The keyboard is one of the most important PC peripherals, and it must function properly if you are to interact with your computer in any meaningful way. However, if a few keys are not working properly, you may be forced to disable the keyboard.
If you’re going to be absent from work, school, or home, keeping your keyboard disabled is a good security precaution. Knowing how to do this is especially important if you have children or pets at home, so you don’t get a blur of nonsensical noises when the keys are accidentally pressed.
Using Device Manager, temporarily disable the keyboard.
In the Device Manager, you can disable your keyboard for the current session. Here’s how to do it:
Disable your laptop’s built-in keyboard.
- Select Device Manager from the Start Menu by right-clicking on it.
- Then, before Keyboards, click the arrow to expand it.
- Uninstall Device by right-clicking on your PS/2 keyboard (built-in keyboard).
- When prompted, click Uninstall once more.
- Your keyboard is now disabled, at least until the next reboot.
Disable external keyboard
- If you have an external keyboard connected and want to disable it, go to the same Keyboards branch as before in ‘Device Manager’ and select your USB keyboard. It will most likely be known as the HID Keyboard Device.
- Select Uninstall Device from the context menu when you right-click on it.
- For the time being, your external keyboard is disabled. When you restart your system, Windows will detect that the device drivers are missing and will automatically install them, restoring keyboard functionality. So, for a more permanent solution, see the section below.
How to Disable Your Keyboard Permanently
There are a few ways to permanently disable your keyboard, the most common of which is to prevent Windows from installing keyboard drivers. Let’s take a look at all the ways the keyboard can be disabled even after a restart.
Using Group Policy Editor, prevent Windows from installing keyboard drivers.
To prevent Windows from installing keyboard drivers after a reboot, we’ll use the Group Policy Editor to enable a device installation restriction. Here’s how to do it:
- First, launch Device Manager (select it after right-clicking Start). Increase the size of the Keyboards branch.
- Select Properties by right-clicking on your keyboard.
- Navigate to the Details tab.
- Select Hardware Ids from the drop-down menu under ‘Property.’
- Under it, you’ll see three hardware values.
- Please keep this window open. Now, press Win + R to open the RUN dialog box, type gpedit.msc, and press Enter.
- Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Device Installation > Device Installation Restrictions.
- Double-click Prevent installation of devices that match any of these device IDs on the right.
- Choose Enabled.
- Then, under ‘Options,’ select Show.
- This will bring up a window labeled ‘Show Contents.’
- Return to the Keyboard properties window you previously opened from the Device Manager, right-click on the first value in the list, and select Copy.
- Return to the ‘Show Contents’ window and select ‘Value’. Then, press Ctrl + V to paste the hardware ID into that box.
- Click the OK button.
- Click OK once more.
- Return to the Keyboards section of Device Manager, right-click your keyboard, and then select Uninstall device.
This will disable the keyboard, and the next time you restart your PC, your keyboard device will not install automatically, resulting in the keyboard being permanently disabled.
If your keyboard works after rebooting, try copying and pasting other available hardware IDs for the device installation restriction policy.
Using System Properties, you can disable automatic keyboard updates.
When hardware drivers are missing, Windows has a separate feature that automatically updates them. But you don’t want this to happen if you want to permanently disable your keyboard. So, to disable this feature, we’re going to use System Properties. Here’s how to do it:
- To open the RUN dialog box, press Win + R, then type sysdm.cpl and press Enter.
- Navigate to the Hardware tab.
- Select Device Installation Settings from the drop-down menu.
- Select No.
- Then press the Save Changes button.
- On the ‘System Properties’ window, click OK.
- When you restart your computer after disabling your keyboard drivers in Device Manager, it will remain disabled.
Use the wrong driver for your keyboard (so it doesn’t work)
This rather ingenious workaround for permanently disabling your keyboard is not recommended, especially if your touchpad and keyboard use the same driver. It is also known to cause BSODs on Windows, so use this method only if all other options have failed and you must disable your keyboard immediately.
Here’s how to install incompatible drivers for your keyboard, rendering it inoperable and permanently disabled:
- As previously demonstrated, launch Device Manager (right-click Start and choose Device Manager). Expand the Keyboards section, right-click on your keyboard driver, and then select Update Driver.
- Select Look through my computer for driver software.
- Select Allow me to select a driver from a list of available drivers on my computer.
- Check that there is no check before displaying compatible hardware.
- Now, on the left, scroll through the list of manufacturers and select any manufacturer other than your own. For instance, we have an HP computer, but we’ve chosen Compaq as the manufacturer.
- Then, on the right, choose a model.
- Next, press the Next button.
- When prompted, press the Yes button.
- Start your computer again.
Your keyboard will now no longer function. If you want to use it again, go to Update drivers and select Search automatically for drivers.
Disable the PS/2 port service in the Command Prompt.
Because most laptops are connected internally via PS/2 ports, you can also disable the service that controls this port, effectively disabling the keyboard. Here’s how you can go about it:
- Start, type cmd, and then select Run as administrator.
- To disable the PS/2 port service, enter the following command:
- sc config i8042prt start= disabled
- Enter your password. When you see the “ChangeServiceConfig SUCCESS” message, you know your PS/2 port service has been disabled and your keyboard will no longer work the next time you reboot your system.
- Type the following command to re-enable the PS/2 port service: sc config i8042prt start= auto
- Then press the Enter key.
To disable the keyboard, use third-party application.
Disabling the keyboard, whether temporarily or permanently, has drawbacks, particularly if you’re using a laptop and don’t have an external keyboard connected. Furthermore, disabling the entire keyboard because a few keys are causing you problems may seem excessive. That is where third-party applications come in to help. Let’s look at a few of them.
- Although it is an old application, Keyboard Locker still does the job well because its sole purpose is to lock the keyboard.
- Download the application from the above link and extract its contents with an archive tool. Then double-click keyboardlock.exe to start it.
- The application runs and minimizes in the system tray by default. Keyboard Locker can be found in the system tray.
- If you can’t find it there, look for it by clicking the upward arrow to the right of the taskbar.
- To lock your keyboard, right-click on it and select Lock.
- When you’re ready to use it, right-click it again and select Unlock.
- BlueLife KeyFreeze is another application that simplifies disabling your keyboard when you’re AFK.
- Using an archive tool, unzip the contents of the downloaded file. Then, double-click KeyFreeze.exe (KeyFreeze x64.exe for 64-bit architecture) to disable the keyboard.
- The lock command will be canceled after 5 seconds.
- The application will then lock the keyboard. It will also lock the mouse by default. To disable the lock, use the default hotkey combination Ctrl + Alt + F.
- To configure KeyFreeze so that only the keyboard is locked, first right-click on the padlock in the taskbar’s upper right corner and select Options.
- Uncheck the box that says “Lock mouse keys.”
- You can also change the lock/unlock hotkey here.
- When you’re happy with the configuration you’ve chosen, click Apply options.
- This ensures that the next time you press the KeyFreeze hotkey, only the keyboard will be locked.
- This is yet another keyboard locker that allows you to disable the keyboard and password protect the function.
- Download and extract the application from the above link. Then double-click the KeyboardLock.exe file to launch it.
- The password that you must enter to lock/unlock your keyboard and mouse will be displayed in the application. To proceed, press the Start button.
- Then enter the given password to secure it.
- Now, whenever you need to unlock the keyboard and mouse, simply type the password again. The only issue with this application is that there is no option to not lock the mouse.