How to fix Shift key not working on your computer

By: Elsie Otachi
7 minute read
Shift key not working

The Shift key is a modifier key on your computer’s keyboard, or laptop, whose primary function is capitalizing lowercase letters, besides adding symbols.

Shift key can also be used with a combination of other keys such as CTRL, ALT, ESC, and several others, so as to execute certain functions including highlighting text, open Task Manager, opening Sticky keys or Filter keys, among many others.

When you find Shift key not working on your keyboard, it could mean several things including foreign matter stuck on the keyboard, or sticky keys has been activated, driver or hardware issues.

The good news is there are solutions to fix the issue and get your SHIFT key working again.

Fix: Shift key won’t work

  1. Check the keyboard for dust or foreign matter
  2. Try a different or external keyboard
  3. Check keyboard language settings in control panel
  4. Check whether the sticky keys are turned on
  5. Run Hardware and Devices troubleshooter
  6. Perform a System Restore
  7. Uninstall and reinstall the keyboard driver from manufacturer’s website
  8. Boot in safe mode
  9. Perform a Clean Boot

1. Check the keyboard for dust or foreign matter

Shift key not working

Since the problem is the Shift key not working, but the rest are okay, then the key could be damaged.

Ensure the keyboard is free of dust, dirt or other foreign matter by turning the keyboard upside down to allow for any debris to fall out.

A recommended action is to periodically use compressed air to blow out dust from the crevices on your keyboard that are hard to clean. If you spilt a drink or another liquid, immediately turn the keyboard upside down to let it drain out and remove as much of it as you can, then wait till it is dry before using it again.

Don’t attempt to disassemble the keyboard as you may void the manufacturer warranty. And, if you want to use a vacuum cleaner, ensure it is a ‘static safe’ vacuum cleaner.

2. Try a different or external keyboard

You can connect a different keyboard to your laptop and check if it fixes the Shift key not working problem. Check out our article on the best keyboards to buy for your Windows 10 device and select the one that best suits your needs.

3. Check keyboard language settings in control panel

Sometimes when you find Shift key not working, it may have something to do with your Language settings.

Here’s how to check and change this:

  • Click Start
  • Select Settings
  • Click Time and Language

Shift key not working

  • Click Region and Language

Shift key not working

  • Under Country or Region, click on English (United Kingdom), and if not there, you can add it using Add a Language button

Shift key not working

  • Click Windows display language

Shift key not working

  • Select Options
  • Check what keyboard is selected under the Keyboards option

Shift key not working

  • Change the input language to English for your location

Did this resolve the Shift key not working problem? If not, try the next solution.

4. Check whether the sticky keys are turned on

Active Filter, Toggle or Sticky keys can be the reason for Shift key not working on your computer.

Filter keys cause Windows to suppress or discard keystrokes sent too fast, or keystrokes sent simultaneously, for example when you type hurriedly or while shaking.

Sticky keys, on the other hand, cause modifier keys such as SHIFT and CTRL to stick until released, or till the specific keystroke combination is entered. In a sense they behave like Lock keys. Toggle keys cause Windows to emit a beep or audible indicator when any lock keys are pressed.

How to turn off Sticky/Filter/Toggle keys

To turn off Filter Keys do the following (Windows 10):

  • Click Start
  • Choose Settings

Shift key not working

  • Select Ease of Access
  • Click Keyboard

Shift key not working

  • Find Filter Keys

Shift key not working

  • Slide it let to turn it off

To turn off Toggle or Sticky Keys do the following (Windows 10):

If you find Shift key not working while you type, you’ve probably enabled or activated Toggle keys, and/or Sticky keys. Do the following to disable or deactivate Toggle and Sticky keys on Windows 10:

  • Click Start
  • Choose Settings

Shift key not working

  • Select Ease of Access
  • Click Keyboard

Shift key not working

  • Find Toggle Keys

Shift key not working

  • Slide it let to turn it off
  • Find Sticky Keys

Shift key not working

  • Slide it let to turn it off

For more information on how to fix Sticky keys issues, check out the articles below:

If using other earlier versions of Windows, take the following steps to remove the Toggle or Sticky keys:

  • Click Start
  • Go to the search field and type Ease
  • Select Ease of Access

  • Select Make the keyboard easier to use (or change how your keyboard works)

Shift key not working

  • Uncheck the selection on Turn on Sticky keys
  • Click Set up Sticky keys

Shift key not working

  • Uncheck the selection on Turn on Sticky keys when SHIFT is pressed five times
  • Click Save
  • Uncheck the selection from Turn on Toggle keys
  • Uncheck the selection on Turn on Toggle keys by holding down the NUMLOCK key for 5 seconds
  • Click Save

Does this work? If not, try the next solution.

5. Run Hardware and Devices troubleshooter

If you find Shift key not working, then run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter to resolve the issue.

This checks for commonly occurring issues and ensures any new device or hardware is correctly installed on your computer.

Here’s how to go about it:

  • Right click Start
  • Select Control Panel
  • Go to View by option on the top right corner

@ key not working in Windows 10 laptop keyboard

  • Click the drop down arrow and select Large icons

@ key not working in Windows 10 laptop keyboard

  • Click Troubleshooting

@ key not working in Windows 10 laptop keyboard

  • Click View all option on the left pane

@ key not working in Windows 10 laptop keyboard

  • Click Hardware and Devices

@ key not working in Windows 10 laptop keyboard

  • Click Next to run the troubleshooter

Follow the instructions to run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter.  The troubleshooter will begin detecting any issues that may be the cause of Shift key not working.

6. Perform a System Restore

If you find Shift key not working on your computer, use System Restore to create restore points using the steps below and see if it helps:

  • Click Start
  • Go to the search field box and type System Restore
  • Click Create a restore point in the list of search results

Shift key not working

  • Enter your administrator account password or grant permissions if prompted to
  • In the System Restore dialog box, click System restore

Shift key not working

  • Click Next
  • Click a restore point created before you experienced the problem
  • Click Next
  • Click Finish

Restoring doesn’t affect your personal files. It however removes apps, drivers and updates installed after the restore point was created.

To go back to a restore point, do the following:

  • Right click Start
  • Select Control Panel
  • In the control panel search box, type Recovery
  • Select Recovery

Shift key not working

  • Click Open System Restore

Shift key not working

  • Click Next
  • Choose the restore point related to the problematic program/app, driver or update
  • Click Next
  • Click Finish

If you find Shift key not working after performing a system restore, go to the next solution.

7. Uninstall and reinstall the keyboard driver from manufacturer’s website

Here’s how to do this:

  • Right click Start
  • Select Device Manager

Shift key not working

  • Search for Keyboards and click on it to expand the list

Shift key not working

  • Right click on the Keyboard driver
  • Select Uninstall

Shift key not working

  • Go to the Software and Drivers sub-section (depending on the laptop brand this name can change), or search for drivers using Google so you can get a direct link to your device’s manufacturer website.
  • Once you’re on the website, find and download

Install the appropriate drivers missing from your computer that can cause the Shift key not working problem.

8. Boot in safe mode

Safe mode starts up your computer with limited files and drivers but Windows will still run. To know whether you’re on Safe mode, you’ll see the words at the corners of your screen.

If the issue of Shift key not working persists, check whether it occurs while your computer is in Safe mode.

Follow these steps to start your computer in Safe Mode:

  • Click on Start button
  • Select Settings – the Settings box will open up
  • Click Update & Security

Shift key not working

  • Select Recovery from the left pane

Shift key not working

  • Go to Advanced startup

Shift key not working

  • Click Restart now
  • Select Troubleshoot from the blue choose an option screen, then click Advanced options
  • Go to Startup Settings and click Restart
  • Once your computer restarts, a list of options will come up.
  • Choose 4 or F4 to start your computer in Safe Mode

A quicker way to get into Safe Mode is to restart your computer then do the following:

  • From the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot>Advanced options>Startup Settings>Restart
  • Once your computer restarts, a list of options will come up.
  • Choose 4 or F4 to start your computer in Safe Mode

If the issue isn’t there while in Safe mode, then your default settings and basic drivers are not contributing to the issue.

9. Perform a Clean Boot

Performing a clean boot for your computer reduces conflicts related to software that can bring up the root causes of the Shift key not working. These conflicts can be caused by applications and services that start up and run in the background whenever you start Windows normally.

How to perform a clean boot

In order to successfully perform a clean boot on Windows 10, you have to be logged on as the administrator, then follow these steps:

  • Go to the search box
  • Type msconfig

Shift key not working

  • Select System Configuration
  • Find Services tab

Shift key not working

  • Select Hide all Microsoft services box

Shift key not working

  • Click Disable all
  • Go to Startup tab
  • Click Open Task Manager

Shift key not working

  • Close Task manager then click Ok
  • Reboot your computer

You will have a clean boot environment after all these steps are carefully followed, after which you can try and check if the Shift key not working problem is gone.

Did any of these solutions help you fix the Shift key not working issue? Let us know in the comments section below.

RELATED STORIES TO CHECK OUT:

For various PC problems, we recommend to use this tool.

This tool will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Quickly fix PC issues and prevent others from happening with this software:

  1. Download ReimagePlus (100% safe download).
  2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues (requires upgrade).