Arrow keys are surely one of the most used keypresses ever. That’s why when arrow keys are not working on the keyboard or behave abnormally, you may want to tackle the problems asap.

In this article, we will go through 9 effective ways to fix the arrow keys not working so you don’t need to buy a new keyboard. After that, we hope that your keyboard arrows will work like before so your character in-game can move up and down, or you can program as usual.

Arrow Keys On Keyboard
Arrow Keys On Keyboard

Reasons why arrow keys are not working on the keyboard

It’s good to know the reason for arrow keys not working because it’s better to prevent the issues than go after the trouble every time it occurs.

The physical factors usually relate to jammed arrow keys. When debris or dust is laying under the arrow keycaps, it’s likely to cause the arrow keys not working issue.

Or, sometimes the problems can root inside your computer. Outdated keyboard drivers or software-related issues can be the main factors behind your keyboard arrows not working. 

It‘s better to run troubleshoot to know which is the factor.

Follow this pathway to troubleshoot your keyboard:

  • Window + I/ Type ‘Troubleshoot settings’ in the search bar/ Click ‘Other troubleshooter’/ Look for ‘Keyboard’ and click “Run’
  • After that, you just need to wait for the result.

Besides, a deactivated cursor or turn-on scroll lock can create arrow keys not working problem. If that is the case, scroll down to see how to fix them.

Guide to fixing ‘Arrow Keys not Working’ issue in keyboard

Arrow Keys
Arrow Keys

Now, it’s time to learn 9 ways to fix the arrow keys not working. You may want to troubleshoot your keyboard first before reading the methods. Let’s find out each remedy, shall we?

Check your BIOS settings

BIOS stands for Basic Input/ Output System. Its main jobs are to recognize, set up, test, and connect hardware to the output system right at the moment your computer starting. Therefore, there is a high chance your arrow keys are not working caused by outdated BIOS settings.

One of the ways is to update BIOS settings. The thing is installing a new BIOS setting is risky, especially if you are computer literate. So, check out this video to know when and how to update BIOS.

Use another USB port

Change To Another USB Port
Change To Another USB Port

When you realize your arrow keys not working, immediately plug out the keyboard connector and plug it into another USB port.

This is a simple but guaranteed effective method. So, try it first, won’t you?

Restart PC

Another a-few-second method is restarting your computer. Well, you may encounter this method several times for almost any computer problem.

Here is how to restart your PC.

  1. Click the restart button.
  2. Window/ Power button/ Restart.

Update Keyboard Driver

Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator
Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator

Same as outdated BIOS Settings, a not up-to-date keyboard driver may lead to arrow keys not working. Therefore, your only way is to go and update it.

Here is how to update the keyboard driver:

Type ‘Device Manager’ in the window search bar/ Find your keyboard driver and right-click it/ Click ‘Uninstall’/ Restart your computer.

After you open the PC again, a new and latest keyboard driver will be installed on your computer. Go and see whether the arrow is not working anymore.

Cleaning the Arrow Keys

Clean Your Keyboard (Source: HP)
Clean Your Keyboard (Source: HP)

When things above are not effective or when you feel typing on keyboard arrows is stiff and unusual, it’s time to check the sanity issue of arrow keys.

The easiest way is to open the keycaps and clean them with a computer dustpan. Or, you can use a vacuum, an air-compressed bottle, or a sticky slime to take out the dust and debris.

We recommend you take this as a chance to clean up your keyboard thoroughly. This will not only solve the issue of keyboard arrows not working but also prevent other keys act unusually. Here is an article on how to clean up your keyboard fast and simply. 

Disable Scroll Lock

A lot of computer normal users don’t aware of the scroll lock function. Hence, they might accidentally turn on the scroll lock which results in arrow keys not working.

Disable Scroll Lock on your keyboard

Scroll Lock On Keyboard
Scroll Lock On Keyboard

Find the scroll lock keys on your keyboard or SCRLK. If it turns on, press the key to turn it off. Normally, there will be a small light bud to signal whether the scroll lock is activated or not.

Disable Scroll Lock with the On-Screen Windows keyboard

Some keyboards don’t have the scroll lock key but that does not mean the scroll lock cannot be turned on. To solve this, open the on-screen window keyboard by typing ‘on-screen keyboard’ in the window search bar.

When you see a virtual keyboard, check if the scroll lock key is highlighted or not. A highlighted key means activated key so it’s time to click the scroll lock key to turn it off.

Turn off the cursor lock

Another lock that can lead to the keyboard arrows not working is the cursor lock. Then, it’s your job to turn the cursor lock off.

How To Find The Cursor Lock On Keyboard (Source: Tech Advisor)
How To Find The Cursor Lock On Keyboard (Source: Tech Advisor)

A few keyboards come with a cursor lock. If that’s the case for you, it’s easy as all you need is to press the key. 

However, in other keyboards, the cursor lock is combined with the function keys just like in the picture. Therefore, to deactivate it, you need to hold ‘Fn’ and then press ‘F5’. But, some keyboards may have other positions for the cursor so it’s best to check the keyboard’s manual.

Check the Num lock

Num Lock On Keyboard (Source: ASAP Guide)
Num Lock On Keyboard (Source: ASAP Guide)

Similar to the scroll lock and cursor lock, an activated num lock may be why your arrow keys are not working. Normally, you can find a num lock key on your keyboard, so go and turn it off. However, not all arrow keys are not working because of the turn-on num lock so again, read your keyboard’s manual to know.

Remap your keyboard

Do all the above things. Troubleshoot many times. But, the worst-case scenario has still happened to you – arrow keys continue to refuse to work. Hold-off. You don’t need to go look for a new keyboard so fast.

Read this article on how to remap your keyboard easily if you want to reassign some unused keys to keyboard arrows.

Replace your keyboard

However, you may not prefer the arrow keys in other positions after remapping. Besides, your keyboard encounter problems like double typing. Then, this is time to replace your keyboard.

A good keyboard can go with you for a long time with minimum issues. Therefore, we recommend you do the homework before going to the keyboard store.


Arrow Keys On Apple Keyboard
Arrow Keys On Apple Keyboard

So far so good? Have you solved the arrow keys not working issue? We hope you are so you can save some bucks from buying a brand new keyboard.

But, if you are in need of buying a new one, here we have articles on how to pick a quiet keyboard or the best optical keyboard. If they pique your interest, don’t forget to check them out.

That arrow keys are not working can cause you a lot of trouble. So, learning some ways to fix it will be in handy for you. Or, you can help a coworker and see her surprise at how good you are.

FAQs on Arrow Keys Not Working

Why are my arrow keys not working?

There are several factors why arrow keys are not working. They are jammed keys, outdated keyboard driver or BIOS settings, activated cursor lock, num lock, and scroll lock.

How do I solve the arrow keys not working problem on my keyboard?

When your arrow keys are not working, changing the USB port or restarting your PC is what should be done first. Then, check the driver and setting to see if they need to be updated. After that, check the cursor lock, num lock, or scroll lock to turn them off if needed.


Posted by: Carson Rutz
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