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Keyboard Problems with Surface

While the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets are great little devices, like any other computer, they will occasionally have issues. A common problem that seems to come up is difficulty with the touch or type keyboards from Microsoft.

keyboard problems with surface How to fix the Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets

The Surface tablets have the bug. The onscreen keyboard does not display, if you remove the type cover before wakes it up. Other issue is that the soft keyboard does not automatically appear in desktop mode.
So, in this post, I’m going to go over how to (hopefully) avoid touch and type keyboard problems with Surface tablets and then fix them if they happen to you.

I’m not going to cover issues with Bluetooth or USB keyboards specifically but a lot of these techniques could help you troubleshoot problems with them as well.

This post continues to be one of our most popular posts; clearly folks are still having problems with keyboards.

In this post, find the following on the subject of Keyboard Problems with Surface:

  • Avoiding Keyboard Problems
  • Fixing Keyboard Problems
  1. The Basics: Detach and reattach, restart, two-button shut down
  2. Look for updates
  3. Check Ease of Access Functions
  4. Clean the Keyboard Connections:
  • Testing your keyboard
  • Reset your Surface
  • Microsoft’s suggestions (NEW)
  • Contact Microsoft for Service

Let’s get started…

1. Avoiding Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets

For the most part, there are two things you can do to avoid keyboard issues with your Surface.

  • Check for Issues Before Updates/Upgrades

Keep in mind, there will ALWAYS be someone who had problems. The question you need to ask yourself is; “are a lot of people having problems after the upgrade?” If there are, look to see if there’s a response from Microsoft or a posted fix before going ahead with the upgrade. Otherwise, you might want to put it off for a while to see if a fix or another update is issued.

  • Be Careful with Your Keyboard Cover: This is not to say that you have to treat your touch or type cover with kid gloves. It is designed to be quite durable but, that doesn’t mean that you can be constantly bending it or stepping on it or running over it with your car.

2. Fixing Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets

So, you took my advice and checked before applying upgrades and you’ve been gentle on your keyboard but your touch or type keyboard isn’t working anymore. Or your keyboard started acting up out of the blue and there were no updates applied.

Now what?

I’ll go over the steps, in order, that you take to try to resolve keyboard problems with Surface tablets and the touch/type covers. I’ve had a good success rate with them and so far, have not had an instance where I haven’t been able to get the keyboard working again. Though I must admit, sometimes they come back.

A. The Basics of Fixing Keyboard Problems:

Detach and Reattach your Keyboard:

Simple and surprisingly effective. Sometimes, all you need to do is detach and reattach your keyboard cover. Make sure you leave it detached for at least, 10 seconds and I always do something to cause the on-screen keyboard to appear (like bring up IE and do a Google search) just to make sure the Surface recognizes that the keyboard is no longer attached.

Restart your Surface:

I know it’s almost cliche to say it but, Windows 8 is like every other version of Windows since 3.1. It just needs kicked in the head sometimes to work properly. So, the first thing you should try is to restart your Surface.

To do so, follow these instructions:

Make sure your keyboard cover is connected properly.
Swipe in from the right side of the screen to bring up the charms menu.
Tap on Settings.
Tap on Power.
Select Shut Down.
Wait 60 seconds and press the power button at the top of your Surface to turn it back on.

Two Button Shutdown: if you have a Surface Pro/Pro 2 you can try a two-button shutdown. This is sometimes called a hard shutdown as it, essentially, pulls the plug on the Surface hardware.


Shutdown your Surface Pro/Pro 2 as above
Press and hold the Volume Up and Power buttons for, at least, 15 seconds.
The screen may flash the Surface logo or other things but keep the buttons held for the 15 seconds.
When you release them, your Surface Pro/Pro 2 should be powered off. Wait at least 10 seconds and then turn it on normally.

Hopefully, this fix will do the trick. If not, let’s try the next thing.

B. Look for Updates:

This might sound ironic considering the advice in the first section but assuming the problems didn’t start because of an update, one of the first things you should do is to check for updates from Microsoft. It is possible that there is a known problem and they have provided a fix.

Note: Microsoft says to always have your keyboard plugged in when running an update, otherwise it will not apply the keyboard updates.

To do so, follow these steps:

Bring up the Search charm and look for “Updates”.

keyboard problems with surface3 How to fix the Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets

Choose Check for Updates from the options shown.

keyboard problems with surface4 How to fix the Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets

Tap the Check Now button.

If there are any updates, go ahead and install them.

After the updates install, you might want to do a restart (the normal kind, not the hard shutdown). If that fixes your problem then great! If not, let’s try the next thing.

C. Ease of Access Functions:

Ironically, features designed to help people with disabilities may actually be causing or contributing to your keyboard problems with Surface tablets. It’s possible that a couple features dealing with the keyboard were accidentally turned on and that could be what’s causing your problems.

To check if that’s the case do the following:

Bring up the Search charm and look for “Ease of Access”.

keyboard problems with surface1 How to fix the Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets

Choose Ease of Access Keyboard Settings.
Under the Useful Keys section (at the bottom) make sure Sticky Keys and Filter Keys are both set to Off.

keyboard problems with surface2 How to fix the Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets

D. Clean the Keyboard Connections:

This one is often overlooked. Your keyboard connects to your Surface via a series of six brass colored contacts at the bottom of the tablet.

keyboard problems with surface4 How to fix the Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets

They will occasionally become tarnished or maybe even have dirt/food/dried coffee/etc. on them. This is normal as they often spend time shoved in a computer bag (when’s the last time you cleaned it out?) or on your desk where you might be eating or drinking.

You can clean them (both on the Surface and on the keyboard) by taking a pencil eraser and gentlyscrubbing the contacts until they are shiny again. Alternatively, you can use some rubbing alcohol and Q-tips to clean the contacts. Better yet, do both if you can.

IMPORTANT: Make sure your Surface is powered completely off and not plugged in when you’re cleaning your connections. Especially if you’re using the rubbing alcohol technique.

Remove your Surface from its Case:

If you have a protective sleeve or case for your Surface that still allows for the keyboard cover to be attached, remove it and see if the problem persists. It could be as simple as the case is interfering with a solid connection between the cover keyboard and the tablet.

Things to Look for:

Make sure your Surface fits snugly in the case. It could be that the Surface is simply slipping out of position preventing a good connection with the keyboard cover.
Loose connections between the keyboard and Surface because some piece of the case is in the way or being pinched.
Wear on the case that might result in flakes or loose threads getting into the keyboard connector on your Surface.
Check your case for Magnets. Some cases have a magnetic clasp or plate to hold the cover shut. These magnets can interfere with the magnets used to make the keyboard connection between the Surface and it’s type or touch cover.

3. Test Your Keyboard:

Your keyboard could be the problem. Don’t forget, it’s flexible and not quite as rugged as your Surface. So it’s not out of the question that your keyboard simply broke.

The easiest way to test that it’s not your keyboard is to simply try it on another Surface. If you have a friend that has a Surface, see if he/she will allow you to swap keyboards for a while. If the problem moves with the keyboard, it’s probably the keyboard that’s at fault.

If you don’t have a friend to swap with, try disconnecting your keyboard and opening notepad – start typing something. Then reconnect your keyboard and see if the onscreen keyboard goes away. If it does, then your external keyboard is at least being recognized. If it doesn’t, well then there is a problem.

You can also, always take your keyboard into your local Microsoft Store (if you have one nearby) or Best Buy to try it out on one of their demo machines. It’s probably a good idea to let the sales people know what you’re doing so they don’t think you’re up to no good.

If your keyboard is bad, you’ll probably have to bite the bullet and buy a new keyboard as they’re not really designed to be serviced. Although complaining to Microsoft might get you a replacement.

4. Reset your Surface:

If you’re here, I have some bad news. We’re to the point that there’s a good possibility that something is corrupt in Windows. This occasionally happens especially if you’re adding and removing a lot of software.

The way to deal with this is to do a reset or restore of your Surface tablet. I’ve provided links below to Microsoft’s pages on how to do a reset or restore for Both Surface RT/2 and Surface Pro/Pro2 tablets.

Refresh or Reset Surface RT/2
Refresh or Reset Surface Pro/Pro2

I recommend you try a refresh first and a reset only if a refresh fails. Don’t forget to backup your data to Skydrive or a USB drive before doing the reset as the drive will be wiped as part of the procedure.

5. Microsoft’s suggestions:

We’ve had reports from our readers of Microsoft suggesting weird stuff. For example, one person reported that Microsoft support had her detach and reattach her keyboard 10 time in a row. Reportedly that fixed her problem.

Microsoft support also suggest to do the following:

Go to your Desktop
Open Device Manager (in Control Panel)
Click Keyboards
Press and hold on your keyboard item
Select Update Driver Software.. (Surface Touch Cover Filter Device) from the menu
Select Browse my computer for driver software
Select Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
If there are two versions presented, pick version 141 for Pro or 101 for RT to install. If there is only one version shown, pick and install it

6. Contact Microsoft for Service:

If you’ve made it to here then it’s possible that your Surface has suffered some sort of hardware fault. If that’s the case, hopefully you’re still in the warranty period or you’ve bought an extended service plan.

Hopefully, this post helps you avoid and fix touch or type keyboard problems with your Surface tablet. As usual, if you have questions, let me know and I’ll answer them as I can.

share medium How to fix the Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets

With Surface 2 and Windows 8.1 RT, Microsoft has certainly addressed some of usability issues that plagued the original Surface RT models.

Based around an Nvidia Tegra 4 chip, the second generation Surface hardware is faster and has a superior battery life. It also boasts an improved 1080p HD display, redesigned kickstand and a competitive price tag that undercuts Apple’s iPad. You can see how Surface and Surface 2 compare in Surface vs Surface 2.

s2 charcoal What would you like to see in a Surface 3 device?

Whatever Microsoft is doing it is working – albeit slowly. Numerous reports say overall Surface usage went upover the festive period in late 2013.

So what will Microsoft do next? What might a Surface 3 device look like in 2014?

Surface 3: The Windows RT dilemma

There’s arguably nothing wrong with the Surface hardware. We like it. The Surface 2 looks good and feels good. It’s smartly, stylishly designed and the two-stage kickstand makes it easier to position the device comfortably for work. Although not including one of the iconic click-in keyboards as standard is frankly criminal.

A Surface 3 tablet should look fundamentally the same, albeit with a customary millimetre shaved off its magnesium alloy waistline and a few grams shifted from its chassis. Hardware isn’t the problem. The problem is Windows RT.

surface 2 What would you like to see in a Surface 3 device?

We really like Surface 2 – can Surface 3 improve on the formula?

With Dell recently dumping the ‘Lite’ Windows 8 OS citing poor sales of its XPS 10, any new Surface hardware could be held back by the limitations of the RT software, which restricts users to using ‘Metro’ apps. It’s Windows, but not as consumers know or expect it.

Admittedly, Windows 8.1 has improved the usability of the OS, and Office RT is now included. Any future Windows 8.2 update should do even more to iron out the inconsistencies. The Windows Store also boasts more apps than a year ago – over 100,000 at the last count. By the time a Surface 3 line-up rolls out, there should be double that number.

See also: Windows 9 release date, news and rumors

But a stripped down version of an OS that many people already dislike isn’t going to help Microsoft claw back the $900 million it has lost on Surface RT so far. At the moment, there’s no clear benefit to running RT over the full version of Windows and so no clear benefit for investing in a non-Pro Surface tablet, Surface 3 or otherwise.

If Microsoft wants to be bold, Surface 3 needs to quietly dump Windows RT and eliminate customer confusion. The popularity of the Surface Pro model and the powerful potential of the new Surface Pro 2 point the way forward for a more successful, populist Surface 3.Surface 3: Mini or Maxi?

If Microsoft does stubbornly stick with Windows RT (and it will), then perhaps a Surface 3 line-up will offer more hardware options.

Before the Surface 2 launch, there were strong rumours of a ‘Surface Mini’ with a 7.5-inch or 8-inch display, especially as Windows 8.1 now provides improved support for smaller tablets. This would range it against more compact slates such as the iPad mini and the Google Nexus 7, not to mention the Acer Iconia W3 and Toshiba Encore.

At the other end of the scale, we can imagine a bigger touchscreen model. There are rumours of Apple experimenting with 12- and 13-inch iPad displays and where Apple leads, the other manufacturers are sure to follow. With this in mind, perhaps fingerprint sensors might become standard issue too, after their iPhone 5S debut.

Or we might see an even larger device that takes its cue from Sony’s VAIO Tap 20. Such a ‘Surface Maxi’ would move Surface into all-in-one desktop PC territory, although it would require ditching Windows RT in favour of the full-fat Windows 8 OS. A Surface Pro 2 XS or XL would be ideal.

kickstand What would you like to see in a Surface 3 device?

The most obvious change for Surface 3 would be to shrink the device down and ship an iPad mini-sized model

Surface 3: Is there a smartwatch in the works?

With wearable tech all the rage, it must surely have occurred to Microsoft that the touchy-feely Surface brand could be extended into smartwatch territory. Like the Galaxy Gear, a ‘Surface Watch’ with a small screen and obligatory built-in fitness tech could be launched as a companion device for its Windows-powered tablets and smartphones.

Then there’s Surface gaming to consider. Gamers have long hankered after a portable Xbox and devices such as the Razer Edge give us glimpses of how this idea could work. Yet Microsoft barely touched on the gaming potential of its Surface 2 hardware at launch, choosing instead to focus on productivity and business.

But with reports of Microsoft cloud-streaming Halo 4 to a low-end Windows PC and a Windows Phone, a future Surface 3 device could easily evolve into a portable games console.Surface 3: The obvious answer

Surface 2 is affordable but limited by its Windows RT software; while the Surface Pro 2 has all the versatility of a Windows PC but, in tablet terms, costs way too much. Surely any Surface 3 machine needs to hit the sweet spot between the two – full Windows functionality at an affordable and competitive price point?

What would you like to see in a Surface 3 device? Leave your comments below.

From: http://www.techradar.com/us/news/mobile-computing/tablets/surface-3-what-we-want-to-see-1188708

share medium What would you like to see in a Surface 3 device?

Good news for Windows Phone fans, as Microsoft has reportedly shipped the next version of the operating system to handset manufacturers. This means that, assuming that tests are successful, we should have the first devices powered by Windows Phone 8.1 as early as next month.

It seems that Windows Phone 8.1 is finally ready to roll, and we may even have a target date for when we can expect to see it rolling out on new phones.

samsung ativ se leak Windows Phone 8.1 Devices Launching April 23, Says Report

According to a report from WP Central, Microsoft delivered the final version of Windows Phone 8.1 to its manufacturing partners on March 26. Following up on that nugget of information, the report also revealed that it appears the first phones to launch with the new version of the operating system will be ready to hit stores on April 23.

What isn’t clear at this time is which phones will be available come April 23, but the Samsung ATIV SE seems a likely candidate considering how many leaks we have seen for it. Nokia also has a presentation scheduled for this week and the Lumia 630 and Lumia 930 are said to be on deck and ready to launch.

With Microsoft’s Build conference kicking off this week, it seems like the perfect time to make all of this news official, so expect a lot of Windows Phone announcements over the next several days.


share medium Windows Phone 8.1 Devices Launching April 23, Says Report