Recently I was asked to take a look at an old Asus Eee PC netbook since the owner was having issues with the keyboard “Not working.” My first reaction to hearing that the Asus Eee PC keyboard was not working was, “Maybe you should get rid of it.”
This Asus netbook keyboard issue wasn't something I wanted to mess around with too much but I did feel like I should take a look. They were using the Asus Eee PC as second computer once in awhile and were getting reasonable use out of it. Even if nobody wants a netbook anymore and everyone is going for tablets nowadays it was worth a shot to try to salvage and fix this Asus Eee PC keyboard.
The complaint of the keyboard not working wasn't that the whole keyboard didn't work. The keys were pressed for “I” “O” and “P” the Asus netbook not put those letters on the screen. When you pressed these keys it executed the numbers above above the letters. So “P” would give you “0” typing “O” would give you “9” and “I” would give you “8.” At first I assumed that Num Lock or the FN key were set or something. After playing around with the keyboard I realized that was not the case. This is when I decided to check Google like an IT pro (well I am not quite a pro) to see if there was something simple I was missing. I Googled these various terms;
“asus eee pc keyboard”
“asus eee pc keyboard not working”
“asus eee pc keyboard troubleshooting”
I tried many of the suggestions and recommendations in the tech forums I was finding with threads with similar complaints. Apparently Asus Eee PC keyboard issues are quite common. Some believe it is a driver and software issue while others were saying the keyboard was probably broken and needed to be replaced.
It seemed to me a software issue and I was pretty sure the netbook owner was not interested in spending money on replacing the Asus Eee PC keyboard. I would have installed the driver for this particular Asus netbook model but I couldn't find it. So… what was my fix to the Asus Eee PC keyboard not working?
That's right I downloaded Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon, threw it onto a USB drive, then I booted the Asus into Linux Mint. Boom! The keyboard issue was gone and the Asus netbook worked pretty damn well for a netbook pushing 2 years old and specs nobody would rave about (except the harddrive is 200gb.)
Essentially my solution to the Asus Eee PC keyboard problem is switching from the questionable Windows 7 Starter to Linux Mint 13. You could also look into another lightweight Linux distribution that would work perform well on a Asus netbook.
I know some people probably will not want to switch to a new operating system as it can be a bit daunting. If you check there are plenty of good tutorials on Youtube on how to switch from Linux Mint/Ubuntu from Windows. You can also elect to dual boot, which means you would keep Windows 7 starter on the netbook and create a partitioned hard drive for Linux Mint. You could use either operating system that you want. If you'd rather not deal with installing another operating system you can just run Linux Mint from a USB drive but performance will not be as good. Of course I can guarantee it will be better than Windows 7 Starter.
Keep in mind this Linux Mint solution for the Asus Eee PC keyboard is free. If you know a “tech person” that is familiar with Linux you could ask for their help. Having only a small fraction of the keyboard not working is a real PIA and quite annoying.
I assume the netbook will only get a few more months of use considering it's age. Still it's nice to not have to throw out this Asus Eee PC netbook and make it usable for someone for a little while longer.
If you have any questions about your Asus Eee PC keyboard not working or how about Linux Mint feel free to leave a comment below.