Once you purchase a new keyboard, it’s difficult to go back. Whether you’re looking for a larger space to type on, want to move your laptop screen further away when you type, or just prefer the feel and look of an external keyboard, external keyboards are often superior to those that come with your laptop.
Once you’ve bought a new keyboard or are finding your current laptop keyboard is broken, you should turn it off so that it doesn’t accidentally press keys. Thankfully, answering the question of “How to turn off laptop keyboard?” is easy.
We’ve covered the easiest and simplest ways to turn off your laptop keyboard without hassle for both Windows and Mac.
Why You Would Want To Disable A Laptop Keyboard?
Most laptops come with a built-in keyboard that serves as a way to interact with your laptop, but over time your keyboard section can become old. You may find that your keys are beginning to fray, certain keys don’t work, and many other factors. It’s this point where you’re likely to switch to an external keyboard and want to disable a laptop keyboard.
If you disable your keyboard you’ll avoid quite a bit of hassle when you use the external one, as the built-in keyboard could still type or affect your inputs if it’s broken. This can be true for any type of laptop, so don’t think your laptop is safe if it’s a newer generation build used for data science or gaming.
Let’s cover the top ways to disable your laptop keyboard!
How to Disable a Windows Keyboard
Unfortunately, you can’t just take out your laptop’s keyboard and replace it with another one. But you can permanently disable a laptop keyboard so you never have to worry about it accidentally making inputs you don’t want. If you’re using an external keyboard or on-screen keyboard along with your laptop, then here’s how to stop your Windows keyboard from being active:
Disabling via Device Manager
If you have Windows 11, you’ll be glad to know that disabling your keyboard has become extremely easy since the latest update. You are now able to disable the device with a few simple clicks. Here’s how you do it:
- Open your Windows Search Bar and type “Device Manager” into it.
- Once your Device Manager Window appears, navigate until you find the Keyboards section within the list of items. This will show you all the keyboards that are connected to your computer.
- From there, find the built-in keyboard and right-click it. Then choose “Disable Device”. Finally, confirm your selection.
Disable device may not be the term used by all laptops, so if you see a similar term like “Uninstall Device”, know that they mean the same thing.
Disabling via Command Prompt Window
We recommend that you use Command Prompt to complement the process of disabling your device via the device manager. Disabling your computer via Command Prompt doesn’t disable a laptop keyboard but rather stops your laptop from enabling it again and undoing your work.
This can happen more often than you think, so to be safe rather than sorry follow our tips on using command prompt to stop this from happening:
- Open the Windows Search Bar and type “CMD”.
- You’ll need to run the program as administrator to disable your laptop keyboard. Choose “Yes” when prompted to allow Command Prompt to make changes to your computer.
- Once the Command Prompt has been opened in a new window, type “sc config i08042prt start = disabled” and hit enter. This is will enact device installation restrictions that stop your laptop that will automatically install it back again.
- Once you’ve closed the window, you’ll need to restart your laptop.
If you want to re-enable your keyboard, follow our steps again but replace the command line with the following command when you use computer configuration: “sc config i08042prt start = auto”.
Disabling via Driver Software
If the above hasn’t worked, or you want a different way to turn off your laptop’s keyboard then you can always disable the built-in keys by pairing it with the wrong driver software on your laptop. This method is reversible so don’t worry if the method strikes you as slightly unusual. Here are the steps:
- Open your Device Manager as you did in our previous steps. You can do those by either typing “Device Manager” into your search bar or typing “devmgmt.msc) into your Run dialog box.
- Find your built-in keyboard underneath the “Keyboards” option and right-click it. Choose to Update your Drivers.
- This will create a new dialog window that asks how you want to search for drivers. Choose “Browse my computer for driver software”.
- Then click on the option that says “Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.” Once you’ve chosen that option, choose an option for your laptop that is incompatible with your current keyboard.
- Confirm that you’re fine to install it on that incompatible driver, and then restart your personal computer.
Be warned, when your PC restarts your keyboard will not work anymore. This process is fairly simple to reverse.
How to Disable a Mac Keyboard
The process for disabling a Mac keyboard is slightly different from a Windows one. You can disable a Macbook temporarily, but Macs don’t have a feature to permanently disable a laptop’s built-in keyboard like Windows desktop computers and laptops.
There’s a main way to disable a keyboard on Mac; here’s how:
- Head to the top left of your screen and click on the Apple icon.
- Choose System Preferences.
- Within System Preferences, choose Mouse & Trackpad and select “On” for the Mouse Keys.
With Mouse Keys enabled, your keyboard won’t function and relay inputs when you press the keys. If you use your Mac to design with Cricut Explore Air 2 then we recommend disabling your keyboard as a solid option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have some more questions about keyboards and mouse keys? Don’t worry; we’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions about turning off your built-in laptop keyboard and answered them here for you today.
Is there a button to turn off the keyboard on a laptop?
While there isn’t a single button you can press to turn off your built-in keyboard on any laptop, there is a way to lock your keyboard so it doesn’t process any inputs when you press it.
All you have to do is press Ctrl + Alt + L and your keyboard should be locked from using all of its keys. You are still about to turn off your laptop with the power button but otherwise, it is non-functioning. If you plan to use an external mouse and keyboard with your gaming laptop, this is a great temporary solution.
How do I turn off Windows keyboard mode?
Turning off your Windows keyboard mode so that it does not enable itself once more. Here’s a quick and abbreviated version of what you need to do. Keep in mind that you’ll need a Windows laptop to do this, but it doesn’t matter what type of Windows laptop:
- Type CMD into your Windows Search Bar.
- Run it as administrator.
- Type the following command into the command window: “sc config i8042prt start= disabled”
How to turn off a Windows 10 Keyboard?
Thankfully both Windows 11 and Windows 10 have a similar feature and process to turn off their laptop keyboards but make sure to check which version of the software update you have installed.
- Open your Windows search bar and type Device Manager.
- Navigate to your Keyboards section and find the native keyboard of your laptop.
- Right-click and choose Disable Device, which will stop your input device from working.
Stay goodbye to accidentally key presses or using a broken keyboard! After you’ve disabled the native keyboards of your laptop, you can purchase a keyboard to use with your laptop that is far more comfortable than the one that it comes with.
Many professionals who use a laptop will opt for a keyboard so that they can type quicker, reduce eye strain, and have a more comfortable experience overall. We recommend using a keyboard other than the one your laptop comes it.
Writer Graham Grieve brings two decades of technical communications experience to The Holy Tech coverage. Isaac contributes articles on laptops, tablets and PCs, alongside various software and hardware guides. Isaac is a former newspaper journalist who also worked in tech communications for some of the country’s biggest corporations. He also counsels and creates material for other technology publications and hosts a podcast.
Isaac’s in-depth reporting and knowledge of hardware and software issues helps The Holy Tech’s readers learn how to choose the right products, or solve tricky problems.