Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fixing the keyboard of HP laptops

Service manual for HP pavilion laptops (11.2 MB) - click here
Manual for ze4900, Compaq nx9020, nx9030, nx9040, Presario 2200
Manual for other models such as ze4700
Options to buy HP laptop keyboards - click here
Discussion forum with links to many other HP manuals
Repairing the keyboards of Hewlett-Packard laptops


Suddenly it may happen that a group of keys on your Pavilion laptop (the most typical example is "G", "H", "Backspace", "apostrophe", and "F4") becomes intermittently insensitive. In some cases the problem only occurs when the notebook has been turned on for 10 minutes.


The Foxconn keyboard connector is poorly designed. As your computer is being used, it heats up and various materials in the connector expand at different rates. Consequently, the connector is moving. It becomes loose and after two months or so, some contacts are lost. Sometimes the problem can be solved temporarily if we apply mechanical pressure in the center-left region of the bottom side of the laptop.

A thrifty solution - reseating the connector:

Reseating the connector fixes the problem. Sometimes the problem returns after a couple of months; usually it is solved permanently. Don't be afraid to follow these instructions, HP laptop keyboard replacement with these step by step instructions is not difficult. A screwdriver is recommended but as you can see on the pictures, a pocket knife will do the job, too.
  • 1. Shut down the computer, unplug the AC adapter, and remove the battery.
  • 2. Close the display, and from the rear of the computer remove the two Phillips screws from the back of the plastic hinge covers. (zv series owners need to remove 4 screws on the hinge covers.)
Screw: leftScrew: right
Click the photograph to zoom in!
  • 3. Lean the display backward as far as possible, so that it is out of the way.

    CAUTION: Do not touch metal surfaces inside the computer until they have cooled off, especially if the computer has just been running.

  • 3a (only for zv series or Compaq Presario owners). Now you need to remove the four long screws beneath the computer that run into the bottom of the plastic cover in #4. Failure to do so will result in a broken cover.
  • 4. Carefully pry up the plastic cover above the keyboard at the hinges, using a flathead screwdriver, and remove it. Don't be too scared that you will break it trying to pry it off... It will pop off OK.
  • 5. Unscrew the four Phillips screws at the top of the keyboard. (They remain attached to the keyboard.)
Philips Screw 1Philips Screw 2
Philips Screw 3Philips Screw 4
Click an image to
zoom in!
  • 6. Slide the keyboard backward to detach it, then tilt it forward and turn it upside down.
  • 7. Carefully remove the keyboard connector from the motherboard. The motherboard is the part of the computer with the chips which will be exposed once the keyboard is removed. The connector looks like a film which is stuck to the keyboard and which extends into the motherboard. Carefully remove the end of the connector by loosening the plastic rectangle which is stuck into a slot in the motherboard; see the figure on the right.

This is the interior of an HP Pavilion N5425. In this photo, the flat silver-colored piece is the keyboard flipped upside down. Click the picture to zoom it in. Thanks to Jennifer Crook. A related picture of an IBM laptop.
  • 8. Make sure that the end of the connector is clean and dry. Replace the connector by pressing it back into the motherboard evenly and firmly, making sure it is in place tightly. Doing so will fully restore the connection between the motherboard and the keyboard.
  • 9. Tilt the keyboard back, slide the flanges on the front edge forward into the slots, and fasten the keyboard with the four attached Phillips screws at the top.
  • 10. Replace the plastic cover that is above the keyboard, front edge first.
  • 11. Hold both hinge covers and snap the plastic cover in place. If necessary, push downward at each end of the cover to secure it.
  • 12. Close the display and replace the two screws at the rear of the hinge covers.
  • 13. Insert the battery, connect the AC adapter, and press the reset button.

When the system boots up the keyboard problem will be solved, guaranteed, at least for 2 or 3 months, most likely for good.

Relevant models: 1500US , 1501CL , 1505US , 1507EA-XP , 1510US , 1515 , 1516US , 1520US , 1525US , 17XL375 , 2100US , 2101US , 2102US , 2105US , 2110US , 2117EA , 2118EA , 2120EA , 2120LA , 2125LA , 2130EA , 2130LA , 2134EA , 2135US , 2140CA , 2140US , 2141EA , 2144EA , 2145CA , 2145US , 2150LA , 2155US , 2158EA , 2161US , 2162US , 2170CA , 2170US , 2171US , 2172US , 2173EA , 2175CA , 2175US , 2178CL , 2180CA , 2182US , 2186RS , 2190US , 2195CA , 2195US , 2199US , 2585US , 2801CL , 2810 , 2815 , 2817 , 2818 , 2822 , 2825 , 4100 , 4150 , 500 , 510 , 6000 , 6100 , 700US , 700Z , 701CL , 721AP , 722US , 730LA , 730US , 731AP , 732 , 732US , 733 , 735LA , 736 , 800CT , 900 , 900US , 902 , 905US , 906US , 907 , 910US , 915 , 915US , 920 , 920US , HA-Fabric Manager OmniBook Server , M700 , N1000 , N1000c , N1000v , N1000v with iPAQ H3850 , N1005v , N1015v , N1015v with iPAQ Pocket PC H1910 , N1020v , N1020v with iPAQ Pocket PC H1910 , N1050v , N110 , N115 , N160 , N160 with HP iPAQ H3850 , N3150 , N3250 , N3270 , N3290 , N3295 , N3310 , N3330 , N3350 , N3370 , N3390 , N3410 , N400 , N400c , N410c , N410c with iPAQ H3850 , N410c with iPAQ Pocket PC H1910 , N5130 , N5135 , N5170 , N5190 , N5195 , N5210 , N5240 , N5250 , N5310 , N5311L , N5340 , N5350 , N5351 , N5412l , N5415 , N5420L , N5421 , N5422L , N5425 , N5430 , N5435 , N5442 , N5452 , N5462 , N5475 , N600c , N600c with iPAQ H3850 , N610c , N610c with iPAQ H3850 , N610c with iPAQ Pocket PC H1910 , N620c , N6395 , N800c , N800c with iPAQ Pocket PC H1910 , N800v , N800v with iPAQ Pocket PC H1910 , N800w , Nc4000 , Nc4010 , Nc6000 , nx9000 , nx9005 , nx9008 , Nx9010 , Nx9010 Administrative Image , Nx9010 Student Image , Nx9020 , Nx9030 , SOJOURN , vt6200 , XE , XE2 , XE3 , XE3L , xe4100 , xe4400s , xe4500 , xe4500s , Xf125 , xf145 , xf255 , Xf328 , xf335 , Xh365 , Xh535 , XT1000 , Xt155 , XT6050 , xt6200 , ze1110 , ze1115 , ze1201 , ze1210 , ze1230 , ze1250 , ze4100 , ze4101 , ze4102 , ze4111s , ze4115 , ze4120s , ze4125 , ze4130 , ze4145 , ze4208s , ze4209 , ze4210 , ze4219 , ze4220 , ze4230 , ze4232s , ze4234s , ze4282s , ze4315us , ze4325us , ze4345 , Ze4347EA , ze4365us , Ze4367EA , ze4401us , ze4402us , ze4404EA , ze4420us , ze4430us , Ze4501us , Ze4502us , ze4510OM , ze4525US , Ze4540CA , ze4540us , Ze4545us , Ze4546SR , Ze4547wm , ze4560us , Ze4600 , Ze4601us , Ze4610us , Ze4630US , Ze4805us , ze5185 , ze5365us , ze5417LA , ze5427LA , ze5447LA , Ze5497LA , Ze5547wm , Ze5568cl , Ze5580US , Ze5637LA , zt1121s , zt1122s , zt1130 , zt1131s , zt1135 , zt1141 , zt1151s , zt1152 , zt1155 , zt1162 , zt1171 , Zt1271 , zu1155 , zu1175

Modification of the procedure for the notebooks such as N3270

I skipped Step #2 and Step #3 on your procedure list, because the N3270 hinges are disconnected from the plastic cover, so when I do step #4, I just pry up the plastic cover above the keyboard at itself (there are no screws) instead of at the hinges. Step #5 and further are the same on my model. ... Aaron Shen

A few changes that some people with the HP Pavilion ZT1000 series laptops should know:

1. The screws on the back of the LCD panel are covered by black rubber "stickers". They can peel those off with a knife or screwdriver, to see the screws.

2. There are only 3 screws, not 4, to take the keyboard off. Justin

Other computers

Compaq Presario, Acer Ferrari, Omnibook, Flash


  1. Thanks god for this great page! My HP Pavilion ze4500 is running again thanks to you. Have a nice day!

  2. Wow... GREAT article!!! Extremely helpful! My G, H, Backspace, F4, and '" keys had stopped working, exactly like you said. This fixed it perfectly! Providence was on my side, thanks to you. Way to come through!

  3. my ht zt1150 keyboard is dead, i replaced it , reconnected the ribbon about 10 times, does not work. It did work sporadically but I had other keys not working like enter , i get the infamous beeps now. Computer is fine but keyboard does not work.

  4. my ht zt1150 keyboard is dead, i replaced it , reconnected the ribbon about 10 times, does not work. It did work sporadically but I had other keys not working like enter , i get the infamous beeps now. Computer is fine but keyboard does not work.

  5. Dude! You are a genius! This post kept an HP zt1175 from going into the trash. My R T F G V and B keys just stopped working and have not worked in a year. I knew you were onto something when I pressed on the lower part of the laptop and they started working, but only for a couple of hours. Now, I've reseated the keyboard, and the keys are working for a whole day now.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  6. Great instructions but it ended up not working for me (hp pavilion ze4101). First attempted to reseat the ribbon, then bought a replacement keyboard and installed that. Problem remains (mostly a with keys Q, R, B, N, and spacebar). I'm wondering whether the port itself can be damaged.

  7. Thanks a lot. my up arrow and g and ' were giving trouble on my omnibook 500. i removed the key board and removed the ribbon of the mouse. now the key board is working perfectly. and i have an external mouse. thank you so much.

  8. In reference to my earlier post, I also have a left "mouse" button (below the touchpad)that requires multiple clicks to register properly. I'm wondering whether the keyboard problem and this one are related in some way . . .

  9. Mmmmmmmm..... the problem with my HP nx9010 was a bit different. It seemed like "shift" key was always pressed... this procedure solved that too. On the other hand, my "space" key was fisically broken so I was searching for a way to disable onboard laptop keyboard and get rid of both annoying problems. I've removed it following your instructions, connected an external USB keyboard and I'm very happy with my new life. Thanks a lot for your dedication!

    Catalonia is not Spain!

  10. You are a GOD
    I was to close to buy a new keyboard. Although I managed myself to reach the keyboard it never crossed my mind to clear the contacts. It works perfectly now. Again, and again

  11. You are a GOD
    I was to close to buy a new keyboard. Although I managed myself to reach the keyboard it never crossed my mind to clear the contacts. It works perfectly now. Again, and again

  12. Thanks so much. I have a n5350 and have been looking for this fix for 2 years now. I haven't done it yet as my keyboard seemed to fix itself, but the keys were the ones you listed. When this happen again I am sure this fix will work. And thank for putting in on the web. James

  13. Nice post with
    awesome points! Can’t wait for the next one.

    HP - 15.6"Pavilion Notebook 4 GB Memory - 640 GB Hard

  14. you rock man, i have an HPZT1175 with RAM memory slot under the keyboard, the one you show has a very similar harware, this fix gave new life to it

  15. Cool, that's an amusing comment, like from a time machine. I still have the HP laptop shown on the picture even though it was bought in 2001. But I am no longer using it. It became too slow. And XP isn't even safe today. The battery sort of died and there are other issues, imperfect results of chkdsk check of the hard disk, but the keyboard has worked flawlessly during the whole decade after it was fixed.

    Interestingly enough, my new (bought 2012) Packard Bell has some trouble with sometimes insensitive keys like a,c,f,n,alt as well. I ignore it and use the external keyboard. That keyboard sometimes doesn't type "Q" :-) but with some effort, this is a perfectly fine bug. I can't risk destroying the laptop, that would be vastly worse than some minor hassles with the keyboard.

    My estimate is that the HP laptop has actually been fully repaid from ads on the pages about its fixing - before it was copied on this blog.

  16. No doubt, a lose laptop key can be fixed, but when it comes to broken or damaged keys, you need to go with complete key replacement. I went through a post that given me deep information about key replacement.

  17. Awesome post.
    Valuable and interesting information.
    Thanks for sharing with us.