Missing Pound sign on my keyboard!

Posted 28th Jul 2008
I've lost my pound sign on my keyboard - it's turned into a # instead! And where the # should be is a backslash although the backslash on the keyboard still works ok!! What has happened? Any suggestions how to get them back in the right places??
Community Updates
Troubleshooting Guide for Keyboard Problems
If you are having problems with your keyboard, here’s a short guide to try to fix it yourself. There are lots of different issues you could be facing when your keyboard won’t work, such as:

  • Wrong characters are typed.
  • The keyboard is not functioning.
  • Only some keys are not working.
  • The keyboard shortcuts do not work.
We'll take a look at these common problems and look at methods to try to see if you can fix these problems yourself or whether you’ll need to get a technician to look at your keyboard.

Wrong characters are typed
A common problem with Windows 10, that many people have reported, is that after an update their keyboard types the wrong characters, such as # instead of £, and " instead of @. This can be solved by changing the keyboard layout to the setting you require (e.g. changing it from US English to UK English), but first you’ll need to add a keyboard layout before you can change it. Follow these steps below.

How to add a keyboard layout in Windows 10:

  • Click the start menu or hit the Windows key.
  • Click on Settings
  • Click on Time & language
  • Click on Region & language
  • Click on the language you wish to add a keyboard layout to
  • Click on Options
  • Click on Add a keyboard
  • Click on the keyboard you want to add

How to change the keyboard layout in Windows 10

  • Press and hold the Windows key
  • Press spacebar (keep pressing to scroll through options)
  • Or, click the icon next to the keyboard icon in the system tray and choose the layout you want.

Keyboard is not functioning
Initially, this can be split into two categories depending on whether you have a wireless keyboard or a wired keyboard.

Wireless Keyboard
First steps:

  • Check the keyboard batteries have still have power in them, seems obvious but it can get overlooked. Try installing new ones if you’re unsure.
  • Check for interference from other electrical devices in the room such as radios, mobile phones and wireless routers and even objects like fluorescent lights, electric fans and metal furniture.
Wireless keyboards can sometimes lose connection and need to be resynchronized. When you follow these steps make sure the keyboard and receiver are close and remove any other wireless computer devices (e.g. a mouse) to at least 6 feet away.

If your receiver has a button then press it and wait for it to start blinking. If your receiver doesn’t have a button then ignore this first step.Wait for a dialog box and follow the instructions on screen. IF you don’t get this dialog box then skip to step 3.Press and then release the Connect Channel button on the bottom of the keyboard.If a green light appears on the receiver, the synchronization has worked. If not then try these steps again. Wired Keyboard
First steps:

  • Check that there are no loose connections to your computer. If everything seems to check out ok then follow the steps below. A good tip is to make sure the keyboard is plugged directly into the USB port on your computer so that no extensions are being used.
  • Try the keyboard on a different device. If you find the problems persist then follow the steps below. If it also doesn’t work on a different computer there is likely to be problem with the keyboard itself which will require fixing by a technician or possibly replacing entirely.

Download and install the latest keyboard software
For both wired and wireless keyboards. It’s easy to forget to update the hardware on your operating system. Check the microsoft website for the latest downloads, here.

If the issue continues to occur, go to the next step.

Manually reinstall the drivers
Remove and reinstall the drivers for your wired/wireless keyboard by following these steps:

  • Disconnect the keyboard from the computer and turn off the power for the keyboard (if it has one).
  • Open Device Manager. To do this, use one of the following methods:
  • Find the Control panel. Depending on your version of Windows, Control Panel is usually available from the Start Menu or the Apps screen. In Windows 10 and Windows 8, click on Hardware and Sound. (You could also get to Device Manager through the Power User Menu and bypass the Control Panel). In Windows 7, click on System and Security. In Windows Vista, choose System and Maintenance. In Windows XP, click on Performance and Maintenance.
  • Double-click Keyboard, right-click the keyboard that you use, and then click Uninstall. (If the device isn’t shown it has already been disconnected when you removed it so ignore this step.)
  • Restart your computer.
  • Turn on your keyboard (if required) and plug it into the computer. Your computer will then detect the keyboard and it will reinstall the drivers for it automatically.

Only some keys are not working
If this is the case then make sure that the keyboard is free of dust, dirt, and other small objects.

  • Turn the keyboard upside down to make sure nothing is trapped under the keys.
  • Try using compressed air to blow dust that may be lodged in the keyboard.
  • If drink has been spilt on the keyboard, turn upside down immediately and leave it until the keyboard is completely dried out.
  • Never take the keyboard apart yourself, it will void any warranty you may have left on it.

Keyboard shortcuts do not work

System Restore
If your keyboard shortcuts don’t work after you’ve installed a new program or if you’ve performed a key change on your system, then a good idea is to restore the system to an earlier one.

  • Click in the top-right hand corner and then type Recovery
  • Click Open System Restore.
  • Select a date on the calendar from before you lost keyboard shortcuts and click Next.
  • Your system settings will now be back to the previous version.
Keyboard Utility Programs
Some computer’s have a piece of software for managing keyboard shortcuts that control smart keys or hot keys (these perform basic tasks such as altering the volume). If the software has stopped working then your shortcuts will too. This software differs depending on which manufacturer made your computer. Check on their website to see if there are any updates to your keyboard’s driver.

Basic Shortcuts Not Working
If the basic shortcuts, such as those involving CTRL or the Windows key, aren’t working then it is likely that the keyboard itself is broken. Check this by pressing Windows-E to launch Windows Explorer. If nothing happens it could well be a faulty keyboard but you can also try making sure there’s nothing stuck in the keyboard itself by tipping the keyboard upside down or trying compressed air to clean underneath the keys.

Problems with specific programs
If you are having problems with keyboard shortcuts in one specific program then a good idea is to check the keyboard settings within that program. For example, in Microsoft Word, you can check these setting by clicking on word options, then customise and then the customise... button beside keyboard shortcuts. Next click home, then check the EditCopy and EditPaste settings, if they are blank then no shortcuts have been applied. Click into new shortcut to apply your own shortcuts and save.