Can I use an external keyboard with my laptop?

Go ahead. Plug it in... unless your keyboard is not USB. In that case, you may have a problem.

I just got a new Lenovo laptop and I’m having the darnedest time typing on it. I’m upgrading from a PC. I used to use this wonderful Windows ergonomic keyboard, which I loved and cherished. I had no issues or problems and I knew where everything was. With all of these newly built laptops now, I’m forced to keep my palms straight and elbows in. I can’t stand it. I constantly miss keys, touching the middle pad thingy. I’m constantly misspelling words, going back and backspacing words because I’ve hit the Enter key instead of the Shift key, cursing like mad. I’m going insane. Is there any way that I can just plug my old ergonomic keyboard back into the USB port, slap cardboard over the laptop keyboard, and go about my regular carefree life? Please say there’s a way!

I feel your pain. My dissatisfaction with the keyboard on my Microsoft Surface prevents me from using it more. It’s not a bad keyboard. I’m sure that it works well for most people. It’s just not particularly suited for my large hands and fat fingers.


The short answer to your question is yes. If you have a USB-plug keyboard, plug it in. It should start working in a few seconds. I do it all the time.

In fact, I have a friend who’s borrowing a laptop of mine that has a bad key on it. Rather than swapping out the laptop based on its usage, it’s more effective to just give her use a USB keyboard to use with it.

USB KeyboardThe only time that this may not work is if you’re dealing with an older keyboard – one with the round plugs at the end of its cable: the PS2 port, the PS2 connector, or the DIN connector. While there may be some USB adapters available for those, they may not work in a situation like this.

But if your keyboard is USB, plug it in! You can even plug in more than one keyboard. It will work.


  1. BaliRob

    Just remember to make sure that the two keyboards are sympathetic or you can find that there are some irritants to put up with regarding the less important keys
    being in another position to that which you expect. I know, I have tried it – an Acer is not the best at being compatible. Also, Leo’s suggestion that you can use two keyboards (I know he was joking) but you can overload the laptop’s ability to cope
    with additional plugins.

    • Actually I’ve never heard of a problem plugging in multiple keyboards. Keyboard processing is such a small task for the computer I don’t expect it to have problems coping.

      • Tai

        I forgot to mention that the new Lenovo laptop I purchased was a TELETYPE keyboard, which I never bothered to notice when I bought it (I know, duh!), But THANK you for all your responses, especially you Leo, I’ll plug’er in and give’er a try. It’s so good to know!

    • Reid

      Leo is correct: one can have several keyboards plugged in at once. Heck, just for the fun of it, I plugged three USB keyboards into a laptop and they all worked just fine, including the laptop’s keyboard. Were there enough USB ports, you could plug a hundred in and the laptop could cope.

  2. Earl

    Have you had any experiences with ‘intermittent’ laptop screens? When I move the screen it planks out (goes all crazy)…I would appreciate your feedback…

  3. Tony

    Yes PS2 to USB adapters actually work. A few years ago when still new to technology, we bought a keyboard at a special price due to the irritation of laptop keyboards not having the number pad. Imagine our surprise to discover it had a round connector which could fit nowhere on our laptop.

    Most stores did NOT have the adapter but we persisted and finally got one which is still working now.

  4. James

    Unless I’m traveling, I usually use my laptop with a USB keyboard and mouse. It just works a whole lot better.

    When I travel, I usually still bring the mouse and turn off the touchpad. I’ve done too many accidental things, even after turning down the sensitivity.

    About the only time the touchpad gets used is when either me or my wife (the one of us who is NOT driving) is using the laptop to work the GPS software and figure out where we went wrong :)

  5. abir mojumder

    OK i was hoping that this will work. if i connect an external keyboard with the usb port, can i use it while in BIOS or at the initial windows user login screen, my laptops’s keyboard port with the motherboard was damaged , so i was just asking,

  6. Cheyenne

    I’m trying to use a USB one instead of the stock one because its damaged but how can I disable the one to rely on the USB one entirely?? The shift key is stuck which is messing with my USB keyboard

  7. IamAlice

    I also want to use a USB keyboard on this dang Toshiba Satellite I use from my workplace. there is a problem with the keyboard software, or interface. or something – which apparently is something Toshiba has yet to fix – it is NOT the touch pad, not the driver and not the keyboard. I’ve spent the last year trying to fix it and it cannot be fixed. I am now getting an external USB keyboard for it. Is there a way to disable the laptop keyboard then. If it will still work even with the USB keyboard plugged in then the problem I am having with it will still creep up to create problems if the USB keyboard is sitting on top of it. Summary: I want to TURN OFF the laptop keyboard so I can use the external one with no worry of interference from the laptop keyboard. Many Thanks for sharing your advice :)

  8. Deepanjan Banik

    Hello, I would like to say that I have a old keyboard with ps/2 plugin (round). But recently I bought a laptop which has no ps/2 plugin point, but only usb hubs. I had got a habit of typing with my old keyboard,. Is there any way to keep my old key.board in use ? .Can I somehow connect it to my laptop with any sort of external device, which will work properly ? . Please help me sort out this matter… I shall be kind enough to you….. thanks

  9. David Pledger

    Hi. Purchased a USB dynex keyboard. Hp Elitebook 8440p will not install the keyboard. Error 43. Tried uninstalling/reinstalling in Device manager. Says software is okay. Not sure how to proceed.

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