By now, you’re probably well aware of how important your keyboard is.

Without it, you wouldn’t be able to play your favorite games, write that novel you’ve been meaning to get done, or even send a “thank you” email to a family member or friend.

So if you don’t want to be left stranded when your keyboard dies on you, it’s best you learn the top 3 warning signs that you’re going to need a new keyboard.

Catching any of these problems in advance means you’ll have plenty of time to find a new keyboard and replace the failing one. Here’s what you want to look for:

 

1. Physical Issues

While keyboards can take some beating, especially mechanical ones because of how sturdy they are, they can only take so much.

That being said, physical problems with your keyboard are fortunately one of the easiest warning sings you’ll notice. For example, if keycaps start to fall off because of long-time wear, your fingers will definitely know that they’re pushing on switches instead of a cap.

You also want to look for problems with the cable (if you have one). Even if the cable seems intact and the internal wires aren’t showing, the cable may be broken when you notice that it’s not feeding your strokes into the computer. Unplug the cable from its port and try all other ports to ensure the problem is with the cable, and not where it’s plugged in.

And while less important, things like cracking covers and broken or missing feet can be signs that your keyboard’s on its last legs.

Note: don’t mistake rubbed-off symbols and letters from the keycaps to mean that you need a new keyboard. You can always buy a new one if you want, or buy new keycaps, but keycaps that have lost their printing over time are just an aesthetic issue and won’t affect the usability of your keyboard.

2. Dust and Other Debris

Once you’ve owned your keyboard for a while, it’s likely to start building up a lot of nasty stuff under the cover and keys. You know, like those spilled sodas or coffees.

If you don’t care for your device properly, this dust and debris can negatively affect your keyboard use, and can even cause it to stop working. An easy to know if the keyboard’s not working because of grime is to pop off a few keycaps to see what might be hiding underneath.

Before you resort to buying a new one, make sure you thoroughly clean your current keyboard using safe methods. If it still doesn’t work after you try using it again, it’s time to purchase a new device.

3. Unresponsiveness

Sometimes, keyboards start going bad over time, and you can tell because you notice not all your keystrokes are being registered.

While unresponsiveness can be a sign of the two problems mentioned above, it’s also just a problem that can happen after long-term use. If you’ve had your keyboard for a number of years and you are starting to see that your having to work harder for your keystrokes to register, it’s likely your expert typing skills has cause a bit of wear and tear to your keyboard.

Make sure you check that the unresponsiveness has nothing to do with physical issues or dust and debris before you throw out the keyboard entirely. Depending on how early you catch the problem, you’ll likely be able to keep using the keyboard as you wait for your new one to arrive.

As a keyboard owner, you need to make sure you’re paying attention to your device and how it’s working on a regular basis. The more you are familiar with your keyboard, the more likely you are to catch one of these warning signs that it’s going bad.

Have you ever encountered one of these warning signs? What did you do about it? Share your experience in the comments below!