Worn Out Keyboard Keys!

I was wondering if anyone knew where I could get keycap stickers, key labels or replacement keys for my multimedia HP Pavilion xt926 keyboard? The tops of the alphabetic keys are mostly all worn off (cheap piece of crap). HP, naturally, has designed its’ keys to be unique, so snatching keys off of a generic keyboard will not work.

Some time ago, like years, I used to find bags of keyboard keys on sale in computer stores and they only cost a couple of bucks. Then, naturally, the computer companies got greedy, deciding that it was better to throw out a perfectly good keyboard after wearing off their cheap lettering and have to buy a new one ranging from $38 to $100 bucks.

I called HP to try to get new keys, only to discover that they do not sell them, but will sell me a whole new keyboard. I checked out my keyboard trying to find out who makes it for HP, thinking I could contact them and buy a handful of keys from them but, SURPRISE (not really) the maker is not listed.

I checked E-bay and found HP keyboards on sale, but none like mine. (After having bought the Pavilion computer from SAMs for quite a bit of cash, I later discovered that HP quit making them. --------- Later - later I have spotted better computers elsewhere at CHEAPER prices.)

So, I searched the web for those replacement keys and found none.
Well, I did, but only by manufacturers of keys for businesses who wanted far too much money for the handful of keys I require.

So I searched for those stick-on keytop labels that I spotted on the web some years ago and discovered that A) they have them only in HUGE letters for the visually impaired B) set up for some wacky type of keyboard arrangement that begins with a D, C) sets to change your system from English to Russian or Middle Eastern, D) have them in Braille and E), will make them up for your department store or specialized business computer at great expense.

Here, I thought, is a great business opportunity for some enterprising person with access to a professional clear sticker printing machine.

Even the guy at HP told me that he paints the letters on his little daughters keyboard with fingernail polish because he cannot find keytop stickers or replacement keys.

There used to be clear, plastic or vinyl sheets of letters and numbers that you could buy for a few bucks and use them to replace your worn off keytops.

Anyone know where I can get them or some replacement keys?

I even prowled computer salvage sites and found most of them willing to sell me refurbished keyboards at prices comparable to new ones but not one had loose keys for sale! I found IBM compatible keyboards for as little as $3 at the thrift store, but, again the HP uniqueness prevented me from swapping keys. I found that out after I bought one. I have a junk generic computer that the keys will work on, but not on my HP.

Think of the bucks someone could make by salvaging broken keyboards, popping off the good keys, giving them a wash, packaging them up and selling them, and the selling the guts for salvage.

Anyone out there have some ideas to help me?

I’ve even gotten desperate enough to print out keytop letters on paper to either cut them out and tape them on the keys or exacto knife them into stencils and use them to paint new letters on with.

Suggestions will be most welcome.

You could easily use the stickers designed to re-label your keyboard for the Dvorak layout as your replacements. Sure, they’re marketed as being for re-labeling your keyboard to Dvorak, but you can put the stickers anywhere you please, including placing them in the standard Qwerty arrangement (assuming that they’re individual, stick-on labels).

Probably a losing proposition, since you can buy brand-name new keyboards for less than $30, and I’ve seen generics for as little as $12. True, they’re not going to include some of the special programmed keys on your HP, but, just a WAG, I suspect most people never use those extra keys, anyway.

My HP keyboard has the same problem, and it’s only a year old. E, R, T, N, and M are completely gone, with several other keys on the way. Over-engineered piece of crap it is. I got sick of the whizz-bang cordless mouse chewing through batteries like there was no tomorrow, so I just plugged a five year-old generic one in and it works like a charm. Now I have this cordless keyboard (what is the point of that?), which also devours batteries at a great rate, and yes, has a bank of impressive-looking shortcut keys which I never use. It, too, is a piece of crap.

I used to hang onto things like keyboards as precious, hard-to-replace items. No longer. Not after I dropped the last one from height.

I wouldn’t bother mucking about with labels and such. I’d just get a new keyboard, as has been suggested.

Why do you even need to label the keys? The only time I’ve seen keyboards get really worn down is in high-traffic computer labs at my university, and when I worked as a transcriptionist in a doctor’s office.

I’m assuming that if you use a keyboard often enough to wear off the letters, you have the letter locations memorized. Especially since the commonly used letters wear off first.

That said, I think I’ve seen clear plastic label-type materials in office supply stores. You could just type up your own labels and run off a copy on a laser printer.

I’ve also seen no-frills generic keyboards for very low prices.

Why not just get a label maker/gun from you local office supplies store? Seems it would be easier to make your own labels rather then trying to hunt down someone that sells them.

Looks like you beat me to it Waenara. :slight_smile:

You can use clear epoxy to glue a label down and then paint over it with another coat of epoxy to protect it. If you do this you can use any labels you find out there or make your own.

Any standard 101 key AT keyboard with a 6 pin DIN or a USB connector (assuming your PC has USB) will work perfectly on the Pavilion.

If you are enamored of the special function keys most “windows” keyboards come in a range of styles from simple to galactic command console with more web launching keys, multi-media and power control features than you could ever want. The keyboards come with their own drivers so the Pavilions KB multi-media drivers are not needed and should be un-installed.

You’re kidding?! HP stopped making that model Pavilion just like that, and later you found more powerful PCs were available elsewhere for less money! What a rip off! That’s outrageous!