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How To Remove a Key From Your Keyboard

posted at 1:17 pm
on May. 28, 2005

Comments: 9 so far



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My buddy Darren spilled root beer on his semicolon key and let it dry.  As I started to explain to him how to fix it, I realized that this knowledge could help countless other sticky spillers.  So, here’s how to remove a key from your keyboard, as taught to me by tech support god Ron.

First, make your self a KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) out a paper clip. Use a big paper clip, you’ll need the tensile strength.

Insert one side of the paper clip—I mean KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending)—under the edge of the key you wish to remove. I’ve chosen the “control” key because it’s easiest to take pictures of. You should probably choose the key that is sticky.

Now, once you have one side of the pa…—KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending)—caught under the key, pivot and slide the other side of the KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) under the key. This may require both hands.

For keys in the middle of the keyboard, this may also require torcing the KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) to allow the other KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) tong to slide under the key.

For some keyboards, it may also be helpful to depress the key, so that there’s more room at the base of the key for the KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) tong to fit. Whether you choose to have your text editor open so you can capture the random things you type during this time, is up to you.

Once both KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) tongs are under the key at opposite corners, pull firmly but gently upwards. If your keys are detachable, they will detach.

If your keys are not detachable, they will break off. Either way, you will now be able to clean under the key.

This is what the key will look like, detached. You can see that the KeyPopper(tm) (patent pending) has suffered no harm and can be used to remove the other 120 or so keys.

Warning: Don’t try this with the space bar, it has a different mechanism. There’s a metal lever under it, and you need to pull it in a different direction.

Most modern caps lock keys are attached the same way, but again, be conservative, and if you have any hesitation, don’t go through with it.

It is possible to put the keys back in the wrong order, or in the wrong orientation. They may not have the same smooth action as before, or may feel slightly off kilter under your fingers, but it’s totally worth it for the look you get from your mom when she comes over and wants to check her email.

I’ve had people ask me how to move the cursor up and down, if all the arrows are pointing right….



Previous entry:
The Charmed Life

Next entry:
The Austerity Plan


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For the past three years, I've been happily using a Microsoft Natural Multimedia keyboard for my Windows desktop. It's got an split, ergonomic keyboard and handy buttons for controlling volume and the like (though, the play button gets confused between...


Posted by
  at 1:45 pm on May. 28, 2005




In the same general thematic area:

Don't disassemble - wash that sucker!


Posted by Justin
  at 11:33 am on May. 31, 2005




ok... so why didnt i see this before popping off my space bar?? better yet... how do i fix it now? i have a micro innovations wireless keyboard. actually i didnt pop it off... my cat knocked it off my desk... and ran. brat! magically the space bar popped off and it hasnt been right since. now i have to slam it to work..which is really annoying cuz i'm a fast typer and if i'm not paying attention mywordsstarttostringtogether.

i've re-removed it and attempted to clean it but still no luck. any suggestions on how to fix it? thanks!


Posted by Kelly
  at 7:29 pm on Jan. 24, 2007




"If your keys are not detachable, they will break off. Either way, you will now be able to clean under the key."

LMAO! Very funny. I found your site after searching for ways to clean keyboards. I chose your option over another search result that suggested that I put my keyboard in the dishwasher. ROFLMAO!!!

Now, I must go lie down. For some reason I'm dizzy after scrolling through your site. :D


Posted by Paul
  at 12:26 pm on May. 12, 2008




Just a quick thank you! I just found this site after getting delivery of a used ergo keyboard with a right arrow key that didn't work. 3 minutes later, I had removed the key and the hardened little turd that was causing the problem, and everything was working as it should be. Best of luck with your patent filing and let me know if I owe you any royalties for having built my own KeyPopper smile


Posted by Liz
  at 2:17 pm on Aug. 3, 2009




i like how my scroll wheel scrolls to the left and right when there is no vertical variable.



Posted by bkdude
  at 1:46 am on Nov. 23, 2009




Does this work on a laptop keyboard? I think I got a small popcorn under the 's' button on my dads computer. Please anwer smile


Posted by laptophaha
  at 2:10 pm on Dec. 5, 2009




I used two small flathead screw drivers to pop the key off, used a 50/50 rubbing alcohol/water solution to get the gunk off.
Worked great, I am back in business right now as I type this.
Thanks for your article, much appreciated!


Posted by Jason
  at 2:32 pm on Dec. 20, 2009




i use a pencel or my hands to get keys off


Posted by HI
  at 3:33 am on Feb. 28, 2010

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