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11 Ways to Fix Keyboard Typing Wrong Letters (Characters) on Windows

Most keyboards, regardless of type, rarely have troubles. Still, there are issues that can pop up, such as incorrect keyboard layouts, outdated drivers, erroneous language settings, and even physical damage that can cause wrong characters when typing. Though these situations are generally rare, they can and do happen. We’ll go over all the Windows troubleshooting options to consider when your keyboard is typing the wrong letters.  

English Language Keyboards

The keys on a keyboard are fairly standard unless they’re for a specific language, such as displaying Arabic letters, or denominations like English pounds instead of dollars. Regardless of what’s physically printed on it, a simple change in Windows will allow you to use it as a normal English language keyboard.

11 Ways to Fix Keyboard Typing Wrong Letters

If your keyboard is typing the wrong letters/characters, try the following fixes, which will work for both Windows 10 and 11:

1. Check keyboard layout

The keyboard layout is determined by Windows but it may have detected the wrong layout. You can change it to whatever suits your keyboard:

  1. Open the Settings app (Win + I keyboard shortcut).
  2. Go to Time & Language

    Windows time and language menu

  3. Select the Language tab
  4. Select the language you’ve added and click Options
  5. Check if the correct keyboard layout has been added
  6. To add a different layout, click the Add button
  7. Select a different layout from the list

    Windows keyboard layout

  8. Remove the incorrect layout

2. Check language settings

It’s possible that you’ve switched to a different language and the keyboard input is matching it: 

  1. Open the Settings app (Win+I keyboard shortcut).
  2. Go to Time and language
  3. Select the Language tab
  4. Check if any languages, other than the ones you normally type in, are listed

    Windows language menu

  5. Select a language to remove 
  6. Click the Remove button

3. Disable scripts and apps

  • If you have apps and/or scripts running that modify keyboard keys or remap them, quit them all. They may have been configured incorrectly and may be causing erroneous characters to be entered
  • AutoHotKey scripts are often used to remap keyboard keys. Quit AHK scripts if you have any running
  • Turn off the Num Lock key. Your keyboard may enter different characters if the Num Lock is on 

4. Run keyboard troubleshooter

The keyboard troubleshooter may be able to detect issues: 

  1. Open Settings (Win + I keyboard shortcut) 
  2. Go to Update and Security
    Windows settings menu
  3. Select the Troubleshoot tab
    Windows troubleshoot
  4. Click Additional troubleshooter
    Windows troubleshoot menu
  5. Run the keyboard troubleshooter and apply all fixes that it recommends

6. Uninstall and reinstall keyboard 

Keyboards have a driver responsible for it working correctly. Uninstalling it and reinstalling the device may fix problems and reinstall its drivers at the same time:

  1. Open Device Manager by either pushing the Window key and X simultaneously to open the quick access menu and select it, or simply type in Device Manager in the search box
    Windows quick access menu
  2. Expand Keyboards
    Device manager keyboards
  3. Right-click the keyboard and select Uninstall Device
  4. Restart the system
  5. The keyboard and its drivers will be installed again on boot

6. App specific problems

If the keyboard enters the wrong letter or character in a particular app, it’s likely that the app is causing the problem. 

  • Check each key on the keyboard in a basic app like Notepad. If the letters and characters are entered correctly, your problem may lie in the app you’re trying to type in
  • Check the app’s font settings to make sure you haven’t selected a font like Webdings
  • If you’re trying to execute a keyboard shortcut, it’s possible the shortcut was blocked on Windows, remapped, or doesn’t work in a particular app. Check the keyboard in different apps to test this 

7. Troubleshoot keyboard drivers

Though not usually the case, drivers can be the culprit for keyboard problems. Sometimes, it’s an actual driver update that makes things go awry. We’ve already covered updating them, but if you need to uninstall a recent driver that’s causing bugs, here’s how:

  1. In the search box, type Device Manager and select it from the pop up menu
  2. Find the device (keyboard) that you want to update
  3. Double click on the keyboard name
  4. Go to the Driver tab
    Troubleshoot Keyboard Drivers
  5. From there you can Update Driver, Roll Back Driver (if you think the updated drivers caused your problems), or Uninstall the Device 

8. Check for sticky key setting

The sticky key setting is an accessibility feature that allows you to perform keyboard shortcuts with one key instead of pressing multiple ones. While it can be handy, it can also cause problems. If you have keys set for these shortcuts, you may be interfering with your regular keyboard functions. It’s luckily very easy to turn this off: 

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Ease of Access
  3. Select Keyboard from the menu on the left side
  4. Toggle “Use Sticky Keys” off
    Windows keyboard menu

9. Check for Debris or Damage

  • If you have debris that is affecting the keys, you may find that when you press a key, the adjacent one gets triggered too. There are all sorts of ways a dirty keyboard can misbehave 
  • On that note, check for physical damage too. Did you drop something on it recently? Did you spill your coffee on the keys? This is more common than you might think and can absolutely cause problems 

10. Try a different keyboard

If all else fails, try using a different keyboard. You can buy a cheaper one or borrow one to test if the hardware is the problem. 

11. Remapping

Keyboard problems are rare, but are usually handled by the suggestions we listed. If all else fails, you can use a script to remap the key and have it enter the correct character. There are a couple ways to do this, including remapping through Microsoft PowerToys and Key Manager. These can be a bit lengthy, so feel free to use the above links as guides to get you started. 

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