5 Tips to Fix the Enter Key Not Working (#5 is the Best Solution)

Out of all the keys in your keyboard, the enter key is perhaps the most important one since it’s used all the time for a number of frequently used functions. So, what do you do if you wake up one morning and find your enter key not working? 

There are several reasons why your enter key might stop functioning. However, before you start rushing to get a new keyboard, you might want to first make sure that the problem is indeed in your hardware. Here’s everything that you need to know to troubleshoot the problem and fix the issue.

What Is Enter Key Used for?

Most keys on the keyboard have either one simple function or command embedded in them. That’s why they might have limited use cases. However, the enter key can be used for a wide number of tasks.

Originally known as the “Return Key,” the enter key signals your computer to execute a command. It’s typically used as an alternative for clicking the highlighted OK button. 

Paragraphing in word processing software is also another one of its functions. Many people prefer to use the enter key instead of clicking with the mouse to run programs, making it one of the most frequently used keyboard keys.

What Do I Do If My Enter Key Doesn’t Work?

Use your computer without a functioning enter key can be quite difficult. This problem can be caused by issues with either your hardware or your software, or both. 

If your enter key stopped working one day without any previous signs, it might be because of a faulty/outdated keyboard driver or system configuration issue instead of an inherent problem with the hardware. Here are a few ways you can identify and fix the problem.

Solution 1: Rebooting

The first solution we reach for whenever we run into an error is to reboot. Oftentimes, enter keys might stop working due to a temporary glitch in the system or configuration issue. 

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So, the first step is to simply turn your computer off and turn it back on. If the problem persists after restarting, you can move on to the next solution.

Solution 2: Reinstalling your keyboard driver

The reason your enter key stopped working may be due to a faulty driver. In order to fix it, you have to reinstall your keyboard driver with the Device Manager. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the Run command window by pressing the Windows key and R at the same time. Type devmgmt.msc in the dialogue box and click OK. The Device manager window will open up.

Step 2: Locate your keyboard under the Keyboards section and right-click on it. 

Step 3: Select Uninstall device. After the uninstallation, reboot to let windows automatically restore your keyboard driver.

Step 4: Check if your enter key is working.

If your enter key is still not working, you can try the next solution below.

Solution 3: Update Your Keyboard Driver

There are two methods to update your keyboard driver. Here are your options:

1. Manually

You can find the exact driver for your keyboard by going to the manufacturer’s website and locating your model. Download and follow the steps to install it.

2. Automatically

Follow the steps below to automatically update your keyboard driver.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and R at the same time. Type devmgmt.msc in the dialogue box and click OK.

Step 2: Locate your keyboard under the Keyboards section and right-click on it. 

Step 3: Select Update driver and then Search automatically for updated driver software.

Alternatively, you can use third-party software that will automatically detect and update the driver for you.

Solution 4: Modifying Keyboard Settings

Sometimes Ease-of-Access settings like Sticky Keys, Filter Keys, and Toggle Keys can cause the enter key to stop functioning. You can try turning these features off to fix your non-functioning enter key. Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Press the Windows key and type Ease of Access in the search box.

Step 2: Select Ease of Access Keyboard Settings. A new window will open.

Step 3: Toggle the Use Sticky Keys, Use Filter Keys and Use Toggle Keys options off.

Step 4: Restart your computer.

Solution 5: Remap your Enter key

Although gaming keyboards come with software that lets you remap your keys but if you have a normal keyboard that is not programmable, the following method is the best solution for you. Here’s how you can remap a standard keyboard:

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Step 1: Go to this URL https://github.com/randyrants/sharpkeys and download the open-source software called SharpKeys or directly download from this link.

sharpkeys download page

Step 2: Open the SharpKeys and Click on Add button.

sharpkeys 3.9.2

Step 3: Select your not working Enter key from the first list. Then from the second list, select the alternative key you want to use for your Enter key. You can also select the alternative key by pressing directly using the Type key option and then click OK.

sharpkeys 3.9.2 add new key mapping
sharpkeys 3.9.2 key mapping

Step 4: Now click on Write to Registry and the success notification will pop up. Then click OK.

sharpkeys write to registry

Step 5: Reboot your computer and now you can use your alternative key for your non-functioning enter key.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enable the Enter key on my keyboard?

Click the Search icon in your taskbar. Type “Ease of Access” (without the quotes) into the box that says ” Type here to search.” From the list of results, choose Ease of Access Keyboard Settings. Turn off Sticky Keys, Toggle Keys, and Filter Keys by toggling the switch.

What can I use instead of Enter key?

Most full-size PC keyboards have two Enter keys, one above the right Shift key and the other to the right of the numeric keypad. The arrow symbol points down and to the left on the Enter key.

Why is my Enter key stuck?

Remove any crumbs or other things that are getting in the way of the key or the hinges. You can help by using tweezers or toothpicks. Sticky spots can be cleaned with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Make sure the swab doesn’t have so much alcohol that it drips.

How do I reset my keyboard?

Get your keyboard unplugged. Hold down the ESC key while the keyboard is unplugged. Plug the keyboard back into your computer while you hold down the ESC key. Let go of the ESC key after about 5 seconds. If the reset is successful, the keyboard illumination will flash.

Why don’t certain keys on my keyboard work?

Over time, dust, dirt, hair, and other things can get into the keyboard and make it hard for a key to move or mess up its circuitry. If a key isn’t working, try taking it out and cleaning the area under and around it.

How do you clean Sticky Keys?

Get a bottle of alcohol. Isopropyl or something similar is best. Put the computer to sleep. Unplug the keyboard. Carefully take out the keys that don’t work. Put some alcohol on a cotton swab, and then use it to clean the keys and plungers.

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How do I fix a key that won’t work?

If the keycap is loose but still attached to the laptop, pressing down on the keycap can often fix the problem. If the keycap goes back on, you will hear a snap when you press down on the key. If this doesn’t solve the problem, we recommend taking the key off so it can be put back on.

Final Words

When your enter key is not working, it can cause a ton of headaches. However, you might be able to troubleshoot the issue without buying a new keyboard. Follow the steps we’ve mentioned, and you can fix your non-functioning enter key by yourself. 

If your enter key is still not working, then it most likely is an issue with your hardware. Check if the problem remains after plugging the keyboard into a different computer. If it does, it might be time for you to get yourself a new keyboard. Besides the keyboard, the issue can also be caused by a faulty USB port.

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Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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