Looking for a way to disable the keyboard on your laptop temporarily or permanently? If you answered “yes” to any of them, we will help you!
This guide will walk you through the steps to deactivate the keyboard on Windows and Mac computers.
Disable laptop keyboard
Laptops are fast becoming the primary computing device for many people as they offer a convenient way to stay connected and productive on the go. The key feature that makes laptops so versatile is their built-in keyboard.
Unlike desktop computers that require an external keyboard, laptop keyboards are built right into the case. This allows you to easily travel and comfortably type for long periods of time without having to worry about plugging in or unplugging an external keyboard.
Unfortunately, built-in keyboards are not immune to damage. For example, if a key frays or wears out, it may eventually break, rendering it unusable. This can make typing difficult because you may have to switch to the on-screen keyboard whenever you need to type that particular letter or symbol.
To avoid the hassle of a poor-quality built-in keyboard, you may prefer to switch to an external one. However, you will need to disable the built-in keyboard to avoid registering accidental or unintentional keystrokes on your computer.
Let’s see how you can do it on Windows and macOS.
How to disable laptop keyboard on Windows 11 PC
You can disable the keyboard on a Windows 11 laptop in three ways:
(a) Disabling the keyboard through Device Manager
Windows 11, the latest and arguably the most exciting version of the Windows series, comes with especially useful tweaks for laptop users. You can disable the built-in keyboard whenever you want with just a few taps:
- Open Device Manager by typing ”
devmgmt.msc” in the Run dialog box. Alternatively, you can type “Device Manager” in the Windows search box.
- Select “Keyboards” in the Device Manager window. This will show a list of all keyboards currently connected to your laptop, including the built-in one.
- Right-click the built-in keyboard and click Disable from the context menu.
- Confirm your decision by clicking “Yes” in the dialog box that appears.
Some laptop models may not have a “Disable” button, but instead have a “Remove Device” option. You can select this option and the result will be the same: your built-in keyboard will be disabled immediately. However, none of the options is permanent. Your laptop will automatically enable the keyboard as soon as you restart it.
Thus, you will have to go back to the keyboard section in Device Manager whenever you boot.
(b) Disabling the keyboard via command line
If you don’t want the inconvenience of opening Device Manager and disabling the keyboard every time you turn on your laptop, don’t worry. You can permanently disable the keyboard using the command line.
Here are the steps:
- Tap the Windows icon in the bottom left corner and type “cmd” in the search bar.
- Select “Run as administrator” in the “Command Prompt” section.
- Click “Yes” to confirm that you agree to the command line application making changes to your computer.
- When the command prompt window opens, type the following command line and press Enter:
sc config i8042prt start= disabled
- Close command prompt and restart your laptop.
Please note that in order to do this, you first need to disable the keyboard via Device Manager, as discussed above. The executed command line prevents Windows from automatically re-enabling the keyboard when the laptop is restarted.
If you ever want to enable the keyboard again in the future, you just need to launch the command line application and enter the following command:
sc config i8042prt start= auto
(c) Disabling the keyboard by choosing the wrong driver
Here is an effective but unorthodox way to disable the keyboard. In fact, you can disable your laptop’s built-in keyboard by connecting it to the wrong driver. This is probably an extreme approach, but it works and it’s not that hard to undo the changes you’ve made.
Here’s how to pair a keyboard with an incompatible driver:
- Open Device Manager by typing “devmgmt.msc” in the Run dialog box.
- Expand Keyboards and then right-click PS/2 Standard Keyboard.
- Select Update Driver from the context menu.
- At this point, your laptop will offer options to search for drivers. Select “Search My Computer for Drivers”.
- In the next window, select “Let me choose from a list of available drivers on my computer”.
- Scroll down the list, select a manufacturer other than your standard keyboard, and select any model from the list.
- Click next.
- Windows will try to warn you that the driver you are about to install may not be compatible with your system. Click “Yes” to confirm that you want to proceed with the installation.
- Close the Update Driver window and restart your laptop.
After rebooting the laptop, the keyboard will not work. However, you can easily re-enable it by following steps 1 to 4 above and then selecting “Search for Drivers Automatically” instead.
How to disable laptop keyboard on Windows 10 PC
Whether you’re trying to protect your laptop from curious little hands, or trying to prevent accidental keystrokes and typos, there are times when you might need to disable your laptop keyboard.
Here is a step by step guide on how to do it on a Windows 10 PC.
- Open Device Manager by searching the Start Menu or by pressing Windows key + R, typing “devmgmt.msc” in the Run dialog box and pressing Enter.
- Expand the Keyboards section in the device list.
- Right-click on the entry on your laptop keyboard and select “Disable” from the resulting context menu.
- A pop-up window will appear asking you to confirm that you want to disable the device; click “Yes” to continue.
Your keyboard will now be disabled; to turn it back on, just follow steps 1-4 and select “Enable” from the context menu in step 3 instead of “Disable”.
Optionally, you can also use this same method to disable other devices such as a mouse or trackpad. However, we don’t recommend doing this if you don’t have another input device available, as you won’t be able to use your computer without one.
How to disable laptop keyboard on Mac
If you’re using a MacBook, you can disable the built-in keyboard, albeit temporarily, in several ways. One of them is to use mouse keys in accessibility settings.
Here are the steps to do it:
- Go to the Apple menu.
- Click System Preferences.
- Click “Mouse and Trackpad” and check “On” for mouse buttons.
With mouse keys enabled, your keyboard will not respond to clicks. However, this method may not work on macOS Big Sur and Monterey. So what if your Mac runs on any of them?
You can download a third party keyboard utility application such as Karabiner-Elements or KeyRemap4MacBook which gives you more control over your key mapping. For example, with KeyRemap4MacBook you can remap modifier keys such as Control, Option and Command. You can also disable the keys completely or set them to perform different functions when pressed or held down.
With any of these methods, you’ll need an external mouse or trackpad to move around the screen.
Prevent accidental clicks
Disabling the built-in keyboard on your Windows or Mac computer can help you avoid accidental keystrokes when typing with an external keyboard. Just be sure to turn your keyboard back on when you’re done so you don’t have trouble moving around your computer.
Have you tried disabling the laptop keyboard with any of the methods discussed in this guide? How was it?
Let us know in the comments below.