Fixing keyboard (type cover) failure on Surface Pro 3

Personal, Technical stuff

Currently travelling (for pleasure) in France, I had the bad surprise of switching my Surface Pro 3 tonight and finding the keyboard (the type cover) completely dead. No backlight, no key input, no touchpad, nothing.

Thankfully this is very easy to solve: even though a simple reboot doesn’t seem to solve the issue, a soft reset does. To perform a soft reset, follow the steps:

  • Make sure that the keyboard is attached
  • Press the Power button and the Volume Down button at the same time for a few seconds

The Surface will restart and because of the soft reset, it will reload all its drivers, including the one that was not reacting to the keyboard anymore. Everything should work fine now!

GalaSoft Laurent Bugnion
Laurent Bugnion (GalaSoft)
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120 Responses to “Fixing keyboard (type cover) failure on Surface Pro 3”

  1. Chrissy Says:

    This solved my issue when nothing else did. Thanks!

  2. jakerbait Says:

    soft reset did not work for me. any other ideas to try? thankx!

  3. yayaC Says:

    after reading and trying all other suggestions online, this is the one that solved my problem. Thanks a lot!

  4. Arin Says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I wish Microsoft’s site had more documentation on the magic button combos like this.

    If, like me, you arrive at this page with a similar but slightly different problem (SP3 doesn’t recognize its keyboard is attached at all, but the keyboard backlight does work), you might try what ended up working for me:

    1) Fully shut down your SP3 and wait a minute.
    2) Hold down Volume-Up and Power together for 15 seconds (during which the screen flickered once for me).
    3) Wait 10 seconds and boot up normally.

    After doing that, my keyboard worked again! I had tried all the standard stuff like numerous reboots, Device Manager scanning for new hardware, and the key combo above.

  5. Claudia Says:

    Thank you, Arin! Your solution worked in my case…thank you for sharing.

  6. Mark Says:

    Excellent. This worked for me when no other advice worked.
    Save me doing a full reset
    Thank you

  7. Jessica Says:

    OMG!!! This actually worked for me as well. My IT dept had no recommendations for the solution so thank you for putting this info out here for all to see.

  8. lbugnion Says:

    Happy it helped

  9. Joseph Says:

    Thank you, Arin! Your solution worked in my case as well!!! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Lynne Says:

    Thank you Laurent and Arin. Arin’s steps worked for me. Relief!

  11. Nima Says:

    I did the Volume down + Power key to fully shut down. And then did it again while the SP3 was turned off and like Arin said Then I also did Volume up + Power key. And when I then started my SP3 My type cover was working again. Nothing worked at all before, and softreset didnt work for me. Even reinstalling keyboard in device manager didnt work. Thanks Arin.

  12. Tom Says:

    Adding my thanks …. Worked like a charm for me as well

  13. Peter Says:

    Top, it’s works!! I am happy!

    Volume up + power key 10 seconds.

    Thankx from The Netherlands

  14. Kate Says:

    Amazing, thanks so much! Solved it for me! :)

  15. Keshi Says:

    Thank U soooo much Arin!!! None of the solutions proposed by Microsoft worked, but urs did!!! Thank u… thank u tonnes!!! :)

  16. MAGGIE Says:

    I had to wipe the metal contacts where it connects to the device with rubbing alcohol. This finally got it working again.

  17. Phil henry Says:

    Other hints, including cleaning w/alcohol, didn’t work for me, but this tip did. Luckily I tried it before doing a full reset.

    Thanks so much!

  18. Sean Says:

    Arin!!!that worked for us Thank you so much. We tried everything. Reset and full wipe/reinstall of Windows didn’t work. .. much appreciated . Tech support wanted us to buy a new keyboard. Someone at Microsoft should be told how to do this !!!

  19. Abhigyan Says:

    Arin’s solution worked for me, thanks!

  20. lbugnion Says:

    FYI the Surface team is informed. I will work with them to investigate the issue. Laurent

  21. Jonny Says:


  22. curtis Says:

    thanks Arin. that solution worked great. surface wasnt recognizing keyboard and also the screen wasnt rotating. (and yes, rotation lock was off) both issues fixed at once.

  23. Nick Says:

    Thanks to you and Arin. I had the same problem as Arin and the same solution worked =)

  24. Nvious1 Says:

    Just ran into this issue after my surface lost battery power. On boot up again, the keyboard was dead. I found that from powered on start, I did Power + Vol Down to shut down, then I Power + Vol Up to boot into the bios menu. On that boot to the bios, the keyboard started working again. I just exited from bios and working all again. Seems to be a problem is a recent update I would guess.

  25. Florian Says:

    did like Arin wrote. got the type cover back working.
    thanks a lot

  26. Martin Says:

    Thank you so much. This fix worked for me and you made a shitty day just a little bit better.

  27. Vicky Says:

    So relieved — Arin’s solution worked for me (whereas none of Microsoft’s did… )!! Thank you so much, Arin and Laurent!

  28. Ruth Says:

    Worked for me too! Local computer store had tested and found it wasn’t kayboard itself and I was about to spend a ton of time and money for them to go through the whole computer. Thanks SO MUCH!

  29. Alan Says:

    and Thank You!
    Don’t know why Microsoft can’t post this stuff. Thanks Nima, this tipped worked for me.

  30. Daniel Says:

    Solved my keyboard problem – Vol Up + Power Button.

    Resolveu meu problema do teclado no surface 3 pro, volume para cima + botão de ligar.

    O teclado parecia morto.

    Thank you !!!!!

  31. Tony Says:

    Thanks Arin – that solution worked above all of the others! Its taken me several hours but my keyboard is finally working again!

  32. Heidi Says:

    This solution was the only thing that worked! Thanks so much!!!!

  33. Kendra Says:

    I did what Arin suggested and if finally started working!!! Thank you so much for that, it made the end of my week so much better.

  34. Alan Says:

    Hi, thanks so much.

    Your Vol Up + Power Button worked perfectly to get the keyboard/trackpad/backlight all working. I had tried soft restart and cleaning the contacts with no success.

    Cheers from Wellington, New Zealand

  35. Paul Says:

    Dude…. your Kung Fu is strong!

  36. Shani Says:

    And it worked for me! Power + volume up. Thanks a million!

  37. Eivind Says:

    I tried this hard-boot several times and my keyboard still did not work. It was first when I tried to start the surface in bios (press + and power for 5-10 seconds) to see if the keyboard would work there. It did, and after I restarted from bios,the keyboard worked fine again!

  38. Pat J Says:

    Thank you, Arin. Your solution worked for me. I was beginning to lose hope. Thank you so much!!!!

  39. Michel Says:


    That worked for me too. Thanks a million!


  40. Fletcher Says:

    Arin and others,

    Thanks so much! Tonight my SP3 ran out of juice and when I plugged it in, the keyboard didn’t work. Then I shut it down, held the power on and Vol + at the same time for about 10 seconds and the screen flickered. Then I just used the power button to turn it on, and it worked!

    Nothing Microsoft suggested did the trick.

    thank you!!

  41. Vasilis Says:

    My Keyboard has only a mute///
    No volume + or –
    What do I do?

  42. Vasilis Says:

    It worked
    How stupid of me


  43. Aurimas Says:

    Thanks Arin, that’s perfect it does work. Just fixed a keyboard for a customer when microsoft couldn’t.

  44. gus Says:

    Arin my friend, the force is strong with you!!!

    Mine wasn’t working at all, no backlight, no touch, nothing.

    Only your solution worked.


  45. Brandon Says:

    I tried the soft reboot but it didn’t work for me, but what did was once it was shut off completely i booted into BIOS by holding up volume and power button then getting into settings i found and option for docking which was enabled and there are 3 option enabled, not during boot, and disabled. So i selected the not during boot option and once i did that it worked perfectly.
    I have tried everything prior to this to include dealing with Microsoft and they are going to send me a new keyboard which now i don’t need. So i’m happy i found this and can provide more troubleshooting methods to fix from what it looks like a common issue.
    Thanks again

  46. Kate Says:


  47. Kate Says:


  48. Tom DeRosa Says:

    Thank you my friend, life saver! Keyboard is back from the dead, no lazarus pit required!

  49. George Says:

    Thanks so much for the up volume / power fix. It worked when nothing else worked

    Problem was no connection or backlight.

    Great fix

  50. Beth Says:

    Thank you for your very clear instructions, and thanks everyone else for saying it worked which helped feel confident enough to try it. I am very dependent on technology (I am a writer) but very anxious about it as well, so you really helped! And yes, it worked for me too!

  51. Graham Apolony Says:

    Thank you Arin. This fixed my problem. It is the only thing that worked.

  52. Aaren Says:

    I too was traveling abroad in Spain when I experienced the same problem, only my screen turned upside down as well! Tried the soft reset with power down and power buttons at the same time and it did not work but using the opposite while powered off, I then rebooted it using the power button and as well as the power up button and it worked! THANKS!!!!

  53. Dave Says:

    Big thx for the steps set out here, in our case Brandons method finally worked for me.

  54. JanS Says:

    Same here with insider Preview 10565.
    Looks like it solved my problem with dual screens connected to my docking station too.

  55. kassap Says:

    thks so much i follow the step volume up + power and it solve my problem. thks a lot

  56. Ouch Says:

    Many thanks to Bugnion and Arin from Taiwan.
    I found my keyboard not working and even screen rotation not function today, and finally solved by your way.

    Thank you very much!!

  57. Viv Says:

    Thanks Arin!!!! Your solution is worked for me!!

  58. Binhnt Says:

    Arin, you’re the best. 2 weeks re-install everything again and again to fix the keyboard and you save me now.
    Thank you so much!!!

  59. mazen Says:

    and what will happen to all my data, pics, notes, etc…
    and saved passwords, settings, options, etc…
    plz tell me about it i dont want to lose anything on may surface

  60. lbugnion Says:


    Soft reset as described here does not affect your data at all.


  61. adidas Says:

    million thanks
    Power button + vol up and boot it into safety mode works for me whereas soft reboot failed in my case.

  62. Susan Says:

    OMG, Arin’s solution worked for me. The Volume Down I tried first and it did not work. The Volume Up worked. My keyboard completely died yesterday (including the back light). Tried all the MS solutions first (including refreshing the drivers), cleaning contacts and they did not work. I’m getting ready for a long road tomorrow and planned to take a remote keyboard. Thank you Arin. You’re a lifesaver. Maybe you could clue-in MS.

  63. Joe S Says:

    Arin’s solution worked for me, possibly with a slight difference. I got to a BIOS screen with a few options and then turned off with the power button manually since it was just sitting on that screen. Next time I restarted the Type Cover worked straight away.

    The problem occurred when someone borrowed my Surface Pro 3 for a while and let the battery run flat without sleeping or shutting down. I’ve never done that before so it’s hard to know if the issue is new or has always been around.

    Either way, Microsoft should get this info on their site since it is clearly a bug on all Surface Pro 3s on current firmware at the very least.

    Thanks Arin.

  64. Sailendran Says:

    Very good. This is worked for me.

  65. David Says:

    worked like magic…Thx for sharing!!!!

  66. Simon Says:

    Just a quick note to endorse Arin’s method. Worked for me. Thanks for sharing.

  67. Alex Says:

    Thanks, Arin! Worked perfectly the first time (soft reset at top of page didn’t work) after troubleshooting all day.

  68. Mike Says:

    Initially tried the power button and the volume down technique, no luck. Then I tried the power and volume up, worked perfect, no changes to the bios.

    Makes me wonder if an update is the root cause of this issue.

    I’ve been using a surface with a keyboard since the first addition, never had this issue.

  69. sean o Says:

    you rock arin.. i tried everything and nothing worked. defo a problem with latest microsoft update.. they need to get this fixed. the display port for my docking station also stopped working and arin’s solution fixed this also…
    thanks again arin…

  70. Asokan Says:

    Thank you Arin. Your solution worked for me after an annoying half-a-day without the cover. Coincidentally screen rotation did not work as well and your solution must have fixed the misbehaving driver responsible for that.

    Thanks for sharing.

  71. Martin Says:

    Initially tried the power button and the volume down technique, no luck. Then I tried the power and volume up, worked perfect!
    Strange problem, never happened before.

    Thank you!

  72. Filipa Says:

    THANK YOU ARIN!! Worked perfectly! Thanks a lot!

  73. Steve S. Says:

    Another success getting my SP3 & Cover working thanks to Arin’s Pwr & Vol+

  74. kambingselam Says:

    1) Fully shut down your SP3 with hold down Volume-Up and Power together for 15 seconds.
    3) and Wait at least 10 seconds and boot up again.

    After doing that, my keyboard worked again!!!

  75. Yvette Says:

    This worked!!! Thanks so much! Even the people at BEST BUY sent me away saying It would fix itself!! THank you thank you thank you!!!

  76. Juang Mamud H Says:

    Thanx you so much.. My keyboard now work for 1 month. I use this way, and comeback normal..

  77. Stephanie Says:

    The volume button didn’t work for me, but Arin’s suggestion did! I couldn’t believe it!

  78. Mark Says:

    Thank you. Did the Power/Volume down and then the Power/Volume Up and then turned it on. Keyboard Worked immediately.

    This had caused me grief all day long.

    Thanks again for your helpful contribution.

  79. saeid bidarifard Says:

    thank you , it works

  80. Tbone Says:

    Wow. I was not happy this morning when the keyboard decided not to work at all. I tried resetting, restarting, updating and none of them fixed the problem until I did the volume down with power and then I did the volume up with power. It worked.
    Just doing the volume down with power did not do the trick for me. I had to turn it off and then volume up with power for 10 to 15 seconds and then turn it on normally. Sweet. I thought I was going to have to spend some money. Thanks!

  81. Kevin G Says:

    Thanks Arin. You da man! Shut down then volume down and power button worked

  82. Kevin G Says:

    My question is. Why are there so many of us? Microsoft should’ve had something on their site. If they did, I couldn’t find it.

  83. Evelyn Says:

    Power and volume + worked for me too!!!!!

  84. Monica Says:

    Excellent! Thank you!!! It worked and we tried everything else we read about.

    Thank you again!!!

  85. Andrew Says:

    Arin legend status. Tried all the MS solutions and the only one that sorted the problem is the volume+ and power.


  86. Monchie Says:

    Great! It revived my type cover.
    Thank you so much Mr. Arin.

  87. Kaitlyn Says:

    Like the hundreds of comments before me, this solved my problem when nothing else would! Thank you so much! Three hours of playing and doing updates wish I’d stumbled on this earlier.

  88. Mike Says:

    Still on Nov. 14th 2015 Arins method works !
    Vol+ & Power and the TypeCover is “online” again.
    Thanks a lot.

  89. Gerry Says:

    vol up and power after shut down worked great for me.

    I suspect it as a recent windows 10 upgrade that cause some sort of issue. I went to best buy and they said 2 weeks to fix. I went to their surface display counter and tried different pad and did not work but my pad worked on a different surface 3 pro. SO I am glad I found this thread.

  90. rac Says:

    NOTHING ELSE WORKED, microsoft office are useless- YOU ARE A LEGEND!!

  91. Scot Says:

    Awesome – travelling for work and not much fun on the plane without a keyboard… this was the one after lots of updates, reboots etc. Took 20 seconds THANKS!

  92. George Says:

    When shutdown, I held the volume up button (on side of tablet) while turning on. It went into BIOS setup mode. After exiting the BIOS screen, keyboard was working again!

  93. Steve Parks Says:

    Thanks all you legends. The volume up & power button worked for me. I am typing on my now working keyboard again.

  94. Alban Says:

    Volume Up and Power button took me into the BIOS screen. After existing the bios screen, everything worked again! thank you ARIN!!

  95. Leonard Says:

    Arin’s solution was great for me. I had searched all over the web including Microsoft’s suggested solutions. COME ON Microsoft pick up your game.
    Thanks Arin, you are a champion.

  96. DS Says:

    thank you so much! the combination of suggestions here helped

  97. Cedric Says:

    Thanks a lot! It works (Arin’s Solution). All the others options I try doesn’t work. And now, everything is all right (type cover, rotation of screen and problem with my docking station).

  98. gretchen Says:

    did all the reboots and reinstalls recommended by other sites and then the Geek squad. Still no type cover response. hoping this trick works

  99. John Says:

    Thank you Arin – I was about ready to give up – your suggestion worked very well – the first time. Thanks again

  100. Edgar Says:

    Thank you a lot Arin you the real MVP your reset suggestion worked for me. When i thought I was about to buy a brand new one. thanks keep up the good job.

  101. Koworld Says:

    Laurent, Arin! Thank you so much. I’ve traveled to Lithuania from the UK with three days and a ton of work to do… turned on and keyboard oblivion! Absolutely panicked, nothing worked until I found your thread. Day saved, thank you!

  102. Kym Says:

    ARINNNNN THANK YOU!!!! I just came from seeing the Geek Squad from Best Buy and they couldn’t figure out the problem and told me I had to return my Surface to get it looked at. One try at your Up Volume + Power combo and everything is back to normal. Thank you!

  103. Scott Says:

    Brandon’s method worked for me, thanks Brandon

    Volume up + power
    Advanvanced Device Security
    Docking Port: Not Bootable
    Back to main menu
    Exit Setup
    Wait for restart.
    (Keyboard still not working)
    Shut down without logging in using power icon
    Power on normally.
    Keyboard lit up and worked normally.
    Logged in
    Shut down
    Volume up + Power
    Reset docking port setting to enable

    Thanks again Arin & Brandon !

  104. carmel Says:

    ARIN thank you so much!!! like everyone else, yours was the only solution that worked for me. Will try to remember it in case it happens again!

  105. Belinda Says:

    Thank you Arin – was about to buy another keyboard and now I fixed my keyboard with your advice!

  106. ssf Says:

    Thanks, another day saved due to your post…Thanks much

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  108. shihaz Says:

    Thank you sir.. It works perfectly

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  110. CEA Says:

    Yay! I thought my new SP4 keyboard just died. Problem solved by 10 sec of power+vol up. Why isn’t this the official solution on MS web site? Better yet, why doesn’t MS fix their stupid keyboard drivers.

  111. Mark G Says:

    Arin – Thanks for posting the fix. Worked the first time. The technician at my local Microsoft store was unable to fix this.

  112. ivan Says:

    Problem solved by 10 sec of power.Thanks a lot Arin!

  113. AbNa Says:

    THANK YOU! You saved my life!! Make sure you do volume UP button plus power button folks!

  114. Pushkar Says:

    Great thanks a lot! Worked perfectly as u said !

  115. Vitor Says:

    Thank you, Arin.
    Problem solved

  116. D Shelt Says:

    I did the Volume down + Power key to fully shut down. And then did it again while the SP3 was turned off and like Arin said Then I also did Volume up + Power key. And when I then started my SP3 My type cover was working again. Thanks Arin

  117. Florida Says:

    Arin, I’m SO relieved! Yesterday, I was observing and critiquing 6 presentations. SP3 worked fine all week. Suddenly, yesterday morning absolutely no life in the keypad…nothing. Thankfully I had my wireless mouse for presenters to use. Once home, I researched and found this thread. You saved me HOURS of frustration. Happy Holidays. I’ll pay it forward.

  118. Anita Says:

    the reset with powering down and then power button and volume up bottom worked, thanks so much, i tried everything then came across that advice… thanks so much.

  119. gordo Says:

    I did what Arin suggested and if finally started working!!! Thank you so much for that, it made the end of my week so much better.
    Your Vol Up + Power Button worked perfectly – I had tried soft restart and cleaning the contacts with no success.

  120. lbugnion Says:

    Hey guys, thanks so much for the HUGE feedback and thanks of course to Arin who published his solution. My solution worked for me :) but good to see that there are alternatives too. I am closing the comments now as I feel that the new comments are not really bringing a lot to the discussions (and I am tired to approve them all ;) Again, thanks for contributing!