Fix loud or stiff space-bar Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000

The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 is an excellent product, no other keyboard really comes close to it for touch typing in my opinion.

However there can be one very annoying bit – the spacebar.  It can be excessively loud and/or stiff to press.  Fortunately though you can easily fix it yourself!

Loudness:

The problem is that the bottom of the plastic space bar connects with some plastic on the keyboard base.  To fix this you’ll want to add some cushioning to the base of the keyboard which you’ll find easy to do yourself.

First of all, you need to pull the spacebar off the keyboard, which is easiest if you pull from the top.  You’ll need to use a bit of force, though don’t worry your keyboard will be ok :-).  Once the space bar is off you can put in your cushioning.  The image below shows where you’ll be attaching your cushions.

base-bits

I made my cushions from inexpensive heat-shrink tubing filled with some cotton wool and attached it to the keyboard with some double-sided tape, though you could easily substitute this with whatever else you have around, just as long as it is nice and squishy.  The image below show what it should it looks likes with one of the cushions.

cushion

Once the cushioning is in, remount the space bar and you should be good to go!

Stiffness:

The space-bar can sometimes be stiff to press, particularly on its side-edges.  The stiffness will usually go away after a period of normal use, though you can speed this natural process up a bit by simply tapping it a couple of thousand times where your thumbs normally press it.  For me this spot is underneath the ‘V’ key on the left and about halfway across the ‘N’ key on the right.  Just sit there and tap these spots really fast for several minutes.  You can also try pressing with very little pressure in order to get the key to stick, and then apply more pressure so that it rubs really hard inside the keyboard.  Press on the top corners of the space bar to get even more resistance.

If this doesn’t work, this you’ve basically got a dud that will only frustrate you, so return it to the shop and get another one!

14 Responses to “Fix loud or stiff space-bar Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000”

  1. Steve Boyd says:

    Oh dear :( sorry to hear that. I’ve pulled these things off dozens of times of 3 different keyboards with no such trouble. I pull them from the top most bits i.e. right underneath the “B & V” keys and the “N” key.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I have tried pulling off the space bar, it didn’t come off and now it often gets stuck in pressed position. How can this be fixed?

  3. Melanie says:

    Thanks for the tip! This keyboard keeps my wrists happy but the constant clacking was driving me nuts! This made the keyboard sound like all the other keys, though the stiffness remains. We just used the shrink tube, also put medical tape over one of the posts.

  4. Colin says:

    Thanks for the post this just saved me an hour on the phone with the vendor.

    I’m trying your technique and I just got my spacebar key off safely, no cracking. I suggest making two small hooks with paper clips so that you have a bit more leverage. If you have needle nose pliars, just bend ~3mm into an L-shape at the end and loop the other side around your finger. It helps a lot.

  5. pacchang says:

    This is really a fantastic fix for a great keyboard. Thank you!

  6. Cindy D says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. Although with froam squeesy stuff didn’t wok for me I happen to use enbriodery and sewin machine a lot and and constantly ” unsticking” needkes and such,I was lucky enoght to have a can if Sullianas fir Sewing Silicone Spray at my finger tips. it’s a dry silicone…i spriayed everyhing under and in the part i took off of the keyboard and with every press if te pace bar it get’s easier. Thank you so muchf fort telline me how to get if off….I would hae never guessed. Thank again!

    Cindy D

  7. Joe Fafalone says:

    Excellent fix! Thanks so much for posting this – it not only works for a noisy spacer bar, but was also able to fix the ‘i’ button that would frequently not register when I pushed it in the upper left hand corner (which was far too often!). By removing the ‘i’ key and adding a dab of foam double-sided tape – only removing the protective strip from one side of the tape so it would stick to the bottom of the plastic stem in the problem area, the key now registers perfectly all the time.

  8. Rob says:

    Just a tip for the sticky keyboard. The issue is a design problem. There is 1 post in the middle of the spacebar that contacts the pad underneath. Unless you hit it right in the middle, it seems like it sticks. The “stick” is the post binding in its slot. After trying about 20 things w/ no luck – I tried to extend the post by about 1/8″. I took a little post-it-note rolled it up tight and stuck it in the hole of the post on the bottom of the keyboard, then cut it so about 1/8″ was sticking out. Put things back together and presto – I can not hit the keyboard anywhere and I get the space. Works great!

  9. Maggie says:

    Thanks it worked

  10. Edu says:

    Rob: Thank you very much for your tip… I also tried 20 different things to try to fix the sticky space… and only with this simple “extension” I manage to get a working solution :D

  11. Ronald says:

    the post it works like a charm. Be careful when removing the space since mine cracked halfway. if i remove it i put a small screwdriver on left or right and then put my whole finger underneath and push from under in the middle to prevent breaking.

    The only downside for me is that when i hot space bar in the middle part it wont go down but it does give me a space.

  12. Ronald says:

    a match stick with a little paper around it to keep it in place worked even better for me.

    Also if you have a small small nail polisher to adjust its size till its perfect.

  13. Tim says:

    Great info but the foam didn’t fix mine. It turns out the clicking noise in my space-bar was due to the wire-form rattling. That’s the metal piece attached to the backside of the space-bar. To fix it, I added some thick grease to the wire-form from where it attaches to the space-bar all the way out to the tips.

    White lithium grease works and you only need a small amount to eliminate the rattle.

  14. Mike says:

    Mine too was very stiff and load. Out of desperation I popped the spacebar off. Do it gently, applying pressure first to one side, then the other, and finally lift it up from front center using a butter knife, paperclip, or some such. I did three things, first, made sure the silver metal sway bar sits in the metal slots at the front and is fully clipped into the plastic retaining tabs on the bottom of the bar, second, I pressed in the sides of the center plastic actuator tube at the bottom (these are left/right as it sits in the keyboard). There are raised fins on the top/bottom of this tube, and I considered shaving them down, but when I replaced the pad after pushing in the tiny tabs at bottom it works MUCH better. Then, finally, I used a pencil to ‘write’ all along the metal fins at front where the thin metal sway bar makes contact (i.e. getting some graphite along those tracks). Now the spacebar works very smooth, as good as all the rest of the keys. Try this, hope it works for you!

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