How to fix a Type Cover not working on a Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro 4 (with video)

How to fix a Type Cover not working on a Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro 4 (with video)

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A couple of years ago I wrote about how to fix keyboard problems with the original Surface RT and it remains a popular post on the site. I have come across another problem with the Surface Pro keyboard that causes it to not work at all looking like a major hardware issue but there is a surprisingly easy fix.

[Update – This fixes Surface 3 keyboard problems as well]

When you come to your Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro 4 and the keyboard and trackpad do not work at all here is a quick fix.

  1. Shutdown the Surface
  2. Hold down the Volume UP and Power Button at the same time for 10 seconds
  3. Power on the Surface (if it goes into the BIOS screen tap on Exit setup)
  4. The Surface will boot up and hopefully the keyboard will now work.

This worked for me and hopefully it will work for you. If parts of your keyboard are working then you should checkout my other solution.
Here is a video of how to fix it and if you like this tip please checkout my new Windows 10 book.

My new Windows 10 book, find out more here.
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175 thoughts on “How to fix a Type Cover not working on a Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro 4 (with video)

      1. Yes it certainly fixed the keyboard problem; in addition, it fixed the screen auto-rotate problem which occurred at the same time the keyboard stopped working. The screen had reverted to being upside down and would not auto-rotate, My interim fix for the screen was to rotate it using the rotate screen function and then fix it in that position. Auto-rotate It is now working perfectly. Thank you

  1. WOW! It works again!!! Thank you very, very much! Why don’t Microsoft write about this solution on their help-page!? Now I first followed their suggestion to clean the SurfacePro3 and therefore lost alot of programs and settings without any solution of the problem 🙁

  2. Does this method reset the surface pro to factory settings? I don’t want anything to happen to my programs that are already installed or anything else on my surface pro

    1. No it wont, it will work fine. Nothing will be deleted!! 🙂

      it might start updating, but dont be worried!! 🙂

      Have great day!

      Spring.

  3. You’re a genius, thank you so much! I got my type cover exchanged because it didn’t work anymore, but the new one didn’t work either. I was really afraid the tablet itself might have some damage, but this little trick made it work again 🙂

    1. Tried using multiple methods but this worked a charm. Can confirm that the two button start-up also works for the original Surface Pro (1).

  4. I have to add my kudos to you, Ian. This fixed my keyboard functionality problem as well as the simultaneous problem of having the display stuck in portrait mode. I’m shocked (but yet not) that Microsoft hasn’t found a solution, or at least recommended this fix.

      1. Would be nice if the Microsoft troubleshooting guide had this tip. I followed their guide, cleaning the connectors, shutting down, resetting etc all to no avail. Was on a Europe trip at the time and had to purchase a Bluetooth keyboard as I was unaware of this fix. Thanks Ian for posting this guide.

  5. I have been searching for a solution to this problem for months and I’ve purchased a new surface keyboard and a new bluetooth keyboard when I couldn’t get anything else to work. This is the first thing to actually work and it fixed problems I’d been having with docking station functions too. The hdmi output and sound were not working. After I followed your advice those problems are fixed too. Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Thank you so much for this tip! I was on the phone 2+ hours with Microsoft troubleshooting who finally sent me a new keyboard cover. When that one arrived and did not work, I decided to google the issue and specifically choose yours because you were NOT Microsoft. I’m so thankful I did.

  7. That suggestion worked PERFECTLY! Thanks much. . .such an easy fix for those who are “technologically challenged” to begin with!!!

  8. It worked! After spending an entire day trying all sorts of troubleshooting tips, finally came across this unbelievable fix suggested here. Thanks for saving a hundred bucks!

  9. Thanks to you, this worked for my Surface Pro 3! It had gone out before and I would just detach the keyboard from the tablet part and reattach and it would always work. Then that didn’t work at all. This made my week!!!

  10. this actually worked. thanks. i didn’t have too much confidence on these online fixes and was concern about clicking on nefarious links that could compromise my system. glad this tip work and thank you indeed. saved me time and headache:)

  11. THANK YOU. This is my second time with this problem. 1st time I called Microsoft and spent hours on phone. They made me reset my Surface which was a painful process, and it did not fix the problem. They sent me a keyboard, which did not fix the problem, then out of nowhere, the keyboard just started working again. I was dreading what I was going to have to do to get this fixed again, until I saw this post. Worked like a champ and I have bookmarked this page.

  12. Wow! This worked like a charm. Thanks for the help! I didn’t find this solution anywhere on the Microsoft help page! Thanks again!

  13. Just made my day. Not a solution Microsoft informs you about. I tried updating and a lot of other adwises from Microsoft. Nothing worked. THANKS 😉

  14. I went through all of Microsoft’s “solutions” and none of them worked. I do this once and PRESTO. Why is Microsoft NOT using this solution?

  15. There is another way to fix this without restart. Unplug the type cover and then go to the device manager and uninstall the keyboard. After uninstalling, just reconnect the type cover and it will install it self and then it’s up and running again.

  16. Thank you. I faced the same problem with my 2 month old Surface 3 LTE. The Type cover keyboard wasn’t working and after trying the steps that Ian has said, my gig just returned to normal with the keyboard now functioning as normal.

  17. Sorted – thanks! It saved the Surface Pro from taking a test with gravity… I was at the launch stage… phew, close call!

  18. It didn’t fix anything. Yes, it started working again, but the problem returns every so often. Where is the actual fix for this issue?

  19. It didn’t work for me at first, I tried a couple times and it still the same. I also tried one of the comment here to delete the keyboard in Device Manager, but you won’t be able to find the keyboard coz from the system perspective it is not connected. HOWEVER, I detached the keyboard and try the volume + power button again and let it restart, after that I connect the keyboard again and IT WORKSSSSSS. It also fixed the auto-rotate issue which caused me a lot of trouble when it failed to rotate to portrait once the keyboard didn’t work. THANK YOU Ian.

  20. Have an essay to do today and my keyboard packed in. After much panicking i came across this video. Was worried when it asked if i wanted to ‘reset’ after exit setup but i can vouch that this worked perfectly! Thanks a lot mate. Youve saved me huge amounts of stress!!

  21. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you! I just spent a half a day trying to get this figured out, then I finally found your page. It not only fixed my type cover, but also some things that weren’t working right with the dock. Very frustrating that this simple fix is nowhere to be found in the Microsoft online help. You’re a lifesaver.

  22. Thank You, it worked perfectly after refreshing my surface pro 2. After wasting so much time on microsoft forums =.=;… the answer is just this simple…

  23. Tried this and EVERY OTHER guide on how to fix this issue and none of them worked. i literally worked an entire day with just the touch screen and was furious. Then I tried something not mentioned anywhere else and it worked. it was so simple i didnt beleave it. SO before you go through all of this trouble, i would recommend that you try (and hear me out on this one because i was surprised myself) Simply disconnect the keyboard. screen can be on or off…. doesn’t matter. lick your finger. not sloppy wet… not dry… just right… slide it across the copper keyboard connection on the keyboard. reconnect the keyboard. Voila, works for me EVERY TIME. it appears that the connections arent great on these things so im sure something like electrical conductor grease would be a sound long term investment; however, in a pinch, in the middle of a meeting or, in the middle of a sentence, aint nobody got time for that crap… so try the wet finger trick. It’s worked well for me so far and it doesnt require rebooting your computer. Hopefully that helps.

    CS

  24. Damn. That worked! I was afraid I had to replace the keyboard or something. Thanks for the tip. I love my Surface, once again.

  25. OMG, not had a working keypad for over a week. Had been on to the Microsoft website but didn’t want to ‘refresh’ or reload before checking the keypad. Found out today that the keypad is fine so bit the bullet and tried your suggestion. Crazy how easy and effective this was. Wish I’d done it sooner. Thank you soooo much.

  26. I had an unresponsive mouse and keyboard. Awesome Video!! Quick, thorough instruction got me up and running in seconds. Thanks.

  27. Thank you so much! The keyboard stopped working just hours before several super important meetings I need to do for my master thesis. I was freaking out until you fixed my problem. You have no idea how thankful I am!

  28. Hey Ian, thanks for sharing this tip. Like many others who commented, searches on MS were not helpful but yours tip worked like a charm.

  29. After all the indifferent advice given on websites which didn’t work, this was the most simplest of quick fixes, thank you so much

  30. My Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Type Keyboard started to behave strange after the third week of usage, bought it brand new btw. It first started to have the Fn key pressed all the times, I assume this because everytime I pressed the F2,F3 without pressing the fn key the keyboard dimmed. Then all the keyboard keys failed to works and only the touch pad worked.

    After trying all the recommendations in this page without success, I passed my hand very hard all over the keys and it started to work again but a couple of minutes then went back to the same.

    I sprayed contact cleaner over the top pins and all over the keys and dried it with a towel, did this around 4 times soaking the keys in contact cleaner and now it works like a charm.

    So at the end it was some kind of false contact in one of the keys, probably caused by humidity or the oil the fingers release form time to time.

    Hope it helps!

  31. Please update this with whats on Microsoft since I thought it was same solution.
    On Microsoft they say
    -Hard shut down and
    -Push power + volume up for a WHOLE cycle, i.e. it will go into bios AND shutdown. while keep holding power + volume up.
    – After that it worked for me.

  32. I have tried the double button shutdown as listed, cleaning the cover and surface connectors, everything listed on all the forums I can find. Even went so far as to reset my computer completely and nothing has worked to get my keyboucover to work again. Any advice?? Do I just need to invest in a new keyboard cover? Would a new one even work if I’m having this issue? I don’t know what to do!! 🙁

  33. it doesn’t really fix the issue. The problems came back after you shutdown. If need to use keyboard, need to use the two button start-up every time when power on.

  34. Interesting! This does not work for me! However… If I follow your instructions and boot into the Bios, the keyboard and mouse work there. Exiting back to Windows and they don’t work anymore.

    Any ideas?????

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