The Windows operating system gives users the option of a secondary keyboard that can be used on the PC screen. Dubbed the on-screen keyboard, you’ll find it really handy if you use a PC/laptop with a touchscreen or if your PC’s physical keyboard is faulty. But then what happens when the on-screen keyboard doesn’t work when you need to? And how do you fix them?
When the on-screen keyboard doesn’t work, the problem is often system-wide. However, there are some rare occasions when the virtual keyboard doesn’t work with just one particular application. In either case, refer to the solutions tested in this guide to get your PC’s on-screen keyboard back to work.
Quick tip: Press the Windows hotkey + Ctrl + or keyboard to quickly launch the on-screen keyboard on Windows 10 system.
1. Changing touch pad settings
If the system’s onscreen keyboard is not displayed when Tablet mode is not active or when no keyboard is connected, follow the steps below to modify the Windows 10 touch keyboard configuration. This will allow the onscreen keyboard to be accessible from within all times.
Step 1: Launch the Windows Settings menu and select Devices.
Step 2: Select Typing from the menu on the right.
Step 3: Scroll down to the touch pad section and enable ‘Show touch pad when not in tablet mode and no keyboard attached option’.
2. Use Windows Run
If your computer’s on-screen keyboard still doesn’t appear when you enable it using keyboard shortcuts or from the Settings menu, you can test the strength by letting you use the Windows run box. Just open the Windows Run console using the keyboard shortcut “Windows logo key + R”, type the following command line in the Open dialog box and press Enter on the keyboard.
This should immediately launch the on-screen keyboard on your PC screen.
3. Create on-screen keyboard shortcut
This is another easy way to open the onscreen keyboard if you refuse to work/launch via conventional methods. Here is how to do this.
Step 1: Right-click on a blank space on your desktop PC and select New from the context menu.
Step 2: Next, select Shortcut.
Step 3: Enter the following directory in the box provided and click Next.
Step 4: Enter a preferred name for the shortcut and click Finish to complete the shortcut creation shortcut.
This will close the Create shortcut window and you should now see the shortcut on your desktop.
Double-click the newly created shortcut to launch the on-screen keyboard. If that doesn’t work, continue with the following troubleshooting fix.
4. Change the start type of the on-screen keyboard
The Windows 10 screen keyboard is based on the ‘Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel’ service. If this service is disabled, the system screen keyboard may not work. Also, you may encounter problems using the on-screen keyboard if the service is configured to start manually.
Resetting the touch keyboard service (through the Windows Management Console) to start automatically may help fix the on-screen keyboard issue that doesn’t work.
Step 1: Launch the Windows run box using the keyboard shortcut ‘Windows + R’.
Step 2: Specify service.msc in the Open dialog and click OK.
Step 3: Locate the “Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service” and double click on it.
Step 4: Click the Start drop-down button and select Automatic.
Step 5: Finally, click Apply and click OK to save your changes.
Now try opening the keyboard on your PC screen and see if it works.
In addition to changing the startup type, you should also check the Service status of ‘Touch Panel Service and Writing Panel’. If the status reads Running, the on-screen keyboard should work correctly. If the service status reads Stopped, tap the Start button, click Apply, then click OK to save your changes.
5. Uninstall Windows Update
If you have noticed that the Windows 10 screen keyboard has stopped working after a recent OS update, you should uninstall the update and fall back to the previous build. You can reinstall the upgrade when Microsoft has fixed the problem.
Here is how to uninstall a Windows upgrade.
Step 1: Launch the Windows run box using the keyboard shortcut ‘Windows key + R’.
Step 2: Type the control in the dialog and click OK.
3: Next, select Programs.
Step 4: In the ‘Programs and Features’ section, tap ‘View Installed Updates.’
Step 5: Right-click. Tap update and uninstall was recently installed.
You can check the ‘Installed on’ section to see the exact date the buggy update is installed.
Step 6: Click OK at the confirmation prompt to start the upgrade uninstall process.
6. Modify Chrome Target
There are some instances where the Windows screen keyboard doesn’t work when using Google Chrome. Some users have been able to resolve this issue by adding a command line to their browser shortcut. Here is how to do this.
Step 1: Right-click the Google Chrome icon on your desktop PC and select Properties from the context menu.
Step 2: In the Destination dialog, tap the space bar (to leave a space after the directory) and paste the command below.
Tap Apply and OK to save your changes. Restart Chrome after doing this and verifying that the on-screen keyboard now works with your browser.
Tap to Type
You could also fix this issue by updating your Windows 10 operating system to the latest build. Go to Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update for it to run. Alternatively, you could use third-party virtual keyboards that are just as good as the Windows 10 built-in keyboard.