You may need to disable your laptop keyboard simply because it is damaged and would like to use an external one instead. This is particularly the case for users experiencing the ‘phantom key’ problem (a keyboard malfunction whereby the keys may press themselves).

Other users only need to temporarily disable the inbuilt keyboard and use an alternative input method for gaming applications.

While most laptops are designed to automatically disable the touchpad when an external mouse is inserted, they cannot automatically disable the keyboard.

If you need to use an external keyboard on your laptop, you will have to manually disable the inbuilt keyboard. Throughout this guide, you will learn how you can achieve this with ease.

How to Disable Laptop Keyboard Windows 10

Method 1:Through the Device Manager

If you wonder how you can disable the laptop keyboard in BIOS, this method will help you do just that. To begin with, you need to open the Device Manager. To do this, you should follow this procedure:

Step 1: Open the Device Manager  

Press and hold the Windows + R keys combination to open a Run dialog box. Now type devmgmt.msc into this dialog box and press Enter to run the command. Running this company will automatically open the Device Manager on your computer.

Step 2:Disable the Built-in Keyboard 

On the Device Manager, Locate the Keyboards category and double-click on it to open it. This operation will display all the keyboards currently connected to the computer. At this point, you need to find the built-in keyboard on this list and select it.

You should then right-click on the built-in keyboard entry and select Disable from the context menu that comes up. Click on the ‘Yes’ button on the confirmation prompt that pops up to confirm this action.

If the context menu( the one you get after right-clicking on the keyboard) does not have the Disable option, you should select the Uninstall option.

Rather than just disabling the keyboard, this operation will uninstall the drivers for the built-in keyboard entirely. When you select the Uninstall option, you will also get a dialog box asking you to confirm the action. Click on the OK button.

How to Disable Auto Driver Reinstall Windows 10

If you happen to uninstall the built-in keyboard drivers rather than disabling the keyboard, the OS may automatically update the driver at a later date. If that happens, you will need to repeat the above-described procedure to uninstall it yet again.

Since this will be happening every time the computer detects the built-in keyboard, the process can be really tedious. The simplest fix for this problem would be to disable the automatic reinstallation of the drivers you have uninstalled.

This is how you should go about it:

Step 1: Press the Windows + R keys combination to open a Run dialog box.

Step 2: type system.cpl into the dialog box and press Enter.

Step 3: On the window that comes up, navigate to the Hardware tab

Step4: Now open the ‘Device Installation Settings’ and Choose the NO option

Step 5: Click on the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom of the window, and close it.

Method 2:Disable Laptop Keyboard Using the Group Policy Editor

You may also use the Group Policy Editor to disable the laptop keyboard when an external keyboard is plugged in. You need to note that the policy editor is only available on the Windows Enterprise and Windows Pro versions of Windows 10.

This method is particularly useful if you are unable to disable the built-in keyboard from the device manager. The objective here is to turn on device installation restrictions using the built-in group policy editor. This will, in turn, prevent Windows from reinstalling the uninstalled keyboard every time you start the laptop.

To begin with, you should identify and note the built-in keyboard’s hardware ID. This way, you will be able to restrict Windows from installing anything that matches the hardware ID. If you would like to try this method, here is how you should go about it:

Step One:Open Device Installation Restrictions

Pressure Windows + X keys combination, and then select the Device Manager option to open it. Expand the Keyboards category, and then right-click on Standard PS/2 Keyboard to select Properties from the context menu.

On the Properties window, navigate to the Details tab. Now clock on the dropdown option and change it to Hardware IDs.

Step Two:Open a Run Dialog Box 

At this point, you need to open a new Run dialog box by pressing the Windows + R keys combination. Once open, type gpedit.msc into the dialog box and press Enter.  Under the Computer Configuration section, navigate to Administrative Templates> System> Device Installation> Device Installation Restrictions.

Step 3:Deactivate Reinstallation 

Right-click on the “Prevent installation of devices that match any of these device instance IDs” option, and then select Edit. From the left lane, select ‘Enabled,’ and proceed to select ‘Show’ from the section just beneath it.

Next, you need to return to the policy you opened in step one (the one you left at ‘Hardware IDs’). On this policy, you should double-click the space under Value and then paste the copied ID into that box. You may right-click to copy, and then right-click on the field to paste or use the Ctrl + C, and then Ctrl + V option.

Finally, you need to click on the OK button on the same window and then OK on the policy screen. Now, find the inbuilt keyboard on the device manager yet again, right-click on it and select ‘Uninstall Device.’ Accept the subsequent prompts to confirm the action. Restart the computer to permanently disable the laptop keyboard.

How to Disable Keyboard When Using External

You can disable your laptop’s keyboard when using external by following the steps below.

Step 1: Go to the Control Panel and click on Power Options.

Step 2: Now, next to your chosen power plan, click on “Change Plan Settings.”

Step 3: Click on “Change Advanced Power Settings”

Step 4: Expand the “Power buttons and lid.”

Step 5: For the Close lid power option, set it to “Do Nothing” and click on OK

Step 6: Click on Save Changes, or just close the window if it’s greyed out.

When this option is set, you can close the laptop’s lid, and it won’t go to sleep. So when you want to use the external keyboard, you can plug it in, and when you don’t, you unplug it. Of course, you will need to use an external monitor if you use this method.

Another option is to use a wireless keyboard, but this would depend on the application, as plugging in a wireless keyboard may or may not use a different keyboard driver.

How to Disable Laptop Keyboard when External is Plugged in Ubuntu

Step 1: Disable the laptop keyboard in Ubuntu by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T simultaneously on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the following command(s) below:

xinput -list

Now, you should see a list of input devices, including the keyboard, which is currently attached to your laptop.disable laptop keyboard ubuntu

Step 2: Locate AT Translated Set 2 keyboard and take note of its id number; this will be used to disable the keyboard. Also, take note of the number at the end, [slave keyboard (#)]; this is the id number of the master, which will be used to re-enable your keyboard

Step 3: To disable the keyboard, run the command xinput float <id#>, where <id#> is your keyboard’s id number.

How to Disable Laptop Keyboard when Docked

One way to do this is by using a computer configuration. However, this will disable your Windows PC keyboard permanently.

Step 1: Click on the ‘Start’ button, type ‘gpedit.msc’

Step 2: Go to Computer Configuration, click on Administrative Templates, and select System. Now, click on Device Installation and choose Device Installation Restrictions.

Step 3: In the list of options, right-click on ‘Prevent Installation of Devices not described by other policy settings,’ select Edit and Enable it.

This solution works because it stops your Windows from automatically reinstalling the disabled driver when you restart. Therefore, when you restart your laptop, your laptop’s keyboard will not reinstall. Once you are done, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Click on the ‘Start’ button, type ‘Device Manager’ to open the Device Manager.

Step 2: Locate your keyboard under the ‘Keyboards’ dropdown.

Step 3: Right-click on your laptop’s keyboard and click on ‘Update driver.’

Step 4: Select ‘Browse my computer for driver software’ and click on ‘Let me pick from a list of devices drivers on my computer.’

Step 5: Uncheck the box ‘Show compatible hardware.’ On the right-hand side, select a manufacturer that is NOT your laptop’s manufacturer (it can be anything so long as it is not your laptop’s manufacturer)

Step 6: A device will appear on the left-hand side, select it, then click on ‘Next.  A warning will appear. Click on ‘Yes’

Step 7: When it has installed, select ‘Close’ and Restart if prompted


Final Verdict

Different things can render the built-in keyboard on your laptop partially or completely unusable. If you are not ready to have the keyboard replaced, you can use an external keyboard instead.

In such a case, you will be required to disable the built-in keyboard. In such a case, you should ensure that the external keyboard is successfully confected before disabling/uninstalling the built-in keyboard.

The procedures discussed in this guide will help you disable your laptop keyboard and prevent Windows from automatically reinstalling it at startup.