Fix: Surface Pro 4 Keyboard not Working

Surface Pro 4 is a detachable laptop-tablet which has gained lots of traction over the recent years. It features SkyLake CPUs and top-notch SSDs as well. The idea is that the keyboard on the laptop can be detached to convert the laptop to a tablet and vice versa.

Surface Pro 4 Keyboard

There were some instances where the Surface Pro 4’s keyboard stopped working. The computer either didn’t respond to it being attached or the computer stopped registering keystrokes of all a sudden. This was a very common scenario and occurred quite on and off according to users. In this solution, we will go through all the possible causes as to why this issue occurs and later on, go over the solutions on how to fix it.

What causes the Surface Pro 4’s Keyboard Not to Work?

Surface Pro 4’s keyboard is more prone to issues than other conventional laptop counterparts because it can be detached. Even though the idea seems simple, the keyboard has a separate firmware being used in parallel to the laptop detection software in the computer. Here are some of the reasons as to why these issues might occur:

  • Surface in Error State: Microsoft Surface Pro is known to get into error states quite often and cause bizarre issues. Simply power cycling it properly fixes the issues.
  • Firmware not Updated: If you have updated your Windows without attaching the keyboard, the keyboard’s firmware will not get updated. Running the Update again might solve the issue.
  • Surface Type Cover Filter Device Driver: Windows uses drivers for all the hardware components it uses. Surface Pro has an additional driver to provide the compatibility of the keyboard (type covers). If it isn’t updated, your keyboard will not work.
  • Keyboard/Type Cover connectors: The connectors (where your keyboard connects the surface) might have dust or material between the contacts. This might disrupt the communication between the two modules.
  • The keyboard is broken: There can also be a possibility that your keyboard/type cover is broken. In this case, you have to replace it entirely or get it fixed through third-party vendors.

Before we start with the solutions, make sure that you have all your work saved and data backed up. Also, we will be referring to the keyboard for the type cover. Both mean the same thing. Moreover, make sure the keyboard/type cover is enabled in UEFI/BIOS and working fine in that environment. If not, then follow the first two steps to troubleshoot the keyboard and if you are not able to solve then contact Microsoft support because most likely you are dealing with a faulty keyboard.

Also, if no solution works for you, then disconnect the keyboard/type cover from the Surface Pro and leave it without power so that all of its power is drained and then try the solutions again.

Solution 1: Check your Keyboard 

The first thing which you should check is whether your keyboard is indeed in a working condition. If your keyboard itself is broken or damaged, you will not be able to make it work even after troubleshooting all the solutions below.

Unplug the keyboard from your device and try connecting it with another Surface where its keyboard is working perfectly. If the keyboard works there, it probably means there are some issues in your device configuration. If it doesn’t work there, it means that the keyboard itself is broken. You can try solution 2 and even if that doesn’t work, consider getting it replaced or checked.

Solution 2: Clean Connectors

Another issue we came across was where the keyboard wasn’t connecting with the Surface properly because dust or other materials were blocking the connectivity. This usually occurs after you have been using the Surface for quite some time but didn’t take time to clean it.

Cleaning Keyboard Connectors

Turn off your Surface completely. Now take a clean cloth, apply a little alcohol and clean the connectors. You can also use a q-tip to clean more properly. After it is cleaned, give it around 2-3 minutes and then turn on your computer again. Now connect your keyboard and check if the issue is resolved.

Solution 3: Perform Two-Buttons Shutdown

If you have restarted your Surface and it still didn’t work, it probably means there are some issues with the connectivity modules of the device. Here a normal shutdown is not enough to fix the problems. We will be performing a two-button shutdown. This will clear all the temporary configurations and remove all the cache files as well. When we start the computer again, the files will be made by default again.

  1. Locate the power button on your device. Now press and hold it for around 30 seconds.
  2. Now press and hold the power button and volume-up (+) button at the same time for around 15 seconds and then release both. Do not let go even if you see the surface logo pop up.
    Performing two-button shutdown
  3. Now, wait for about a minute before starting your device again. After it has started, connect your keyboard and check if the issue is resolved and you can use all of its functionality.

Note: If you have Surface RT, 2, or 3, you need to force shutdown instead. This can be done by pressing and holding the power button of your device for about 10 seconds.

Solution 4: Update Windows

Microsoft releases frequent updates for fixing bugs or introducing new features. If you haven’t updated Windows for quite some time, it is recommended that you do right away. There have been similar cases in the past where the keyboard stopped working because of some issue in the operating system. After installing the updates, it worked perfectly. Make sure you are logged in as an administrator.

  1. Press Windows + S, type “update” in the dialogue box and open the application.
    Installing Latest Updates
  2. Now Settings will be opened up. Click the button Check for updates. Now your computer will automatically check for any latest updates available and install them on your computer.

Note: An active internet connection will be required to apply the updates. Also, make sure that your keyboard is attached during the update process.

Solution 5: Update Drivers

Another major component which can issues when using Surface Pro 4 keyboard are the keyboard drivers. As compared to other keyboards, the Surface keyboard comes with a specialized keyboard and with it, comes its specific drivers. They are very prone to updates my Microsoft as well.

Outdated/corrupted drivers can cause the keyboard not to work properly. In that case, uninstalling older/corrupted drivers and installing the updated drivers may solve the problem. Make sure that you are logged in as an administrator before proceeding.

  1. Press Windows key and type Control Panel. Then in the resulting list, click on Control Panel.
    Open Control Panel
  2. Now, under Hardware and Sound, click on Devices and Printers.
    Open Devices And Printers
  3. Now right-click on “Surface Type Cover” and select Properties.
  4. Now click on the Hardware tab. And then open the properties of each associated device and click on Uninstall for each device. Do not forget to check the option of delete drivers whenever the option is available.
  5. After completion of uninstalling the items (The Hardware tab will NOT update while uninstalling the items) close the window.
  6. Now press Windows key and type Device Manager. And in the resulting list, click on Device Manager.
    Device Manager in Windows Search Box
  7. Now in Device Manager, click on Action menu and then click on “Scan for Hardware Changes“.
    Scan for hardware changes
  8. Now expand “Firmware & Keyboards“. And update all drivers in Firmware by “Search Automatically for updated driver software“.
  9. Under Keyboards, several “HID Keyboard Device” will show. Update all drivers of the Keyboards by “Search Automatically for updated driver software
  10. Then restart the system and check if the problem is solved.

Solution 6: Update Firmware

Sometimes even Windows update slips and fails to update the firmware of your keyboard. This can be due to many causes such as you disconnecting the keyboard from the Surface during the update process or not having it plugged in. In this solution, we will navigate to Microsoft’s official website and after downloading the firmware, install it.

  1. Attach your keyboard with your Surface. Now turn it on and navigate to Microsoft’s official website for downloading drivers and firmware.
    Installing Latest Surface Drivers
  2. Now execute the executable by right-clicking it and selecting Run as administrator. After all the updates are installed, restart your computer and check if your keyboard works as expected.

Solution 7: Reset PC

If nothing has helped you so far, then resetting the PC may solve the problem. Resetting your PC will reset all your operating system configurations and preferences. This will also uninstall all your currently installed applications. Only perform the reset after you have backed up all your important files and configurations. Also, do note that this will delete all your user profiles as well.

Solution 8: Contact Microsoft Support

If even after performing all the above solutions your keyboard doesn’t work, you should move on and contact Microsoft Support or take it to the store if you have a warranty. If you have a warranty, the unit will get replaced.

If you don’t have a warranty and the support concludes that your keyboard is physically damaged, consider replacing it with a new one by yourself. You can easily get used ones on eBay or get a new one from Amazon or the Microsoft Store itself.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.