Ubuntu – Issues with Keyboard not working when booted


first time asking a question to the community, I've searched for my issue and although the information I find and solutions I try are close I'm still having problems. The laptop had a corporate build of Windows 10 on it before I blew it all away from a USB stick; I wonder if this is where I have made a grave error and I've missed something critical

I am a relatively new user of Ubuntu recent versions but have dabbled over the years to build some home media servers, proxies, web servers, etc.

I acquired a Microsoft Surface Laptop from a Company closure auction that has unfortunately succumbed to the terrible circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic has pressed upon the world.

I bought it to use as a nice, light, and quick device that I can take around wherever I may go and to have a bit of fun with as required. The portability side of things is where I am struggling.

I built the laptop and I noticed straight away the keyboard would not work. Thinking this was an OS issue after I read some issues people had after updating I did another update to bring things bang up to date. However, I still have no local keyboard functionality. The facts:


  • I CAN plug in a USB keyboard and everything is fine, but it's not very portable.
  • Nothing over standard.
  • Intel Core i5
  • 8GB RAM

Software & OS:

  • no additional software installed other than OS, the salient points I think will be:
    • Ubuntu 19.10
    • GNOME: 3.34.2
    • 64-bit
    • 256GB SSD

Fault Manifestation & observations:

  • The laptop boots as you would expect, get's all the way to the login screen and then the
    keyboard stops working
  • On-Screen Keyboard is fully functional
  • Touchscreen not operational, however, I suspect this may simply be a driver issue or
    something configuration related; not critical
  • The Local keyboard functions as you would expect for absolutely everything else. For example
    in BIOS set up, changing boot sequence, etc.
  • Local trackpad mouse is operational at all times
  • Function ("Fn") key illuminates and goes out on keypress as expected
  • I can force a shutdown by pressing the power key for a few seconds, so this at least tells
    me the hardware is good and we may have a BIOS / Security issue?

Troubleshooting completed:
Before going into this in some detail I've mentioned that the laptop had W10 on it before I got my hands on it and I simply created a USB boot image and blew away all the partitions and installed Ubuntu onto (what I thought) was a fresh disk and config.

  • Looking through the BIOS I can see a setting for TPM (Trusted Platform Module). I have tried
    every possible combination with this including having secure boot Off, Microsoft Only and
    Microsoft with 3rd party CA. If I get it wrong to a point then it will just say it ran into an
    issue and won't boot at all. I then revert it to the last combo that I could get Ubuntu to
    boot but of course, the keyboard will not work
  • I have tried sudo apt-get install –reinstall xserver-xorg-input-all

To conclude I think this issue is a result of the previous company implementing some physical security to prevent data loss, and, ironically to probably prevent someone like me trying to do what I am!

I'd like to stick to Ubuntu as it suits the use case I have perfectly, I could buy and install a fresh copy of Windows 10 but I'm relatively sure the same issue will persist if it's not an enterprise installation where it can connect to local policy servers, etc.

TL;DR – Bought a laptop from a corporation, blitzed it with Ubuntu, the keyboard doesn't work but everything else does.

Best Answer

to close this off i now have this working. I followed this thread on Reddit:


The step i missed all along was to install and confirm the certificate to allow this to work with systems that support Secure boot: