For anyone who needs to type a lot on their computer, a keyboard randomly doubling up keystrokes can make typing incredibly difficult, as you constantly need to go back and fix up mistakes. This takes time and breaks your focus.
Fortunately, this can often be something as simple as a few crumbs lodged in the key switch, which is very easy to fix by yourself at home.
So before you throw out your keyboard thinking it’s broken, make sure you read this article as we’ll detail why your keyboard might begin double-pressing keys. As well as cover how you can fix these yourself.
Why are your keyboard keys double pressing?
Generally speaking, this is caused by some obstruction between the keycap and key switch (or key switch and PCB). Most of the time, simply cleaning this out is a good fix.
In some rarer cases, it could be a software-related issue such as a bad driver that needs reinstalling.
In the rarest circumstances, it could be a mechanical issue, meaning either the key switch itself or the entire keyboard may need to be replaced.
Here’s a more detailed look at all the primary causes that will make a keyboard start to double-press keys.
Debris, dirt, and stickiness
This issue is usually caused by dirt, dust, crumbs, or some debris that’s worked its way into the gaps between the keys and the key switch itself.
Even things like a coffee spill that’s turned sticky will be enough to cause a key to double click.
So giving the keys at fault a good clean will commonly solve this problem.
A Windows device-manager keyboard issue
Even if the physical aspect of the keyboard is in good working order, there may be a software-side keyboard issue that can cause double pressing of keys.
Keyboards use what’s called a ‘driver’ to work. This small piece of software tells the hardware how to work and communicate with your machine.
Most of the time, peripherals such as keyboards/mice are ‘plug and play.’ This means you don’t have to actively download a driver for the keyboard.
But sometimes, manually removing it from the device manager and reinstalling it can help fix the double pressing keys issue.
Proprietary software issue
Many of the more popular keyboard manufacturers, such as Logitech or Razer, have their proprietary keyboard software designed to help you program custom macros or lighting sequences.
These are not necessary to the keyboard’s basic functionality, but they offer an excellent suite of tools for additional personalization.
In some cases, these proprietary periphery software pieces can affect the functionality of the hardware. Reinstalling them (or outright removing them if you don’t need their features) can allow your keyboard to function normally.
The key rate is set too high
Within Windows, a setting dictates how long a key needs to be held down before it will cause a repeated keystroke.
Sometimes this setting can be too low to where even on a single stroke, it may type multiple characters on the screen.
So ensuring the key rate is set to a reasonable value is very important in stopping a keyboard from double-pressing.
Virus or malware
Some viruses and malware processes will use your keyboard to track keystrokes to steal vital information such as a password or bank account.
If a virus is trying to track data or use your keyboard, it can often manifest in the unusual or unexpected performance of the keyboard.
Ensuring you have a solid Antivirus program installed to keep your PC clean can help to alleviate this issue.
Incorrect Windows registry entry
In addition to the ‘key rate,’ which we can control through the front-end of the Windows settings, there are some additional registry entries such as the AutoRepeatDelay, AutoRepeatRate, and BounceTime, which can affect the performance of the keyboard and cause double presses if not set correctly.
Reviewing the Windows registry entries for these functions and ensuring they are set to reasonable values can often fix this problem.
Sometimes this issue is caused by neither hardware nor software issues but by the user.
It’s easy to forget how long you are holding keys down sometimes, especially if you are deep in thought while typing something.
So you may be unintentionally double pressing without realizing it because the key is held down too long. A good review of our typing habits and being cognisant of how long we are pressing keys down can also be an overlooked contributing factor.
Defective hardware components
Sometimes a piece of hardware is simply defective or broken. These are relatively cheap replaceable components, like a broken keycap, key switch, a bad wireless receiver, or even a damaged USB port.
In some rarer cases, it might be a problem with the keyboard PCB board, in which case the only real solution is to replace the keyboard with a new one if it’s still under warranty.
How to fix a keyboard double pressing keys
As you can see, this issue is generally very solvable outside of a genuine mechanical failure (which is rare) with a bit of cleaning and some software re-installation.
So now, let’s look at how you can fix this problem so you can get back to using your keyboard unhindered!
Restart the computer
The first thing to do is perform a simple restart of the computer. In many cases, it’s a simple bug or software glitch you are experiencing, and a Windows reboot can often fix the problem!
Clean out any debris, dirt, or dried liquid from the key
As this is one of the most common causes, it is the next thing to address straight after resetting the PC.
Start by removing the key (or keys if there are multiple) triggering multiple letters. If you don’t know how to do this, you can follow this guide on safely removing keyboard keys without damaging the board.
We can use a few different methods to clean out both the keycap (the bit we removed) and the key switch (the piece the keycap depresses to trigger the hit).
- Use a can of compressed air pointed at the key switch, or blow strongly with your mouth to remove loose debris.
- Wipe it down with alcohol to remove built-up grime or dried sugary drinks that have become sticky.
- If the methods mentioned above are too troublesome, the ‘lazy’ fix for this is to flip the keyboard upside and mash the key about 30-50 times to break up and dislodge anything in there, and hopefully, it will fall out.
Reinstall from the device manager
Next, we can try to reinstall the mechanical keyboard and driver from the Windows device manager.
Start typing ‘device manager’ into the Windows search bar and opening the device manager window.
Navigate to the ‘Keyboards’ drop-down menu and locate your mechanical keyboard. Then, right-click on it and click ‘uninstall.’
The mechanical keyboard will disappear from the list. This is normal.
Then we need to click ‘action’ from the top menu and ‘scan for hardware changes.’ This will re-detect the mechanical keyboard and automatically install the driver for it.
Reinstall proprietary software
Suppose your mechanical keyboard has associated dedicated software, such as Logitech’s GHub or Razer Synapse. Uninstall these from the ‘add and remove programs’ menu and then re-download them from their respective websites.
Sometimes this can help correct any glitches or software issues.
Reduce key rate
If the key rate is not set correctly, it can easily cause a repeated keystroke.
We need to find the ‘adjust keyboard repeat’ delay setting from the control panel to adjust this option.
Start by opening the control panel and clicking ‘keyboard,’ then click the ‘speed’ tab.
Here you can adjust the ‘repeat’ delay slider a little bit further to the LEFT side (making it longer). You can experiment with this setting to find what works best for your preference and particular keyboard.
Remove all viruses and malware
If your computer has a virus or malware present, it can very quickly affect the operation of your keyboard due to things like keyloggers.
Run a full system scan using your preferred antivirus software (we recommend Avast as it’s free and pretty robust!) to remove any malicious programs from your computer.
Once this is done, restart your machine.
Adjust Windows registry entry
In addition to the simple repeat delay option, we have some further tweaks we can make to the mechanical keyboard behavior by adjusting the relevant Windows registry values.
PLEASE NOTE: Editing the Windows registry can be risky if you are unsure what to do. Please ensure your machine is fully backed up before doing anything just in case you make a mistake.
- Press the Windows + R Keys to open the Run prompt
- Type in “regedit” to bring up the registry editor
- Navigate to the following path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Accessibility\Keyboard Response
- Click on AutoRepeatDelay and adjust the value to 500
- Do the same again with AutoRepeatRate and set the value to 50
- Finally, do this to BounceTime and set the value to 50
Once this is done, restart your PC.
Check your typing habits
Sometimes you might unintentionally hold keys down for too long without even realizing it. Hopefully, the repeat delay adjustments we made above will have helped a bit.
But it’s also worth checking on your typing habits and making sure you aren’t depressing the keys for too long. There may be a particular letter you are favoring without realizing it.
If none of the above fixes have worked, then there’s a high likelihood it’s due to a hardware issue.
In this scenario, we recommend contacting the manufacturer, who will assist in troubleshooting and advising on whether there is a single component that can just be replaced or whether the mechanical keyboard should be returned and replaced.