It works hard, plays hard, and goes everywhere with you. But with all that use, certain laptop parts can wear out. Even systems that still run perfectly well on the inside may suffer from problems on the outside. The most visible signs of aging and abuse are often found on the keyboard; keys may have stopped working after one or two accidentally spilled beverages, or cosmetic flaws, such as rubbed out letters, may have started to appear. But you don't need to replace your entire laptop, just the keyboard.
To find the right keyboard for your system, start by checking with the laptop manufacturer to see if they sell replacements. If not, spare part dealers, such as www.sparepartswarehouse.com, can help. This site has an online tool for locating parts. Simply enter the manufacturer, model line, series, and model number of your notebook. (eBay is another good source for new or used parts.) We found a keyboard for our aging Lenovo ThinkPad Z61t for $60.
Depending on the model and age of your laptop, a replacement can cost as little as $20 or as much as $130. Prices vary, so shop around for the best deal. Research a seller's history carefully, and check the return policy before you complete your purchase.
Once you have the replacement keyboard, swapping it for your old one will be easy. The entire process should take only 15 to 20 minutes.
Before you get started, gather these items:
- Replacement keyboard for your specific laptop model
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Tray for keeping loose screws
Step 1: Prepare Your Computer
- Turn off your laptop.
- Disconnect the AC adapter and any cables, then remove the battery.
- Turn the notebook over and let it cool off for a few moments before you begin.
Step 2: Remove the Screws Holding the Keyboard in Place
- On the underside of your laptop, you'll find screws holding the keyboard and palm rest in place. On our ThinkPad Z61t, all five holes were marked with small keyboard icons.
- Set the screws aside, and be sure to keep track of them all.
Step 3: Remove the Palm Rest
- Turn the laptop over and open the lid. Slide your fingers under the top of the palm rest and gently pull it up, moving from the center to the outer left and right edges.
- Leaving the fingerprint reader attached, place the palm rest down in front of the unit.
Step 4: Remove the Keyboard
- Lift the keyboard up from the front, then pull it toward you to release it from the laptop's frame.
- Pull up on the connector to detach.
Step 5: Insert the New Keyboard
- Attach the new keyboard's connector. Position it over the space vacated by the old connector, and press down firmly until it snaps into place.
- Slide the top of the keyboard under the lip of the frame (near the display). Ensure that the top edges are just under the frame.
- Tilt the keyboard down until it lays flat and sits flush with the top, left, and right edges of the frame.
Step 6: Attach the Palm Rest
- Align the bottom edge of the palm rest along the base of the frame, then press down until the top is also in place.
- Press firmly on the left and right edges to snap the palm rest into place again.
Step 7: Secure the Keyboard and Palm Rest
- Close the lid, and turn the laptop over.
- Replace all of the screws, making sure to tighten them securely.
- Insert the battery, plug in your AC adapter, and enjoy your new keyboard.