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How to wake a Windows 10 laptop from sleep from an external keyboard

A Windows 10 laptop that has entered Sleep mode can be ‘waken’ by pressing the power button on the laptop, or by tapping a key on the built-in keyboard. External keyboards and mice can also be used to wake a Windows 10 laptop from sleep but you’ll find that often, they do nothing. This might be a hardware problem, or it might be a software issue. Regardless, here’s what you need to do if you want to wake a Windows 10 laptop from sleep from an external keyboard. Bear in mind that if there’s a hardware problem preventing the system from waking, you might have to buy new or additional hardware.

Check system wake devices

Make sure the external keyboard that you want to use to wake your Windows 10 laptop is connected to it. Open Command Prompt with admin rights and run the following commands.

powercfg/devicequery wake_programmable

This command will return a list of all hardware that can wake the system from sleep. If you see your keyboard on the list then it can indeed wake the system. If you do not see it, it likely means that you’ve run into a hardware barrier. One thing you can try, and it’s known to help, is to connect the external keyboard to the system through a USB hub that has its own power source i.e., the USB hub doesn’t power down when your system enters sleep mode. Run the command again and see if your keyboard shows up.

If you don’t know what your external keyboard is called, open Device Manager and expand Keyboards. You can disconnect/reconnect the keyboard to see which device disappears and determine its name by a simple process of elimination.

Enable system wake from keyboard

If your keyboard is listed when you run the above command but it doesn’t wake the system from sleep, it is possible that it does not have permission to wake the system from sleep. To check which devices are allowed to wake the system from sleep, run the following command. If your keyboard isn’t listed here, you need to allow it to wake the system from sleep.

powercfg /devicequery wake_armed

To do that, run the command below and replace “Keyboard name” with the name of your keyboard as shown when you ran the very first command. Make sure you put the name of the keyboard in double-quotes. Once you do that, the keyboard should be able to wake the laptop from sleep.

powercfg /deviceenablewake "Keyboard name"

If using a USB hub with its own power source still doesn’t allow you to wake the system from sleep from an external keyboard, it is highly likely that your keyboard doesn’t support this functionality. You’re going to have to buy one that does.

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