keyboard Cable

Once you have loosened the connector, the cable will be very easy to remove. Slide the cable out from the connector to remove it.

Prepare the New Keyboard

Prepare the New Keyboard

Now we are ready to insert our new keyboard. Bend the keyboard cable under the keyboard so that it can reach the connector. The cable should never be twisted, it should always be flat.

Connect the New Keyboard

Connect the New Keyboard

Slide the keyboard cable into the ZIF connector. The inset pictured shows how a sliding ZIF connector should look when it is open.

Secure the Keyboard Cable

Secure the Keyboard Cable

Clamp the keyboard cable into place, by sliding both sides of the ZIF connector back into place. You can give the cable a very gentle tug to make sure it won’t come disconnected.

Replace the Keyboard

Replace the Keyboard

Tilt the keyboard a bit and slide the tabs at the bottom of the keyboard under the plastic casing. Then lay the keyboard flat in its place. The cable underneath will be gently folded, that is normal.

Secure the Keyboard

Secure the Keyboard

Replace the screws that we had removed earlier so the new keyboard won’t be going anywhere.

Position the Keyboard Cover Panel

Position the Keyboard Cover Panel

Put the plastic keyboard cover back where it goes. We have an interesting example here, looking at the inset pictured we can see this keyboard cover has tabs sticking out on the left side that aren’t present on the right. That means the left side on this model needs to be tucked in first.

Attach the Keyboard Cover Panel

Attach the Keyboard Cover Panel

Be sure to reattach any cables or connectors under the panel if applicable, and begin snapping the keyboard cover panel back on by pushing down. All areas of the panel should be flush with the rest of the laptop when it is fully replaced.

Replace the Keyboard Access Screws

Replace the Keyboard Access Screws

Put all of the remaining screws back in their respective places, and you’re finished!

How to Install a Laptop Keyboard
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9 Comments to “How to Install a Laptop Keyboard”

  1. Such a great tips. This is really useful with the picture explanation. I will suggest this blog to my friend. Thank you.

  2. Nice tips. Your post seems like a great tutorial as you have explained very well about the laptop keyboard replacement. Thanks a lot for sharing such an informative post.

  3. Changing keypads and touch pads are not difficult once you are experienced. Good article and articles like these helps to learn online. Appreciated.

  4. Satya.P says:

    Keypad problems are very frequent. I am into laptop service and came here to learn online. Good details. Thanks for the article.

  5. Rajesh says:

    Keypad issues are very common. And also display and hinges of the laptop is common issue. Good explanation. I enjoyed the way it was explained. Thanks

  6. Satya ,P says:

    Good detailed points. Keep writing more about other services also, such as laptop fan problem, charging problem, flickering of display, etc. Thanks again.

  7. Raghu Kumar says:

    Informative post. Also write on other laptop issues as it will be useful for people wanting to learn.

  8. Raghu Kumar says:

    Good details. Really very useful post for people trying to learn laptop repairing work. I am into both laptop and also electronic name board repairing work. Thanks for the post.

  9. Amazing information about how to install a laptop keyboard. we have also a ponst linkden for dell inspiron laptop replacement and fix.

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