Fix Keyboard Typing Incorrect Characters on Dell Inspiron, XPS, Alienware


[Fixed] Keyboard Typing Incorrect Characters on Dell Inspiron, XPS, Alienware PC

Overview: Keyboard typing incorrect or wrong characters is very frustrating. There are many Windows users who are facing this issue with the keyboard. Today in this post we will follow some troubleshooting steps to fix this. Troubleshooting applies to all brands including Dell.

Let’s Start with Few Practical Scenarios

Scenario 1: Keyboard Giving Wrong Symbols

Hi all, hope someone can help. This week I took delivery of an Inspiron 7000 laptop for my daughter, and some of the keyboard symbols are typing incorrectly. EG when hitting the ” key she gets the @ symbol, the @ symbol is giving the British pound symbol, and maybe one or two others are incorrect (I am at work at present and don’t have the laptop with me to give all the wrong keys). I set up the keyboard as English (UK) I think. We are located in Australia. Hope someone can help before I contact Dell support direct.

Source: Dell Forum

Scenario 2: XPS 1530 Keyboard Keys Mismatch Issue

I have recently installed windows 7 in my Dell XPS  1530 laptop and after I have installed it I have a mismatch in the keys I am typing actually the keys are swapped like suppose if I want to get @ symbol usually what we do is hit shift + 2, when I do that I am getting ” this double quotes symbol. In the same way when I hit shift + ‘ (single quote) then I am getting @ symbol. In the same way, a few shifts combined keys have been swapped all over. Please respond to this issue asap.

Source: Dell Forum

Like the above two users, there many others who are facing incorrect character typing issue with the keyboard. Let us follow the below troubleshooting steps to narrow down the cause and fix it.

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Perform Hard Reset

Most of the time hard reset fixes the issue. Unplug all external devices from your computer including the keyboard. The only devices you should leave connected to your computer are your monitor if the computer is a desktop. Now Shut down your desktop and unplug the power cable from the desktop. In case of laptop unplug the charger and remove the battery if applicable.

Now press and hold the power button down for approximately 10-15 seconds then plug in the power cable back to the desktop. Plug in the battery and charger back in case of laptop and start the system. Now plug in all the devices including a keyboard in case of desktop and check the keyboard.

Turn the Num Lock Key On

Make sure Num Lock key is on. The Num Lock key activates many keypad functions. You can find the Num Lock key on the right-hand side of the keyboard.

Check the Region and Language Settings

Press Windows Key + I on the keyboard to open Windows 10 Settings.

Click on Time & Language.

Click on Region and make sure under Region, Country or region is set to the United States. The region can vary as per your country, for example: for UK users, select United Kingdom.

Now Select Regional Format as English (United States) only.

Keyboard Region as US

Now go to the Language option on the left-hand side.

Here the Windows display language should be English (United States).

Now under Preferred language, English (United States) should be selected, if you have any other language installed, click on the language installed and remove it by using Remove option and select English (United States).

Language as US in windows 10

Once you have the selected English (United States), Now click on English (United States) and click on Options.

Options in US language

Now under Keyboards make sure you have only US QWERTY selected. In case you have any other keyboard installed, click on the keyboard installed and remove it by using Remove option.


Press Windows Key + I on the keyboard to open Windows 10 Settings and select Devices.

Select Typing, scroll down and click on Advanced keyboard settings.

Advanced keyboard settings

Now make sure Override for default input method is set to English (United States) – US.

ENGLISH US under advanced keyboard settings

Run the Keyboard Troubleshooter

Press Windows Key + I on the keyboard to open Windows 10 Settings and select Update & Security.

Click on Troubleshoot, select Keyboard and click on Run the troubleshooter.

Keyboard troubleshooter

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Uninstall and Reinstall Keyboard Driver from Device Manager

Press Windows Key + R on the keyboard to open Run box, type devmgmt.msc in the run box and hit OK.

Expand Keyboards in device manager and uninstall all the keyboards driver.

Uninstall keyboard driver and reinstall from device manager

Restart your computer. It will automatically reinstall the keyboard driver while restarting. Now check your keyboard.

Use Another External USB Keyboard

Plug in an external keyboard to the PC and check the keyboard by typing on the notepad. If the external keyboard works fine then issue may be with the internal keyboard. In case, the issue still persists then either the operating system or motherboard may be faulty.

Check the Keyboard in All Programs

Check if the incorrect characters are displayed only in a specific program or occur in all programs including Notepad.

  • Type Notepad in the windows search box to open notepad.
  • In case the issue occurs in Notepad too then the issue may be with the Keyboard but if the issue only occurs within a specific program, for example, Microsoft Word then check the settings within the program.
  • In Word click on File option on the top and select Options.
  • Check the settings in the Proofing tab to make sure there are no AutoCorrect options which have been incorrectly set.

proofing tab in office

  • Also, check the Language settings to make sure they are set to your preferred setting.

Language option in office word

Use On-Screen Keyboard

Use On-Screen Keyboard and check if its still typing incorrect characters, in case On-Screen Keyboard works fine then internal keyboard may be faulty. To use On-Screen Keyboard press Windows Key + R on the keyboard to open Run box, type osk in the run box and hit OK. Now use the On-Screen Keyboard to type in the notepad.

Troubleshoot Keyboard Using Dell SupportAssist Tool

In Dell systems, Dell SupportAssist is a preinstalled application. Launch Dell SupportAssist, you can find it on your desktop or you can type SupportAssist in the windows search box. In case it’s not installed on your PC then download Dell SupportAssist from here.

On Dell SupportAssist App, select Troubleshooting on the top and then click on I want to check a specific piece of hardware.

Dell support assist specific test

Scroll down to find Keyboard, click on it and follow the on-screen instruction to troubleshoot keyboard.

Keyboard test on dell supportassist

Update the System BIOS

Visit the Dell support website to update the BIOS to the latest version. Sometimes updating the BIOS may fix the keyboard issue. Visit this link , enter the service tag number of your PC and then update the BIOS. Make sure the battery is more than 10 percent and the charger is plugged into the system while updating the BIOS.

Other brand users can update the BIOS from their respective manufacturer website.

Check the Keyboard in Safe Mode

Press and hold the Shift key on the keyboard and while holding the shift key click on the restart on Windows login screen as shown below to go to the Advanced Boot Options screen.

Windows login screen

Click on Troubleshoot.


Now click on Advanced options and then click on Startup Settings.


Click on Restart.


The system will restart, now press F4 or the 4 key on the keyboard to select Enable Safe Mode.


Safe Mode loads with only the core drivers and services. Now check the keyboard in notepad, in case, the problem still occurs in Safe Mode, the issue may be with the Keyboard.

In case, the problem does not occur in Safe Mode, the issue may be with the Operating system. To reinstall the Windows 10 on your PC you can visit the below link. Please note that you will lose all the data and the apps you installed on the system so please backup your data before you reinstall Windows 10.

Reinstall Windows 10

Reseat the Keyboard on the Laptop

To narrow down if the issue is actually with the keyboard, reseat the keyboard or use a different keyboard from another good known (compatible) working system and test the keys which are causing the issue.

In most of the Dell laptop keyboard is a customer replaceable unit. In case, the keyboard is a customer replaceable unit (CRU) component then shut down the system and unplug all the external devices including AC adaptor and the battery.

  • Release the latches securing the keyboard using a plastic scribe. Usually its four to five latches.

Keyboard latch

Keyboard latches

  • Slide the keyboard up and turn it over.
  • Release the latch securing the keyboard cable to the motherboard.
  • Disconnect the Keyboard cable and remove the keyboard.

Now get rid of the dust and plug it back to the system or test with a different keyboard from another good known (compatible) working system and test the keys which are causing the issue.

Wrap Up

Not being able to use the keyboard because of incorrect characters is quite frustrating, I hope all the troubleshooting steps provided helped you to fix incorrect characters. In case even after trying all the troubleshooting steps the issue remains the same then you may contact the system manufacturer who can sometimes fix the issue.

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