Did you lose your wireless keyboard’s USB dongle and are not sure what to do next? If so, don’t panic because you have a few options to get it working again. Wireless keyboards are the norm for both laptop and desktop owners because users don’t have to deal with an annoying cable. However, the included USB dongles can also be a nightmare.
A wireless keyboard USB dongle is the lifeline between your computer and keyboard. Many wrongly assume that these dongles are universal. While that is true of some, many are locked to a particular keyboard. In most cases, there are ways to get around using the original dongle with either Bluetooth or a compatible replacement. Keep reading to see which option is right for you.
Determine What Type of Wireless Technology Your Keyboard Uses
Before you can connect your keyboard, you must first determine the type of wireless connectivity it uses. Do this by looking for a label on the back of the keyboard. Then, check to see whether it lists the wireless protocol, such as Bluetooth. If you are lucky, your keyboard will use Bluetooth, and you can proceed to method one.
Otherwise, you will need to research the keyboard’s model number. Do a quick search to determine what type of dongle the keyboard uses. Proceed to Method Two if your keyboard uses a universal dongle, such as Logitech’s Unifying Receiver. Finally, skip to Method Three if your keyboard requires a unique dongle, to find a compatible replacement.
Method 1: Connect the Keyboard Via Bluetooth
The best-case scenario is that your wireless keyboard uses Bluetooth technology. If so, then the dongle you lost was merely a Bluetooth receiver that can be easily replaced. But before you run out and purchase a new Bluetooth dongle, check to see whether or not your computer has built-in Bluetooth capabilities. All modern Mac computers have Bluetooth built-in, as do many PC laptops.
The easiest way to determine whether or not your PC has Bluetooth capabilities is to search the computer for “Bluetooth” and then select “Find and fix problems with Bluetooth devices.” Click “Next” in the troubleshooter, and your PC will determine if it has a connected Bluetooth receiver. If it does not, then purchase a cheap universal dongle.
Step 1: Connect Bluetooth Dongle and Turn On Bluetooth
The first thing that you have to do to connect a wireless keyboard to your computer is to plug in a Bluetooth dongle if required. Next, click the Quick Settings Menu on the bottom right side of the Taskbar (Windows 11) or the Control Center icon on a Mac. From there, check to make sure that Bluetooth is enabled on your computer.
Step 2: Put Your Keyboard in Pairing Mode
Next, you need to place your keyboard in pairing mode, which allows the keyboard to be recognized by your computer. To do this, find the pairing button on your keyboard. It is typically a small, round button located on the backside. It may also be located in the keyboard’s battery compartment. Simply hold the button down for a couple of seconds to put the keyboard in pairing mode.
Step 3: Go to the Bluetooth Menu
While the keyboard is in pairing mode, you must go on the computer and pull up the Bluetooth menu to connect it. You can access the Bluetooth menu in the Settings or Control Panel section of all Windows computers. Similarly, you can access it from System Settings on a Mac.
Step 4: Pair Your Keyboard
Lastly, select the keyboard from the list of available Bluetooth devices. If it does not show up, double-check that it is in pairing mode. The good news is that once paired, your computer will automatically connect to the Bluetooth keyboard in the future.
Method 2: Use a Universal Dongle
The next method is for keyboards that use a universal dongle, like Logitech’s Unifying Receiver. All you have to do is get another compatible dongle and pair it with your keyboard. Since Logitech is one of the most popular companies that use a universal dongle, we will use them for our example. In this scenario, a Unifying Receiver supports up to six devices, so you can share the one for your mouse or another device.
Once you have a compatible dongle, plug it into your computer. Next, download the appropriate application to connect the dongle to the keyboard. For Logitech keyboards, you will need their Unifying Software. The program will then search for nearby devices. Follow the given instructions to finish pairing the keyboard to your computer.
Method 3: Find the Proper Replacement
The last method is for keyboards that require a special adapter. You will have to find the proper replacement dongle for your keyboard. Start by looking at the keyboard’s model number and search for a compatible replacement. Most manufacturers sell replacement dongles, but they may not be available for older keyboards.
If you have trouble finding the correct dongle, then try sites like Amazon or eBay. There is a good chance that you will find a used dongle there. Additionally, you can try calling the manufacturer if they do not have the correct dongle on their website. Keep in mind that it may not be worth purchasing a new dongle for cheap off-brand keyboards.
How to Avoid Losing Your Keyboard USB Dongle?
The best way to avoid dealing with a replacement dongle is to avoid losing it in the first place. Always keep your dongle in a USB slot unless you have a laptop and are traveling with it. In that situation, it is a good idea to have a compartment to keep the dongle in. If you don’t use the keyboard regularly, consider taping the dongle to the back of it.
Wired Vs. Wireless Keyboards
If you’ve decided that it is best to replace your wireless keyboard, then consider going with a wired one. Desktop users really don’t need a wireless keyboard, and foregoing one means never needing to change batteries. However, desktop users may prefer the minimalist design that wireless keyboards offer. The main reason to purchase a wireless keyboard today is for a laptop.
A wireless keyboard provides seamless connectivity, which is perfect for a laptop that you carry around. If you still aren’t sure whether a wired or wireless keyboard is best, then get one that has both. Keyboards that offer both types of connectivity are on the rise, and Redragon’s K599 is just one example.
- Up to 60 hours of battery life
- RGB Backlit
- Ultimate gaming performance
- Non-slip ergonomic design
Hopefully, you’ve successfully connected your wireless keyboard to your computer. If not, it may be time to consider buying a new keyboard. We highly recommend purchasing a Bluetooth keyboard so you never have to worry about special dongles again. Be sure to check out our full Bluetooth keyboard buyer’s guide before purchasing a new one.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Dikushin Dmitry/Shutterstock.com.