Replacing the MSI Wind netbook keyboard

MSI Keyboard by you.

In Canada, you can buy some computers with different keyboard layouts: US Standard, Canadian Multilingual, Canadian French.  When I ordered the MSI Wind netbook I wasn’t aware of the choices and accidentally picked up the Canadian French version.  The problem is I am used to the US Standard keyboard layout, I use it at work and on my iMac.  This makes using the MSI Wind netbook difficult and a bit annoying.  This is of course compounded by the fact that the keyboard on the MSI Wind netbook is a little bit smaller than the regular size keyboards.  I was often frustrated when using the MSI Wind netbook, my typing speed was halved and my typos were doubled.

MSI Keyboard by you.

One day I decided to change the keyboard.  I found NCIX was selling the US keyboard for C$49.99. Given the netbook is only about C$350 these days, it does not make sense to pay that much for the keyboard.  I found a much cheaper vendor on eBay with free shipping and it costs US$20.

MSI Keyboard by you.

Here is a side by side comparison of the two keyboards before I switched them.

To remove the existing keyboard, flip the netbook over and remove the battery.  Locate the 3 small clips that are securing the metal backing of the keyboard.  Carefully pry them away to unhinge the keyboard.  The clips are quite small so you have to be extra careful.

MSI Keyboard by you.

Once unclipped, you can flip the netbook right-side-up, open the screen and tilt the keyboard out of the front side.

MSI Keyboard by you.

The keyboard connection can be disconnected by flipping the black cable clip up.

MSI Keyboard by you.

Carefully remove the end of the ribbon cable from the connector.

MSI Keyboard by you.

Slide the ribbon cable connection of the US keyboard to the connector.  Then flip the black clip back to secure the cable.

MSI Keyboard by you.

Once the clip is firmly secured, check to ensure that the cable cannot be unplugged from the connector.  You should be able to snap the keyboard back to the clips easily.

MSI Keyboard by you.

Here is the finished MSI Wind netbook with a US Standard keyboard.

MSI Keyboard by you.

And Windows 7 booted up without any complaints!

Updated 2009-12-20 with Wim’s suggestions.

28 replies
  1. Paul
    Paul says:

    Great article I am facing the same thing. I never thought about it when I bought the Wind but do find it quite annoying esp. the extra \ beside the left shift key. I should mention however that you void the warranty when you open it up. since you are dong this anyway this is also a good time to add that extra 1Gb or RAM in that nice empty slot and/or upgrade your HD. I am thinking that a new SSD drive would go well in this but then again its almost as much as the whole netbook! I also got a 6 cell battery from NCIX which greatly increases the life

    • Kam
      Kam says:

      yes, I forgot to mention that the warranty is void by having it opened. I actually had it open a few times for adding RAM, replacing the mini wireless card and then the keyboard. Let me know which SSD drive you ended up getting and if that saves you any battery life. My 3-cell battery only last me 2 hours max.

  2. Top@Top Ten
    Top@Top Ten says:

    Ah, I use to have to change the keyboards on laptops at work all the time. What a tedious task…but it is not to difficult. Thanks for the online instructions!
    .-= Top@Top Ten´s last blog ..Top Rated Netbook =-.

  3. Wim
    Wim says:


    Thanks for this article, it was the only one I found in the web on how to replace the keyboard. I got a brand new one and replaced it succesfully by following your instructions. However, I have 2 remarks :

    first, I think you do not need to open the laptop or unfasten the screws, just taking out the battery should be fine – probably you do not void the warranty like this.

    Secondly, I think the arrows indicating where you can unclip the metal keyboard frame in the 8th picture, are not placed correctly. In fact, you have to unclip it not on 4 spots, but on the 3 spots just in between.

    Hope this is helpful…

    best regards


    • Kam
      Kam says:

      Thanks for sharing the better way to switch the keyboard. I checked under the battery and I am thrilled to find out that your procedure is so much simpler.

  4. Patricia
    Patricia says:

    I’m going to attempt to replace the keyboard on my UK Advent 4211B (I think it was called a B when I bought it). I’ve broken the Z completely and the letters are wearing off some of the other keys. I assume that an MSI Wind U100 keyboard will fit?

    Given Wim’s amendments, is there anything I should change from the procedure in your series of pics?

    I am not a techie or an engineer – I’m just a doddery old lady who’s desperate :(

    Patricia :)

    • Kam
      Kam says:

      Hi Patricia, as far as I know, the Advent 4211 is an OEM version of the MSI Wind ( I believe the replacement procedure I describe above would apply to your Advent 4211 netbook. It was updated with Wim’s amendments already. Good luck and hope your replacement is successful. Cheers!

  5. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    I have an msi white netbook, and my keyboard is faulty. My space button is unresponsive and my keys are falling off. Its really starting to get on my nerves as I cant use my laptop because of it. Would it be more easyer (and cheeper) If I bought my own replaced keyboard and replaced it myself, or sent it back to the shop to get it fixed. It looks a bit complicated to do it myself but I think if I had some time to do it and this aqrtical I could do it. Anyways just hope yo0u can awnser my question (ids it easyer & cheaper to do it at home?) Thanks, btw great artical :)

    • Kam
      Kam says:

      Hi Tracy, it depends on how much they charge you for replacing the keyboard and the shipping and handling. Alternatively, if you have friends who are used to playing with computer hardware (like putting together their own PC), chances are that they can help you swap out the keyboard without too much trouble. Hope this answers your question and good luck with replacing your keyboard. :)

  6. Shiro
    Shiro says:

    I’m trying to remove my wind u250 keyboard but it feels like it stuck on the right area (around ‘P’ key)…I just can’t get it out…

    I’ve removed my last, and my friends notebook/netbook(asus,acer,dell) keyboard and all of them succeed in the first try….

    but somehow I just can’t get it done with this one…
    is there something different with wind keyboard? or is it just mine?

    • Kam
      Kam says:

      Hi Shiro, as far as I know, there are no additional clips or adhesive under my MSI Wind keyboard. But mine is a U100 so it could be a different keyboard all together.

  7. diane
    diane says:

    hey kam,
    can u clarify what you mean by ‘pry away’ the 3 small clips…from underneath or above. sorry, don’t mean to be obtuse, just never fiddled with computers before and i’m paranoid.

    • Kam
      Kam says:

      Hi Diane, sorry took me a while to reply to you. The three small clips are like slots on the plastic case that the 3 tabs on the keyboard slides into. However they are somewhat flexible so that you can just flex them a bit to detach the keyboard. Hope this is clear…


  8. Paul Wallace
    Paul Wallace says:

    This information has just saved me £80.00.

    I took my daughters notebook to Currys/PC World, becauae the keyboard had stopped responding to any keystokes. They told me the keyboard needed replacing and that they would have to send it away for four weeks. I followed your instructions and removed the keyboard to find that the cable had become loose. After reseating the cable the keyboard started working. What a result. Thank you very much.

  9. James Kalb
    James Kalb says:

    Yay! Thanks especially for your answer to Diane’s question. Once I read that and examined the clips all doubts vanished and I achieved instant enlightenment. Or at least a keyboard that works properly in about 5 minutes.

    • Kam
      Kam says:

      Nice! Thanks for the comment James. Did you happen to upgrade the hard drive also? I am thinking about putting an SSD inside of mine :)

      • James Kalb
        James Kalb says:

        I had already done the hard drive. That’s easy enough too — you just take out the screws on the bottom so you can take the case apart and then it’s obvious. There’s a little hand and arrow on the bottom of the case that shows you which way to push the case so that the parts will separate easily.

        • Kam
          Kam says:

          Is it worth the upgrade? With a 5400rpm hard drive, the netbook runs rather slowly in today’s standard. I am spoiled by the SSD drive I had in my other notebook computers. But not sure if the Atom processor in the MSI Wind will realize the full potential of the SSD drive? What is your experience?

  10. James Kalb
    James Kalb says:

    It was more a replacement than an upgrade–I wanted a larger drive so I used one I happened to have around. Sorry for being confusing!

  11. Lee
    Lee says:

    Thank you very much for this. It gave me the confidence to do it myself!

    Adverse tho’ I am to fiddling around with hi tech kit, It is something anyone could do as long as you take it easy,follow the steps and be gentle with the device. Typical, I could not source a new keyboard in the UK for my Advent 4211/B but there are plenty of new ones for the MSI Wind around,so I used one of those – as it is the same machine with a different badge. American keyboard,but doesn’t matter as I am well used to that. And I got a white keyboard which looks really cool on the Advent. Hope I can keep my handy little Advent for a few years more,though maybe will have to change it to Chrome OS or Linux when XP stops being supported next year.

  12. brian
    brian says:

    How exactly do you remove the three small clips. I broke one of them trying to pry them out.

    • Kam
      Kam says:

      Brian, you have to be quite gentle as these are plastic clips. They are flexible but only when moved in the right direction. I remember when I was doing it, I had to pry it away from the keyboard and towards the edge of the computer. Hope this helps.

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